Insurance Plans for ‘Unborn Children’

Last year we noted the creative reasons the Religious Right came up with to join their economic-right brethren in opposing expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The National Right to Life Committee raised the specter of Medicare “rationing” and “involuntary euthanasia,” while Focus on the Family complained that there was no money in the proposal earmarked for abstinence-only sex ed. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said the problem with the SCHIP expansion was that it provided health coverage to “pregnant mothers” rather than to “unborn children”—a “calculated move,” according to Perkins, “to open the door to federal taxpayer-funded abortions.”

This month, retiring Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) revived his attempt to “classify the unborn child as a patient” under existing SCHIP coverage. The attempt failed, much to the dismay of Rod Parsley’s Center for Moral Clarity.

For the second time in less than a year, the U.S. Senate has rejected an amendment that would allow states to financially help poor pregnant teens and their unborn children. In effect, the vote will help encourage abortion.

The Center for Moral Clarity echoes Perkins in making a nebulous connection between not assigning insurance policies to fetuses and increasing abortion, but while the Family Research Council argued that more federal dollars for children’s health care would “free[] up states” to pay for abortions “with their own state money,” CMC’s point remains mysterious.

By assuaging the “financial concerns” of young women, CMC claims, “[t]hese girls are far more likely to be persuaded or coerced into an abortion.” But given that the Senate did pass expanded coverage for pregnant women and their children, it’s unclear what more “recogniz[ing] unborn children as patients” would do—except advance the legal agenda of abortion opponents.