Senate Defeats Heath Care for Poor Pregnant Women and Unborn Children

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 3, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Defeats Heath Care for Poor Pregnant Women and Unborn Children Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 3,

Washington, DC ( — In an ironic vote, Senate Democrats led a fight against an amendment to the SCHIP bill on Thursday night that would have helped poor pregnant women and their unborn children obtain prenatal care. They voted against restoring a program that allows states to provide help for pregnant women in difficult financial circumstances.

The reasons for the vote likely had more to do with the politics of abortion.

In 2002, President Bush authorized a change in the SCHIP program that allowed states to cover pregnant women and their babies — and many states such as California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin and Michigan — have done so.

Pro-life groups were thankful because the program provides help to vulnerable pregnant women who might have an abortion because of financial pressures.

But abortion advocacy groups decried the move because they don’t see an unborn child as worthy of coverage under a federal program that provides health care insurance for children after birth.

With control of Congress, pro-abortion lawmakers have revised the program and dropped the Unborn Child Rule in favor of language saying that pregnant women can be covered, but not their babies.

Sen. Wayne Allard, a Colorado Republican, attempted to include unborn children again, but his amendment was defeated Thursday on a 50-49 mostly party-line vote.

Republicans mostly voted in favor of the Allard amendment, including pro-life Democrats Bob Casey and Ben Nelson. Democrats Mary Landrieu and Massachusetts lawmakers John Kerry and Ted Kennedy voted for it as well.

Democrats opposed it and were joined by pro-abortion Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Ted Stevens of Alaska.

The bill’s changing the policy from covering pregnant women and the unborn to just pregnant women could also usher in taxpayer funded abortions, some groups said.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said the change from covering women and the unborn to only covering pregnant women "was consciously done by the liberal authors of the bill as payoff to one of their biggest supporters–Planned Parenthood."

"The irony of how a bill once designed to save children could now be twisted to incentivize killing them should not be lost on anyone," he concluded.