The unwanted child



What kind of life does an unwanted child have?

Years ago, I represented Bobby, 19, a red-headed boy, charged with killing a young Korean immigrant about his age, only two years older, in a Sterling dry cleaners in Loudoun County.

When Bobby was born, both his parents abandoned him at the hospital. His father had been discharged from the military because of his schizophrenia. So Bobby didn’t have a good start genetically either. His grandparents accepted him into their home but they kept Bobby in a closet and fed him like an animal. Bobby never walked quite right.

Bobby was finally adopted by a loving family in Loudoun, under another name, his background a secret to his parents. Bobby did well at school, wrestled on the team, had a job, and a girlfriend.

Bobby wrote an essay that he wished he had never been born, wished that his mother had an abortion.

He knew he was unwanted at birth – and for some time afterwards.

Bobby robbed the Sterling dry cleaners of $200 because he believed his girlfriend was pregnant – and he had this new responsibility – another unwanted child.

I fought to save Bobby from being executed when he didn’t want to be born in the first place. Bobby is alive, in custody, and eligible for parole.

Bobby’s story is not unique among unwanted children.

We have too many of course.

We live in a nation that promotes breeding without responsibility. A third of all unintended pregnancies are to unmarried persons in their 20s.

This head long impulse to encourage too many children is indifferent to the actual life these children may have.

Nor do we do much to help the single parent and the child.

In 2014, we had 12 million single parents, and 83% of them were mothers.

Almost half the women never married. Two-thirds of the mothers work outside the home, earning 78 cents to every dollar a man makes. If the mother is African Amercan, she’s getting 64 cents. If the mother is Latina, she’s getting 56 cents.

One third of single mothers are “food insecure.” Two fifths of the mothers receive food stamps. Many politicians oppose giving anyone food stamps, period. After food and substandard lodging, these mothers can’t educate their children. How would you characterize the quality of such a life? More like a misery index than a life!

More than 20 percent of these single mothers have no health insurance. Some politicians say – but ACA takes care of that. Not when half of those without health insurance live in states including Virginia that have declined to expand Medicaid to cover these mothers, although we taxpayers have already paid for the Medicaid benefit that guarantees their coverage. Our General Assembly, and yes it’s the Republicans, refuse to receive the federal funds that’s just sitting there for this purpose. Can you imagine a more sociopathic ideology? I believe good medical care is pro-life.

Various studies in America and abroad have found what you’d expect. Unwanted children are at an increased risk of juvenile delinquency, suffer lifetimes of underachievement, are compromised by learning disorders, drunkenness, adult criminal activity, require public assistance, and all these conditions are statistically worse when the mothers felt so certain they wanted abortions but were denied the opportunity to have one.

The right to be wanted, it’s been said, is a child’s first right but it is only the first of many that are ignored in America.

This is the American condition, Dickensian in its indifference to the human condition, after a child cries and breathes life, that’s the last time a “pro-life” politician gives a damn about that child.