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Proposed HHS Regulation Recognizes Unborn Child From Conception 
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last Thursday, January 31, released a statement announcing a proposed regulation allowing states to provide health care insurance coverage to children here-to-fore ineligible for coverage under the State Childrenís Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). For the first time, the children to be included in the health plan are not yet born. The regulation, if adopted, would clarify coverage from conception to age 19.

The move has caused an explosion of protest, foot stomping, and demonstrating by abortion proponents who view it as a threat to Roe v. Wade. "Thereís a pattern here to establish fetal personhood," Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women said. "At the point you establish a fetus is a person under the law, then even first trimester abortion becomes murder, and the Bush administration knows that."

HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson dismissed that notion, saying "All weíre doing is providing care for poor mothers so their children are going to be born healthy. How anybody can now turn this into a pro-choice or pro-life argument, I canít understand it."

SCHIP (aka KidCare) was enacted by Congress in 1997 to provide Hillary-style government health insurance for millions of children who live in below-poverty-level circumstances. Federal funds are delivered to the states through block grants. The states may choose from three options when designing their SCHIP programs. They may expand their current Medicaid program, create a new "separate state" insurance program, or devise a combination of both approaches. In some limited circumstances, states may purchase a community-based health benefits plan or purchase family coverage under a cost-effective group health plan.

Currently, the program is available for qualifying children under the age of 19 whose parents earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level. The regulation proposed by the Bush administration would simply allow states to include coverage for children from conception to age 19. The regulation proposed by the Bush administration would simply allow states to include coverage for children from conception to age 19.

The hysteria generated by abortion advocates who somehow think that pre-natal care is something designed for mothers (they would say "women") only, and are apoplectic over the idea that an unborn baby from conception should be covered under a government health plan, are out of step with some of their most important supporters, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP, acknowledging the basic facts of human biology has this to say about the "age limits" defining who is the patient of the pediatrician:

"The purview of pediatrics includes the physical and psychosocial growth, development, and health of the individual This commitment begins prior to birth when conception is apparent and continues throughout infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, when the growth and developmental processes are generally completed. The responsibility of pediatrics may therefore begin with the fetus and continue through 21 years of age." (http://www.aap.org/policy/02031.html)

We join with pro-life leaders and individuals in commending the Bush administration for proposing this small but significant change in eligibility for government sponsored childrenís health care benefits. To say that the need to insure that developing babies in the womb are healthy is a vast understatement.

New discoveries in medicine and technology continue to emerge that can treat or cure serious conditions that affect babies in-utero. Most of us have seen the incredible picture of the tiny babyís hand emerging from his motherís uterus and grasping the finger of the surgeon who operated on him to correct his spina bifeda. This, and many other procedures are now available but denied to babies whose parents are unable to afford health insurance. The proposed regulation, according to Secretary Thompson, is the fastest way to get more low-income women eligible for subsidized pre-natal care, hopefully including (we donít have an answer on this yet) heroic measures that save lives and prevent disabling birth defects.

However, the new regulation has only been proposed, and is not yet adopted. A 30 to 60 day public comment period is required after which they will be reviewed by HHS officials. Secretary Thompson said the process should be completed in the spring.

Once the regulation is published in the Federal Register, we will learn how long the comment period will be and to whom at HHS comments should be directed. As soon as we have that information we will provide you with it.

The abortion industry sees even the slightest attempt to protect unborn babies as cause for a collective temper tantrum. They oppose banning "born-alive" abortions, partial-Birth abortions, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and any other recognition of the natural, God-given rights of human beings from conception. They will flood HHS with their objections to the adoption of the SCHIP regulation.

Pro-Life Americans have a big job to do. We ask you to work with us to overcome the objections of the heartless pro-abortion lobby by not only sending in your own comments, but by asking your family members and friends to do the same.


Lest We Forget 
The news of the past few days regarding public social policy has been welcome. Health care for unborn babies who are wanted, and efforts to protect teens from the devastating consequences of sexual activity before marriage, if accomplished, will be a positive contribution to our society. But, let us not forget for one moment that our mission, as pro-life citizens, is the protection of babies who are NOT welcomed in life and remain unprotected in law. We must continue to remind President Bush of his obligation, and that of others in his administration, to babies in the womb whose right to life is not recognized; embryonic babies who are being killed in research laboratories across America; babies who are frozen in liquid nitrogen; and, babies who are or are likely to be cloned only to be killed in scientific experiments.

Once again, we call on the President, by executive order followed by appropriate legislation, to ban the cloning of human beings for any purpose, to ban embryonic stem cell research in privately funded as well as federally funded research facilities, and to nominate known pro-life candidates to positions on the federal bench and the Supreme Court.


Reaching Government Officials 
Our friends in Washington advise us that, because of the anthrax situation on Capitol Hill, very few if any, letters are making it to Congressional offices or the White House. Please send your messages via phone, fax, or e-mail (the least desirable because they receive so many that time and staff limitations prevent their being read). A letter may never reach its intended destination.


Contacting Congress
Colleen Parro
Colleen Parro,
Executive Director
[email protected]
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Republican National Coalition for Life  *  Box 618  *  Alton  *  Illinois 62002
Executive Director: Colleen Parro   (972) 387-4160   Fax: (972) 387-3830