“It’s … hard to take seriously Republicans’ passionate pleas for this body to defend the existence of an unborn fetus when they seem to care so little about many of the existential threats that are posed to every American after they are born. … It seems that after birth, life matters a little bit less to some people in this body.”
So said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., on the Senate floor in May in support of the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which would actually make abortion on demand, up through birth, legal nationwide.
“If [Republicans] refuse to support life after birth, how can they claim to believe in it before? Truth is, this is not about life and never has been. It’s about seizing power and control,” wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in a tweet on June 24, the day the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision came down.
Using such rhetoric, the abortion movement has attempted to disparage pro-lifers with the faulty claim time and time again, that the pro-life movement does not care about mothers and their children after they are born.
For those unwilling even to acknowledge the humanity of an unborn child, it’s apparently impossible to recognize that there is already a vast pro-life safety net that offers women and their children the love, support, and protection they deserve far beyond just the moment of birth.
Today, there are at least 2,700 pro-life pregnancy resource centers nationwide, served by more than 10,000 medical professionals, reaching nearly 2,000,000 women, men, and youths per year and offering services from sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment to free ultrasounds, parenting classes, maternity homes, and job training referrals—all at little or no cost.
The combined value of those services and more, mostly privately supported, was at least $266 million in 2019.
Pro-life advocates have also been the driving force behind the creation and expansion of child tax credits and adoption tax credits at the federal and state levels.
Congressional Republicans passed the first federal child tax credit in September 1997, just a few weeks before what was Ocasio-Cortez’s eighth birthday. State and federal child tax credits have steered well over $1 trillion back to families during the past quarter-century.
Another hopeful sign is the current surge of action supporting mothers and babies in a broad swath of Southern, pro-life states. Those states are simultaneously acting to limit abortion and expand efforts to support both mother and child during and after birth.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 5 in April, which along with prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, included $1,602,000 in recurring funds for the Department of Health to establish fetal and infant mortality review committees in every region of the state.
It also requires the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program to include information targeted at pregnant women and women who may become pregnant.
HB 5 comes a year after DeSantis signed SB 2518, effectively extending postpartum eligibility for Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months of coverage. In April, DeSantis signed HB 7065, which “aids in creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and families that allow children to grow up to their full potential” by implementing educational and mentorship programs.
The bill encourages involved fatherhood and is tied to $70 million in funding to the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families to provide support for families and youth.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott supported the Texas Health and Human Services Coalition in launching a website to serve as a resource for families—including expectant mothers and new families—to find and receive the care and support they need.
The state also allocated $100 million of its budget this biennium to its Alternatives to Abortion program (a twentyfold increase in funding since 2006), a program that “promotes childbirth and provides support services to pregnant women and their families, adoptive parents, and parents who have experienced miscarriage or the loss of a child.”
In Georgia, a six-week “heartbeat” abortion law recently took effect. Betsy’s Law (SB 116) allows nonprofits to provide free housing for mothers and their children in need. Gov. Brian Kemp says the bill will “support Georgia mothers and their newborns” and continue “Georgia’s reputation of being a state that protects life at all stages.”
Kemp also signed a Medicaid Postpartum Extension bill, which took effect in July, extending coverage from six months to one year following birth.
In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee proposed new pregnancy and postpartum benefits that include an expansion of health care from 60 days to 12 months through TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to approximately 1.6 million low-income Tennesseans, including pregnant women and children.
The state also launched Tennessee Fosters Hope, a private-public alliance that engages “state agencies, community organizations, the business community, and houses of worship to elevate high-quality care and opportunities for children and families impacted by foster care and adoption.”
Sadly, even as the pro-life movement continues to support women before, during, and after the birth of their child, doctrinaire abortion advocates have sought to prevent women and children from receiving the care they deserve.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that “[w]ith Roe gone, it’s more important than ever to crack down on so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers.’” That crackdown against pregnancy resource centers is not just theoretical, but is embodied in actions like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of $21.4 million in line items in the state budget that support both mothers and adoption.
Most extreme is the action of groups such as Jane’s Revenge, which has taken credit for firebombings and vandalism of pregnancy resource centers and churches across the country.
While pro-life Southern states have combined limits on abortion with real support and resources for mothers and their children, the pro-abortion left has only redoubled its charges that pro-lifers do not care for mother and child after birth.
Fiery rhetoric and firebombs are launched against the very places that serve these women and children. Despite those hateful actions, which are doomed to fail, pro-lifers have advanced, unrelenting in their efforts to protect life at every stage.
The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.
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