By Jim Sedlak
In the United States, the month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the Childhelp website: “In 1979, through encouragement and hard work by Childhelp Founders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson (joined by legendary actress Sophia Loren), President Jimmy Carter designated the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Four years later, President Ronald Reagan formally established April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.”
The necessity to have a month like this in modern-day America is outrageous. The problem of abused children has continued to increase despite 39 years of calling attention to the problem every April.
The US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released sobering statistics on the seriousness of child abuse. The CDC reported the following data from its 2015 database:
- There were 683,000 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to child protective services (CPS) in 2015.
- The youngest children are the most vulnerable with about 24% of children in their first year of life experiencing victimization.
- CPS reports may underestimate the true occurrence of abuse and neglect. A non-CPS study estimated that 1 in 4 children experience some form of child abuse or neglect in their lifetimes.
- About 1,670 children died from abuse or neglect in 2015.
- The total lifetime cost of child abuse and neglect is estimated at $124 billion each year.
Another government agency, the Children’s Bureau (Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, issued a 239-page report entitled Child Maltreatment 2016. Among the plethora of data in this report, the authors noted that 74.8 percent of victims were neglected, 18.2 percent were physically abused, and 8.5 percent were sexually abused. In addition, 6.9 percent of victims experienced “other” types of maltreatment such as threatened abuse or neglect, drug/alcohol addiction, and lack of supervision. (NOTE: The numbers exceed 100 percent because children who suffered more than one type of abuse were included in both categories.)
The forgotten children
As we look at the history of the Child Abuse Prevention Month, we are struck by the fact that the problem was first considered serious enough to establish a “month” in 1979. That was 15 years after Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Calderone founded SIECUS to push sexuality education in the classroom, 12 years after the first states began liberalizing abortion laws, and six years after the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion-on-demand in the whole country.
Obviously, the problem of child abuse in America is real. Unfortunately, the extent of the problem is downplayed by those charged with collecting accurate data. This is particularly apparent in at least two areas.
First, it is clear that sexual abuse numbers are underreported. The government agencies estimate that approximately 58,000 children are sexually abused. Yet Planned Parenthood claims year after year that it teaches its blatantly abusive comprehensive sexuality programs to 1.5 million children each year. The fact that the sexual abuse, pushed by SIECUS and Planned Parenthood, occurs in classrooms under the direction of teachers and administrators does not make it any less harmful to the children. We need to have a national effort to end this classroom sexual abuse of children. The nationwide Sex Ed Sit Out protest scheduled for April 23 is a major step toward making this happen. Every parent and grandparent in America should join in this effort.
Second, it is absolutely clear that these government agencies do not consider the brutal killing of innocent human beings before birth as child abuse. There are an estimated 920,000 surgical and medical abortions in the United States every year, yet the CDC estimates the total child abuse victims as 683,000. Clearly 57 percent of child abuse cases—the ones that result in the intentional, Supreme Court sanctioned killing of our youngest members of the human race—don’t even earn a mention in two of the Department of Health and Human Services biggest reports on child abuse. In addition, even though 920,000 innocent human beings die from surgical and medical abortion each year, the CDC reports that “only” 1,670 children die from child abuse.
There appears to be some hope
However, here in 2018, there is a glimmer of hope. It was reported late last year that a new DHHS strategy document contained the sentence: “HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of 61 activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception” (emphasis added). The inclusion of preborn children in its mission is considered a major change in the thinking of DHHS and we have already seen additional documents from the agency expressing the same fact.
This expansion of concern for preborn children was also seen this week in President Donald Trump’s proclamation of April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month.” In his proclamation, President Trump stated: “We must always remember that all children are blessings from our Creator. They are endowed from conception with value, purpose, and human dignity” (emphasis added).
Could it be that we currently have a cadre of government employees who truly get it? People who recognize the fact that every human being begins his life at his inception and that every person is truly human from his biological beginning?
Such recognition of scientific facts seems to be racing through the administrative branch of our government. Could it spread to the other two branches—the Legislative (Congress) and the Judicial (Supreme Court and federal courts)?
The public changes at the DHHS and the Oval Office give us hope. We pray that, in the near future, abortion will begin to be recognized by our government agencies for what it is—the ultimate form of child abuse. Once recognized, perhaps the entire United States government will turn its attention to stopping the slaughter of the most vulnerable human beings.
This month, pro-lifers can lead the charge in this effort by insisting that no discussion of Child Abuse Prevention is complete without efforts to stop the killing of the preborn child. If anyone objects, just tell him to read the presidential proclamation!
Jim Sedlak is vice president of American Life league, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk radio program on the Radio Maria Network.