[jbox color=”white” width=”800″ shadow=”3″ jbox_css=”color:#800080; border:4px solid #2a5555;” content_css=”color:#393939;” icon=”http://grassrootsne.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/gin-exclamation-point-e1333583663780.jpg” title=”Important Article Note”] One of the subjects in this article has become part of a long-running series provides.
Readers interested in this issue are encouraged to see a list of related articles, found at the following link:
GiN articles about LB1110, Prenatal coverage, Medicaid expansion [/jbox]
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .
— Tagline from Jaws 2
In my case, just when I thought it was safe to return to my habit of reading the Sunday Journal Star without raising my blood pressure to levels where no man’s (or woman’s) has gone before, I opened last Sunday’s paper and found yet another article featuring Senator Kathy Campbell and her one-woman crusade to secure Medicaid coverage of prenatal care for, seemingly, every pregnant woman currently living in Nebraska and, possibly, those who might fly over Nebraska air space on any given day.
As I quickly read through the article, though, I noticed that something was conspicuously absent from this piece that was omnipresent in virtually every other article previously published in the Journal Star concerning the subject. Abortion was never mentioned. No compassionate counselor or clinician expressed their sincere and heart-felt regret that, due to the callous disregard of Nebraska Medicaid administrators and the Unicameral, women who could no longer depend on public funds to pay their expenses for prenatal care were, in record numbers, electing to abort their babies.
We here at GiN commented at the time:
The Lincoln Journal Star ran a front page story entitled “Clinics report women denied prenatal care are opting for abortions” on Friday, March 19. Quoting an Omaha clinic, the story related how the number of women reporting they would abort their babies was “unprecedented”. The reasons cited? It was precisely due to the lack of legislative action to restore their free prenatal care. In addition to the usual medical equipment, like tongue depressors and blood pressure cuffs, apparently One World clinic staff members are also supplied with truth detectors (or crystal balls):
“The clinic does not provide abortion services nor referrals, but staff members are able to tell when a woman is serious about an abortion and when she is simply considering the idea, she said.”
Why the attempt to cast the prenatal care bill as an abortion-related measure? Senator Campbell knew LB1110 did not have the 30 votes required to overcome the Governor’s promised veto. The only way it stood a chance to secure the necessary number of votes was to attach it to another, more popular, bill. The bill chosen to “carry” LB1110 was an abortion bill. Because Nebraska law requires that bills deal with a single subject, LB1110 needed a “makeover” to cosmetically meet that criteria. In other words, LB1110 was not abortion-related, so it had to be made to appear to be. That’s the only way it had a ghost of a chance to secure enough votes to become law.
By uncritically publishing remarks by clinic staff regarding the alleged uptick in abortions, the Journal Star was complicit in what was, essentially, a propaganda campaign. GiN argued at the time that the clinics’ attempt to connect the Medicaid program change to an increased number of abortions made no logical sense. The cost of an abortion is usually greater than the cost of prenatal care. Moreover, prenatal care can be paid for in installments, as those expenses are incurred over the duration of the pregnancy. Medical fees for an abortion become due immediately. Speaking from experience, when you’re poor, it’s much more difficult to come up with a lump sum payment than to make smaller payments over time.
When LB1110 failed to pass, even as a “rider” on an abortion bill, it became less vital to its supporters’ cause that the prenatal care issue be so intimately tied to abortion. The anti-abortion lobby, persuaded by the media campaign, had already expressed support for the extension of Medicaid to pay for prenatal care. Senator Campbell may not have thought it necessary to play the abortion card again at this stage of the game. That may explain why this latest article steered clear of the alleged connection between the failure to provide “free” prenatal care and an increased incidence of abortion.
It’s interesting, though, that just a few months ago, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) published its 2010 Statistical Report of Abortions. According to that report:
“A total of 2,464 abortions were reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for 2010, a decrease of 3.4% when compared to the 2009 total of 2,551.”
Given this data, I suspect Senator Campbell may have realized that dog won’t hunt anymore, and discarded the argument that there’s any connection between prenatal care and abortion. But, then again, I may be giving her too much credit.
Mark Twain once wrote that everybody’s motto is “It’s better to be popular than right.” From where I’m sitting, it looks like GiN managed to do both with respect to this issue.
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LB1110: Another Conundrum Caused By Federal Government
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