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Lauren Underwood (D-IL)

Opponents of abortion rights like to call themselves “pro life,” claiming their vast concern for the well being of “the unborn,” their highly politicized term for the fetus a pregnant woman carries, which they want to protect from any woman’s decision to have an abortion.

Defenders of abortion rights point out the many absurdities that result from this obsessive focus on fetuses by people who often oppose programs that would help children, such as Women/Infants/Children (WIC) nutrition, Head Start, other types of early childhood education, and child care for mothers who work for pay.

They did not put the point in those terms, because they were focused on their primary mission, but one obvious failure of abortion rights opponents is the huge problem of maternal mortality. Even though the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country, we have the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. Rates for black women are nearly four times higher than for white women, even after accounting for differences in education and income. Thirty Democrats in Congress have created the Black Maternal Health Caucus to focus attention on and look for solutions to the problem of elevated black maternal deaths. No Republicans have paid much attention to this important effort.

One policy change that helps reduce maternal mortality is the expansion of Medicaid, as the Affordable Care Act proposed. But of course, the Republicans, the Party of overt Christianity and family values, the Party whose candidates ensure a reliable supply of loyal, ill informed voters by proposing to prohibit abortion, also continue to oppose the expansion of Medicaid.

Not only maternal death rates, but infant mortality rates, are higher in the United States than anywhere else in the developed world, and again, a major factor is race. The infant mortality rate is nearly twice for black babies what it it is for white babies.

It looks as if the pro life movement should remain mostly in the Republican Party. Both groups do not seem to care much about the health and well being of black mothers and babies.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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