If Republicans, the evangelical right, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and personhood movement were as concerned about birth and “the fetus” as they pretend to be, a new report should incite them to outright bloody war – against Republicans. In fact, the above mentioned groups should demand murder charges and the summary executions of every last Michigan Republican who had a hand in poisoning residents of Flint Michigan. But they will never say a word because it was Republicans and a couple of corporate behemoths who caused a drastic decline in fertility rates and aborted fetuses in untold numbers out of sheer greed and criminal coverups to protect a devout pro-life governor and his equally culpable pro-life Republican cohorts.
The scientific and medical community have known for decades that lead is an incredibly toxic mineral as well as that it severely damages fetuses and young children. In fact, in the 18th Century if a woman wanted to terminate a pregnancy, it was not uncommon for them to take lead pills if they were not concerned about their future fertility. Lead is also well known to decrease fertility in men. Where is the religious right’s outrage over their Party’s greed responsible for forcing unwanted abortions?
The report released just this week revealed that Flint saw far fewer pregnancies, and a drastically higher number of fetal deaths than the rest of the state during the time period Flint women and their unborn children were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking, bathing and cooking water. The new research study reviewed health records from Flint and across the state in order to compare birth and fetal death data to similar data from 15 other large Michigan cities, including Detroit.
The study was conducted by assistant professors and health economists David Slusky of Kansas University and Daniel Grossman from West Virginia University that included examining vital statistics data for Flint and the rest of the state down “to the census-tract level.”
The damning results came from the time period after April 2014 when Republicans purposely switched the safe drinking water supply to the toxic Flint River to save money. That Republican fiscal austerity measure produced fertility rates that decreased by 12 percent among Flint women, and increased fetal death rates by 58 percent. It is noteworthy that Flint women had no choice in aborting their pregnancies; that decision was made for them by austerity-minded pro-life religious Republicans.
It is noteworthy that lead affects male fertility as well as causes irreversible damage to the developing brains and nervous systems of children and fetuses. It also leads to lower intelligence, serious behavioral problems and diminished life achievement; probably like the typical Republican voter. However, those Republican voters, like women, should have a choice in whether or not their lives are adversely affected by Republican economic policies.
To verify that the drop in the fertility rate was due to something other than parents putting off starting a family due to the Republicans’ Great Recession, the researchers went to extreme lengths to discover if the birth rate decline was due to Flint residents’ concern about lead in their drinking water. The researches examined Google data for searches from Flint residents on “lead” and “lead poisoning,” but they found no increases in such searches until September 2015 when it became public knowledge that Flint’s water was poisoned by Republican greed.
One of the study’s authors, David Slusky said:
“During most of our time period, when the city and state officials were saying there was no problem, we didn’t see any evidence of knowledge about lead in the water. Either Flint residents were unable to conceive children, or women were having more miscarriages during this time.”
The researchers also noted the similarity of fetal death increases in Flint to those from research done by Edwards in Washington, D.C., after residents there were exposed to elevated lead levels in drinking water from 2000 to 2004. Mr. Slusky remarked that after comparing data from Edwards in Washington, D.C., the evidence if fairly clear that his research teams’ findings were more than similar.
Although the lifetime of damage is already done for affected Flint residents, the good news is that their water supply is now “allegedly” from a clean, lead-free source. The bad news is that a comprehensive investigation last year identified close to “2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.” (author bold)
Those 2,000 poisoned water systems reported lead levels “exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards collectively supply water to 6 million people, and 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares.” Like the tragedy in Flint, “at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.”
All of this horrid news is being reported even as Trump and his anti-environment cabal are frantically “rolling back” clean water rules and regulations put in place specifically to prevent these atrocities. It is noteworthy too that the piece of work running the Environmental Protection Agency responsible for keeping Americans safe is a devout evangelical actively opposed to women’s reproductive choices because “the fetus” is sacrosanct.
Where is Scott Pruitt’s religious outrage over his party’s responsibility for the increase in fetal demise in Flint? And why isn’t the pro-life zealot raging about the untold miscarriages within the 2,000 cities with lead-tainted water supplies? Everyone understands that infants and young children permanently damaged by lead doesn’t bother Republicans or the religious right, but regardless that they love a fetus but hate a living child, they are still directly responsible for an untold number of unwanted abortions.
There are evangelical “pro-life” Republicans and their nasty religious right masters who have called for women who choose to terminate a pregnancy to face murder charges, or at least imprisoned for even “harming” a fetus in cases of a woman miscarrying even by accident. What happened in Flint was no accident any more than Michigan Governor Rick Snyder “accidentally” forgot to inform Flint residents they were drinking, bathing, and cooking with lead-infused water. Snyder claims that human life begins at conception and considers himself a staunch pro-life advocate willing to embrace any means to protect “the fetus” and “the embryo,” and if that is the case he is a raging hypocrite.
Snyder is ultimately responsible for the lead-poisoning that increased “aborted fetuses” by 58 percent in Flint. And to make matters worse, Snyder knew his economic policies were causing the increase in miscarriages and still failed to alert the citizens that he was making the choice to terminate their pregnancies by not alerting women that they were drinking, bathing and cooking with lead-tainted water; all to save money for tax cuts for Snyder’s wealthy supporters.