Should Poverty be a Death Sentence?

While walking though the sugar cane villages (called bateys) in the Dominican Republic earlier this month, I was taken aback by two things. First, the absolute squalor these families lived in. Families of nearly ten were living in 9×9 shacks made of scrap metal haphazardly nailed together, the little boys and girls ran around wearing whatever clothes were available or nothing at all, stray dogs and chickens roamed the dirt paths, the fathers spent their days working in the fields, and the mothers spent their days cooking and cleaning. The poverty was astounding.

Second, I was shocked by the absolute joy and freely given love that the children had to offer. Even though we couldn’t speak the same language, all these kids wanted was someone to hold their hand and give them hugs and kisses. Despite having virtually nothing, coming from broken families, and facing every difficulty one could imagine that comes with living in a third-world country, these little ones were some of the most loving and happy people I’ve ever met.

Immediately when we walked into the classroom and again after getting off the bus on our first day in the batey, we were swarmed by children of all ages wanting to give us hugs, to be held, and to play and worship with us. The language barriers didn’t matter; the economic differences didn’t matter; these little ones were just like any other child anywhere else in the world.

While reflecting on my trip on the flight back, I realized that if these bateys had been in America, there would be an abortion facility in every single village. Because these families live differently and much more difficultly than we’re used to in America, they would be told that the best thing they could do for themselves is end their child’s life. It wouldn’t matter how happy they are, how loved they are, or how full their lives are- to the abortion industry, these children would be prime targets.

“The question is not will people face suffering, but how will we respond when they do? Many suffer daily due to poverty, but we don’t kill poor people to end their suffering. Why not? Because they’re human. If the preborn are also human, then no amount of potential suffering is adequate justification for killing them—to treat them differently is to be guided by blatant ageism. We seek to alleviate suffering, not to eliminate sufferers.” 

My time in the Dominican Republic really opened my eyes and renewed my passion for this fight, but it also reminded me that this issue is more than just abortion. This is a battle for the Kingdom of God, it’s a call to live out our faith through our actions and not just our words, to love all with the love God has for us. Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

— Emmarsyn Mysko, Field Assistant, Created Equal