How much is a life really worth, monetarily? What used to be a rhetorical question is now one that will be furiously debated as the impact of denying prenatal care to undocumented pregnant women in Nebraska is now being felt. Babies are dying from lack of care, and eventually the anti-abortion activists and the anti-immigration groups will have to come to an agreement on what they value more — saving infants or punishing illegal immigrants.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that denying undocumented women access to prenatal care assistance has had “dramatic effects”:
The elimination one year ago of Medicaid funding for prenatal care for about 1,600 low-income women has had dramatic effects, doctors and health clinic administrators reported Wednesday. At least five babies have died. Women are traveling 155 miles to get prenatal care. Babies have been delivered at clinics, in ambulances and hospital emergency rooms. [...]
Andrea Skolkin, chief executive officer of One World Community Health Centers in Omaha, said that in the past year, only about half of uninsured women are receiving any prenatal care. The health center has more premature births to uninsured women, compared to insured women. Uninsured mothers were twice as likely to deliver through cesarean section, which is more expensive. [...] Four infants died in utero at the Columbus health center, she said. In the previous seven years, the clinic had never had an in utero death.
The babies in question are of course American citizens — citizens that the anti-immigration faction would rather see die than pay for any sort of health care for their mothers. Not all of the women being affected by this cut were immigrants — some of them were just extremely poor, but the state cut off their medicaid funding as well rather than allow an funding to possibly go to illegal immigrant women, too.
Of course, some of these poor women, when confronted with pregnancies which they could not afford to see doctors to maintain, chose to end their pregnancies instead. And the “pro-life” backers of the change, including the governor, were just fine with that.
Fetuses aborted, babies dieing in utero due to lack of care? This is the end result of a party that values anti-immigrant zealotry over actual lives.
photo from wikimedia commons
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