Standing up for Human Rights
Children’s rights are human rights and human rights are children’s rights. We have an innate understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Regardless of politics or immigration policy, there is something fundamentally wrong with tearing young children away from their mothers and their families. No end should justify this particular means.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) is a research study conducted by the American health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study has demonstrated an association of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) (aka childhood trauma) with health and social problems across the lifespan.
As a physician, my job is to care for people who have sustained emotional and physical trauma. The impact of traumatic experiences is a topic I am deeply familiar with.
As a mother, my job is to care for and protect not just my child, but all children. The emotional and attachment needs of children is also a topic I am deeply familiar with.
Currently I serve as a board member for the Texas chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). PSR supports policies and practices that minimizes ACE’s because we, as a multidisciplinary board, understand the societal impacts this has.
What is happening along our southern border is a basic violation of what we as humans hold dear in that children should be cared for and protected.
Do we really want to be the nation known for inflicting trauma on children?The zero-tolerance policy that this administration began enforcing in May 2018 goes against the moral fiber of our nation in using separation of children from parents as bargaining chips for funding of a border wall and as a deterrent to immigration along our southern border, even for those seeking asylum.
The emotional toll and stress this is causing to these children will likely have long lasting impacts that will cost us for many years to come, not just financially but in societal terms.
It is cruel and it is completely unnecessary.
The way we treat the most vulnerable is a testament to who we are as a society. We can do better.
We need to do better.
Our future literally depends on it.
Mary Ann Gonzales, Board Member, Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility, June 2018