Monday, June 16, 2008

So “pro-life” they’re running out of tiny baby coffins

Ah, Mississippi. You are not an entirely unappealing state. You have a few things going for you, like drawling voices and a leisurely pace in life and some beautiful coastline. One thing you don’t have on your side?

You’re no longer part of the First World.

Mississippi now has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation: 11.4 out of 1000 births, compared to 6.9 per 1000 births nationwide (and the US as a whole is still coming in shamefully high compared to other nations like Norway, Sweden, Japan, etc.). Why does the state that, as Governor Haley Barbour says, is the safest for the unborn in the entire country, the state so ‘pro-life’ they make it next to impossible to get safe, legal abortion, have such a woefully high number of children dying before they see their first birthday?

The answer is damnably, diabolically simple: once the kid draws its first breath, they just don’t care. The proof is in the way they’ve slashed funding for both CHIP and Medicaid, making goddamn sure that their precious money isn’t going toward helping the sluts who can’t afford to take care of their own. You know, the ones they have because you forced them to? Yeah, them.

I think there’s another component to this debate, though - race. Think about it, who’s more likely to be on CHIP and Medicaid rolls but Mississippi’s large population of disadvantaged, disenfranchised people of color? Women who come from more privileged backgrounds can get in a car or on a plane and drive or fly to get an abortion if they need one, but poor women of color cannot, not to mention finding the money for an overnight hotel stay, someone to watch your (thanks to the kindness of MS, possibly hungry) already-born children, time off that job they forced you to take at Walmart because if you didn’t you’d lose what few benefits you have even though it means your kids, without your presence, are slipping farther through society’s cracks, because some patriarchal assholes in the government think you need to have 24 hours to ‘think it over’ after you go into the clinic once, as though this hasn’t consumed your every waking moment…it’s vicious.

Consider this: one of the groups expunged from MS’s CHIP rolls in 2005/2006 were legal resident alien children. Any wonder so many immigrants figure there’s nothing in it for them by playing by the rules? The poor are experts at the advanced calculus of risk/benefit analysis, and don’t you ever doubt it.

You starting to see how this works? It’s a domino effect, and I guarantee you that if we’re smart enough to see this trend, the government is, too. Now, since we know the moral conviction of the reichwing is the thinnest of veneers, the next logical question is really ‘What’s the big picture?’. What are they trying to accomplish? I can promise you that a blackhearted asshole like Rove or Cheney or Dobson or (insert airwaster here) doesn’t give two shits about the baybeeeez at the end of the day. ‘Life’ isn’t what matters to them. Wealth is.

Call me a kook, but what good comes of limiting abortion like this? Of withdrawing health care and assistance from hungry women and children? What could they possibly see as the advantage? What’s in it for them?

They are apparently unconcerned with the ability of the US to prosper in the new global economy, because to do that we have to have a competitive work force of highly educated people on the way, ones who can be the kind of knowledge workers who’ll be in highest demand. If they’re not aiming for that, then what will happen to all these children? The ones so poor they don’t get checkups, maybe get a free immunization or two when they’re required for school, the ones who only know how to take a tedious standardized test instead of thinking in grander, more complex terms because god forbid they be one of those children ‘left behind’*. What will they be good for?

Fueling a massive corporate and evangelical run feudal state, of course. They don’t need thinkers and dreamers - they produce those by homeschooling their precious white children and sending them to Regent University to make sure their thoughts and dreams are of an approved variety. They need workers. Workers who won’t think for themselves or buck the system out of abject fear of starving on the street.

*Ever wonder if it’s a coincidence that the super-fundy Bush cronies called this act No Child ‘LEFT BEHIND’? Since those books have been in the sweaty, fevered grip of every goddamned dominionist loony in the country, I don’t think it is.

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