Florida Governor Rick Scott already made it clear via his vetoes that he has a radical agenda that is designed to leave most lower income women barefoot and pregnant in the state. But now he’s making it even clearer that although pregnancy is the goal, once the baby is out his responsibility to the women ends there.
As Ashley Lopez reports over at the Florida Independent, an even closer look at Scott’s line item vetoes shows that he has unilaterally cut numerous programs that are in place to ensure that newborns are healthy. Most ominous, a veto of a legislatively approved measure to test for an immunodeficiency disease in babies that if caught early enough could greatly decrease the costs of treatment and the likelihood of saving the baby’s life.
For years, Smith has been fighting to have Florida add SCID to the list of genetic diseases newborns are tested for and, this year, lawmakers approved a $2 million start-up plan. However, this week Governor Rick Scott vetoed it.
“Heartbreaking, actually made me sick to my stomach,” Smith says of her reaction.
Dr. John Sleasman, a USF professor and an immunologist at All Children’s Hospital, also finds the veto hard to understand. “I was a little baffled,” he says.
Sleasman says the screening not only saves lives but, in the long run, it would also save the state money. He says if SCID is caught early, a bone marrow transplant can cure a baby. The survival rate is very high. But after three months of age, the risks and costs skyrocket. If an infant is on Medicaid, the state can pay a million dollars for treatment and still not save the infant’s life.
Sleasman says Scott, with his red veto marker, marked some babies for death. “It bothers me. By delaying it for a year or two, more babies will die needlessly.”
When Scott fought to have women be forced to give ultrasounds before abortions, hoping that despite proof otherwise, one or two babies might be saved, it was cheered by anti-choice advocates. But when he vetoes funding for a medical test that could save babies’ lives, not a word.
The object is to make women have the babies, but there is no interest in ensuring they thrive.