The Big Problem With This Generous Act Of Charity

Photo: John Minchillo/AP Photo.
The Ted Cruz campaign has collected bottled water for donation to crisis pregnancy centers in Flint, MI, according to a Tuesday morning post to the Facebook account of Wendy Lynn Day, the director of Cruz's campaign in the state. The post claimed that the water would be distributed to centers on Wednesday to give to “expecting moms and moms of little ones.” Photos posted on Wednesday morning showed volunteers labeling 2-gallon jugs of water with the message, “God Bless Flint.” According to a statement shared on Twitter by Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood, Day said that the donation demonstrates “the pro-life values of Senator Cruz.” While the Flint crisis has been heavily politicized, the Cruz campaign's donation isn't as helpful as it could be. Crisis pregnancy centers are antiabortion organizations aimed at persuading women to keep their pregnancies, sometimes through misinformation and manipulation. In donating to a crisis pregnancy center — as opposed to, say, a school or ideologically unaffiliated organization like the Red Cross — the Cruz campaign overlooks the children who have already been poisoned by toxic water. A study on the water in Flint found that the amount of lead in the blood of young children has nearly doubled since the city began using water from the local Flint River. Lead poisoning can permanently damage a child’s mental and physical development; a statement from Mayor Karen Weaver in December called the damage “irreversible” and foresaw a rise in learning disabilities and mental health issues for children who have been exposed. For many children who had no choice but to use the contaminated water, the effects will be felt for the rest of their lives. Yesterday, Cruz spoke about the disaster at a press stop in New Hampshire, calling it an “absolute travesty” and demanding accountability. He is one of the few Republican candidates to comment on the situation, as both Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have declined to speak on the crisis.

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