Health Care For Youngest Americans...or Sneak Attack On Pro-Choice Lobby?
July 7, 2001 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Health Care For Youngest Americans...or Sneak Attack On Pro-Choice Lobby? Interesting proposal from HHS...guaranteed to fan the flames of what has been called the "most divisive issue in modern America." Should a fetus be classified as a "beneficiary" of health care benefits under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)? If this proposal is approved, will it forever change the debate?
posted by davidmsc (10 comments total)
Nothing makes a Saturday morning for me like a discussion about abortion, so let's go! I also like beating my head against concrete as recreation.
posted by raysmj at 8:09 AM on July 7, 2001

From a logical point of view, what would be the point of making a fetus a beneficiary of CHIP? As far as I know, there are very, very few medical procedures done on fetii- prenatal care is care of the mother. I guess there have been a few instances of interuterine surgeries, but isn't that still covered as mother-prenatal since they have to cut through her first to get to the fetus?
posted by headspace at 8:50 AM on July 7, 2001

Maybe this would be a great opportunity for a compromise between pro-choicers and pro-lifers. Let fetuses be eligible for health care benefits, and let stem cell research happen. Forget "pro-life" and "pro-choice" -- such a compromise would be pro-health, and we'd all win.
posted by Tin Man at 8:58 AM on July 7, 2001

Great idea! And next we can make cancer tumors beneficiaries of CHIP!
posted by rushmc at 9:03 AM on July 7, 2001

I always love the comparison of a fetus to a tumor...makes my attempt at explaining my pro-choice stance so much easier. Thanks!
posted by Mick at 9:14 AM on July 7, 2001

headspace: As far as I can tell from what I've read, the Bush administration is claiming is that by giving fetuses health care coverage under CHIP, they can provide care for the fetus' mother. Since a mother's health can affect the child's health, the policy change would allow mothers to visit OB/GYNs to get check-ups, monitor the fetus's health, amniocentesis, etc.
It's an interesting logic battle. Since CHIP (a WAY underused federally funded state block-grant program) is only for people under 19, declaring the fetus a child is a sneaky way to get coverage for pregnant mothers without having to make a new law for pregnant mothers. However, it seems like there would be some other way to get coverage for pregnant women without declaring a fetus a person. If their goal is truly to help pregnant women, there are other, less-controversial ways of doing it.
posted by gramcracker at 9:32 AM on July 7, 2001

What about men and women who want to have children but are facing difficulties? Will this cover sperm/egg repair or artificial insemination?

I am sure that many couples would actually welcome some sort of insurance coverage for pregnancy assistance procedures.
posted by tamim at 9:40 AM on July 7, 2001

My wife is pregnat. If our foetus is a human, entitled to health care, can we claim a tax deduction?
posted by Postroad at 10:03 AM on July 7, 2001

So now at what point does the fetus (I'm sorry, "external-to-womb impaired infant") get issued a social security number? And is it tax deductible? Will you be required to name the fetus in order to claim benefits? (We're gonna see a lot of uni-sex names, people.)
posted by benjh at 11:08 AM on July 7, 2001

Pure sneak attack. First, as was noted by gramcracker, there are far better ways to give low-income young mothers support for prenatal care. Now I suppose one could say that this is just a smart political move in trying to get bipartisan support for more low-income prenatal health coverage- a proposal assured of Democratic support while still garnering Republican support by dangling a "meatless bone" (the phrase used in the article) of subtle inroads into anti-abortion laws- the whole "uniter not divider" angle.

But that, you see, would be pure RNC spin (and one that we'll probably hear from the conservatively biased media). Here's why: Bush has a history of opposing the CHIP program in Texas, despite his deceptive campaign platitudes to the contrary. So to use CHIP of all things as a Trojan horse for bringing about the outlawing of abortion is not only sneaky but an insulting irony...
posted by hincandenza at 2:46 PM on July 7, 2001

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