Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pro-life Phonies

The Moose asks for the real pro-lifers to please stand up.

Throughout the campaign, President Bush constantly remarked that he favored "a culture of life". Those words, of course, were a code phrase to reassure pro-lifers that the President was on their side without explicitly stating that he was opposed to abortion rights. The "culture of life" phrase is politically useful to the Republicans because it is not a hard-edge pronoucement of anti-abortion views that could alienate pro-choice Republicans. After all, who could be opposed to a culture of life besides Dr. Death?

In this regard, Barney Frank once caustically remarked that anti-abortionists were pro-life from conception through birth. That was perhaps an unfair remark, but not entirely off the mark.

The Moose was reminded of Frank's observation by Nicholas Kristof's column in today's New York Times -

"Here's a wrenching fact: If the U.S. had an infant mortality rate as good as Cuba's, we would save an additional 2,212 American babies a year.

"Yes, Cuba's. Babies are less likely to survive in America, with a health care system that we think is the best in the world, than in impoverished and autocratic Cuba. According to the latest C.I.A. World Factbook, Cuba is one of 41 countries that have better infant mortality rates than the U.S.

"Even more troubling, the rate in the U.S. has worsened recently. In every year since 1958, America's infant mortality rate improved, or at least held steady. But in 2002, it got worse: 7 babies died for each thousand live births, while that rate was 6.8 deaths the year before.'

When was the last time that you heard fervent conservative pro-lifers decrying the sad state of maternal health care in America? Have you heard the voices of stalwart supporters of "the culture of life" such as Dr. Dobson, Reverend Falwell, Senator Santorum or President Bush promoting the extension of health care benefits for children?

And where is the National Right to Life Committee opposing the Administration's plan to cut future Medicaid benefits that provide coverage for poor mothers and children? Actually, the Right-to-Life Committee devoted considerable energy to oppose campaign finance reform but it is AWOL on the pro-life issue of infant mortality. And it appears that we have a greater infant mortality crisis than a social security crisis!

Actually, President Clinton was objectively far more supportive of a "culture of life" than President Bush. Abortion rates declined during the Clinton years and that Administration strongly supported maternal health care and providing health care coverage for children.

Progressives need to redefine the pro-life debate. And expose the pro-life phonies.
-- Posted at 9:05 AM | Link to this post | Email this post