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Land: Critics of prenatal care intent on ‘pro-death’ agenda

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Critics of a proposed extension of government medical benefits to the unborn are showing their true colors, Richard Land suggests.

The Southern Baptist ethicist said Feb. 2 that outcry against the proposed rule change that would allow states to extend the coverage of the federally subsidized State Children’s Health Insurance Program to the unborn — which currently covers birth to age 19 — is unconscionable.

“Instead of applauding the rule change, which would give free prenatal medical aid to poor mothers, the pro-death movement is calling the Bush administration decision a ploy to secure legal status for the unborn baby,” said Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and host of For Faith & Family, a weekday radio program that focuses on issues of importance to families.

He said the criticism shows the hypocrisy of the “pro-death” movement. “This coverage is for women who have made the choice to have their babies,” said Land, emphasizing the word “choice” in an obvious reference to those who are called pro-choice but who decry the broadening of the SCHIP coverage.

“These women made the right choice to carry their child to term. The unborn children of the poor deserve and need this medical attention as much as the children of the wealthy,” Land said.

The rule change would allow but not require states to extend that coverage from birth back through conception, Land explained. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced Jan. 31 the proposed rule change would allow states to classify a fetus as an unborn child under the insurance program.

“It means that literally millions of pregnant mothers — women who want to have their babies and want them to be healthy — would be able to get prenatal medical care,” Land said.

He noted the president of Planned Parenthood, Gloria Feldt, said the announcement of the benefits extension “denied everything the president said in his [State of the Union] speech about standing for the dignity of women.”

“Is it against the dignity of women to say that a pregnant mother ought to be able to get the medical care she needs for her unborn child?” Land asked. “This group deserves to be called Planned Unparenthood.” He said he suggested the name change because the group appears intent on “trying to cut down on what they think is a population explosion by having as few people as possible have babies.” According to the American Life League, Planned Parenthood clinics did more than 182,000 abortions in 1999 (www.all.org/stopp/rr0104.htm).

The “pro-death movement,” Land continued, “will go to any length to preserve the right of a mother to kill her unborn baby from conception up through partial birth, even if that supposed right trumps the health needs of an unborn baby that is wanted by its mother.

“They are not pro-woman or pro-mother,” Land insisted. “They want the death choice. That is apparently their number one priority. We need to be aware of that and help others see beyond the rhetoric and protestations of the so-called ‘pro-choice’ crowd. They are really pro-death.”

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  • Dwayne Hastings