THERE ARE so many jaw-dropping inconsistencies -- and insults -- poking
out of the Bush administration's latest plans for the "pre-born," it's hard to
know where to begin.
But at the rate the alleged president is going, don't be surprised to see
the U.S. Treasury Department start sending checks to frozen embryos for their
share of the big $1.3 trillion federal tax cut.
First, how about the Bush policy change proposal that would extend medical
coverage to fetuses by identifying them as "targeted low-income children?"
Never mind (for now) that the plan looks like another veiled attempt to do
what W. and his fellow conservative Republicans can't accomplish outright:
turn legal abortion into homicide. Just consider what it says about the value
that Bush and his minions place on women -- those post-born, female humans who
According to William A. Pierce, of the Department of Health and Human
Services, the purpose of officially identifying fetuses as "low-income
children" and giving them health insurance is "simple."
"This will increase access to prenatal care for pregnant women, the
ultimate goal being healthier babies and healthier children," Pierce stated.
"It could help many pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid or the
(existing national) children's health program."
So, uh, if the point is to increase access to prenatal care, why not hand
your federal goodies directly to the walking, talking, breathing-outside-the-
womb group that needs access? Why not give every woman who can't afford it
decent medical care during and after her pregnancy?
That seems a lot "simpler" (and more honest) than the executive branch of
the government bestowing full-blown, legal personhood upon fetuses of any age.
Then there is the matter of the great stem cell research controversy.
For the longest time, I assumed that the conservative members of Congress
and their largely Christian-right constituency opposed stem cell harvesting
because the cells came from aborted or miscarried fetuses. Back in the late-
1980s, when the alleged president's father was in the White House championing
the pre-born, that is what the fight was about.
But no. In the ensuing decade, scientists have found that the most useful
stem cells come from embryos, which are as junior (and microscopic) a form of
"baby" as you can get and still be talking about sperm-egg collaboration.
Are these embryos ripped from the uteruses of unsuspecting or heartless
women? No way. They are created en masse in fertility clinic lab dishes for
couples who need outside help to conceive. If researchers did not use the
leftover frozen embryos to try to solve the mysteries of Parkinson's,
Alzheimer's and other diseases, they would be thrown away.
Never mind that close to 80 percent of the U.S. population -- including
many anti-abortion proponents and most of the Catholic laity -- is all for
embryo stem cell research. George W. Bush, along with the ever-regressing
Catholic hierarchy and similar radical Christian bullies, insists that the
practice destroys "life" and is therefore the same as abortion, or their
definition of murder. This is the "controversy."
Of the 43 million post-born Americans who have no health insurance, 10
million are kids, age 18 or younger. Looks like their best option for getting
help from the federal government is to find a great big Petri dish in the
frozen section of the nearest fertility clinic and go live there.
Maybe Congress will issue them parkas.
©2001 San Francisco Chronicle