Healthy Babies or Trojan Horses?

    Last week, the Bush administration proposed a policy change to expand the number of poor women and children eligible for Medicaid. Now you might think that prenatal care for poor women would delight most liberals and feminists. But where some see compassion, others only see a Trojan horse. The proposed change came from Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and was set forth in a letter to state healthcare officials. Under this policy unborn children would qualify as "targeted low-income" children -- making them eligible for the federal government's Children's Health Insurance Program. According to a department spokesman, the goal of the proposal is to "increase access to prenatal care for pregnant women . . . [with] the ultimate goal being healthier babies and healthier children. It could help many pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid or the children's health program." Now scarcely a week goes by that we don't see a public service announcement or news report about the importance of good prenatal care. So, you might expect universal praise for Thompson's proposal. Well, you'd be wrong. The ink on the letter was barely dry when Kate Michelman, head of NARAL, went into declaim-and- denounce mode. She accused the president of "seeking to score political points with . . . those who want to criminalize legal abortion by any means possible." Michelman wasn't alone in her condemnation. Laurie Robinson, of the National Partnership for Women and Families, called the proposal a "backdoor attempt by the Bush administration to perpetuate its opposition to abortion rights." She told the New York Times that the "real goal" of the policy "is to establish a legal precedent for granting personhood to fetuses." For years reporters covering the abortion debates have given the impression that the extremists and fanatics are all on the pro-life side. Well, this controversy shows who the real fanatics are. For the pro-abortion crowd, the right to any abortion, any time, for any reason, trumps everything else -- even things they claim are important. Well, if mothers can't get healthcare for their children, so what? Better a woman go without prenatal care than expose the right to an abortion to the slightest risk. Even to recognize the needs of unborn children for healthcare -- in the eyes of these zealots -- is to encroach on reproductive rights. Remind me again: Who are the fanatics here? In standing up for the sanctity of life, it's no longer enough to present the biblical case. We have to also deny the other side the rhetorical high ground it has falsely occupied. We must not allow them to masquerade as the champions of "reproductive health" while at the same time they oppose prenatal care. The abortion-rights lobby's irrational reaction to this compassionate step to help poor women exposes the dishonesty and hypocrisy of their position. This is a good example, by the way, of how Christians must practice apologetics in this age. Force the other side to take the logic of their position to its ultimate conclusion. And when you do, the absurdity of their position is made obvious. And, in this case, we can force them to admit that a healthy unborn child in a healthy mother-to-be is a good thing, not a Trojan horse.


Chuck Colson



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