by Steven Ertelt
June 24, 2005
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — In 2002, President Bush unveiled a new administration policy allowing unborn children to be covered under the federal-state CHIP program that provides health insurance coverage for children in poor families. Several states have taken up the federal government on the offer and California is the latest, though it is tangled up in abortion politics.
The state legislature approved Assembly Bill 794, which allows the state to take the funds. However, the state legislature added a pro-abortion provision because abortion advocates in the legislature don’t want to accept the funds and acknowledge that unborn children are eligible to be supported.
The measure includes language stating that the state is accepting the funds but will only spend them on behalf of pregnant women, saying nothing of their babies. It also acknowledges that the state supports legal abortion and accepting the grant money will not be used to overturn legal abortions.
Assemblywoman Judy Chu, a Democrat, sponsored the bill. She said it was also necessary because there may come a time when a mother’s health may be pitted against her baby’s. She cited the example of a psychiatric patient who may need drugs that would harm the child.
"Who is the primary focus?" Chu told the Sacramento Bee. "What our current laws say is that the woman is the focus."
Yet Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, a Republican, and pro-life groups are upset by the measure, which Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar plans to sign into law.
"In essence, what we’re telling the government is, ‘We want your money to run this program, but we’re not going to do it the way you want,’ " Aghazarian told the Bee.
The state is expected to receive $304 million for the program and federal guidelines require it to be spent on children of low-income families "under the age of 19 years, including the period from conception to birth."
Brian Johnston, director of the California Pro-Life Council, told LifeNews.com that the bill "is yet another example of hardened abortion ideologues twisting both law and semantics in their war against the most vulnerable members of society."
"These are the same people who argued that Connor Peterson could not have been killed because he never existed," he added. "[T]hey will go to any length to prevent the law from recognizing these babies."
The money can’t be used for abortions, but is intended for prenatal care, nutrition, and other needs pregnant women and their unborn children have during pregnancy. The state Assembly approved the measure on a 44-25 vote.