The House and Senate have both passed the PACT Act, which stands for Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture. The act makes it a federal offense to knowingly crush, burn, drown, suffocate, impale or sexually exploit animals. While that’s great, animals shouldn’t be abused for human amusement or cruelty, why is it so difficult to extend the same protections to preborn human babies? 

Dog ownership has great rewards for physical and mental health, according to several studies. Personally, I love my dog and enjoy the fun and chaos she brings to my life. While it is good that we continue to protect animals, it seems inconceivable that this same protection hasn’t been extended to human babies in the womb. In the eyes of the U.S. government, my dog has more value than a preborn baby. Do preborn humans not deserve the same or more protections?

Apparently, the answer is no, at least according to our elected officials. Technically, doctors still can leave children to die from exposure after a failed abortion without really any repercussions (although they are supposed to administer care), but it is now a federal offense to “crush” a dog. That doesn’t seem right. More than 80 times the House Republicans have tried to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the floor, which would protect babies born in those situations, but it has been blocked by Democratic leadership every time. Even an attempt to pass the legislation in the Republican-controlled Senate proved unsuccessful.

Part of the reason that this bill might’ve been so easy to pass is that some Americans now seemingly prefer dogs to children, or at least that’s the case in a couple of cities. According to the American Community Survey, there are about 120,000 to 150,000 dogs in the city of San Francisco but only 115,000 children. In Seattle, it’s all about cats. The city officially has more cats than children, and when you add dogs in it’s cats, dogs and then children. 

That’s a rather sad state of affairs.

It’s hard for me to totally judge them, because after all I do have a dog and no children (but that has to do more with singleness than anything else). But as a society we need to focus on valuing our children more than our pets—dogs, cats, horses or otherwise. There’s no reason why the life of a child, inside or outside the womb, should be deemed less worthy of protection from our government than an animal. 

But this movement doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon, especially with the growing climate panic. Recently, scientists have argued that people should be having fewer children or none at all to save the planet. People have even made the decision to not have children because of climate change, and instead look to animals to fill the void of a child.

There’s nothing wrong with having a pet, but an animal can never take the place of a child. If anything, what this legislation and the obsession with pets indicates is that our society is continuing down a dangerous path. For a nation to thrive, it needs human children, not furry ones. I’m all for protecting animals, but we do need to protect people too.