Last week President Bush announced a proposal to allow states to extend the definition of a child as far back as the moment of conception. This new definition, according to the Bush administration, would allow states to increase the State Child Health Insurance Program to low-income pregnant women. This proposal, however, carries far-reaching repercussions and does not offer anything that is not already available.
By declaring an unborn embryo a child, the President and Congress would be setting an environment for abortion to be made illegal. Various Justices of the Supreme Court have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, and this regulation may very well provide the legal basis for them to do just that.
On the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, President Bush reportedly telephoned a group of anti-abortion protesters outside the White House to let them know he supported their cause.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, when questioned by the Associated Press, stated that the new regulation was in no way related to the abortion debate and he could not see how anyone could connect the two. Thompson said the issue at hand is to ensure that more healthy babies are born.
With a world population surging past 6 billion, millions going hungry, pollution running out of control, and decreasing energy supplies and natural resources, the last thing we need to do is increase the rate at which we are overpopulating the globe. If the goal is to extend much-needed health care to more Americans, there are better ways to go about doing it.
President Bush, in his State of the Union address, promised that we would spend whatever it takes to wipe out terrorism. His funding request includes an unprecedented $38 billion for homeland security and a $48 billion increase in defense spending, regardless of our nations’ increasingly dubious financial situation.
Instead of pushing a thinly veiled political move to outlaw abortions, our president would do much better to put the same fervor and finances he throws at the war on terrorism toward ensuring affordable, quality health care for all Americans.
Even without extending the definition of a child to a pre-birth condition, states have been able to use the CHIP program to provide health insurance for pregnant women by obtaining a federal waiver. The change proposed by the Bush administration is not at all necessary, and does nothing new to accomplish the goal of expanding health care.
Carrying the momentum of a post-tragedy vengeance-war, President Bush has an unbelievable 80 percent approval rating. Congressional representatives, largely ignoring their duty in the system of checks and balances, have fallen in line behind the President in the face of an upcoming election.
We must not let our bandwagon of support for our wartime president lead us blindly past other important issues currently at hand. Though abortion is a hotly contested issue, if this country is to remain the land of the free, we must not allow our right to make our own decisions to be taken away.