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August 06, 2007


John Lally

The letter that I recently sent to Senators Clinton and Schumer, effectively accusing them of refusing prenatal care to poor pregnant women and their unborn children by their vote against the Allard amendment to the SCHIP (State's Children Health Insurance Program) bill, was mistaken in that charge.

I have just learned that the LifeNews report from which I drew my information was inaccurate and misleading in this respect. (See http://www.lifenews.com/nat3248.html, which includes the following opening paragraph, not included in your summary above:
“In an ironic vote, Senate Democrats led a fight against an amendment to the SCHIP bill on Thursday night that would have helped poor pregnant women and their unborn children obtain prenatal care. They voted against restoring a program that allows states to provide help for pregnant women in difficult financial circumstances.”)

In fact, both the House bill and the Senate bill reauthorizing SCHIP allowed continuation of coverage, under the pre-existing regulations, for prenatal care to the child and the child’s pregnant mother. However the House bill shifted the focus of coverage from the child to the pregnant woman; and the Senate bill included the qualification that no congressional intent was to be inferred "regarding the legality or illegality" of the regulation. The legitimate pro-life concern here is that these changes open the possibility of moves to have SCHIP cover abortions in the future.

It was to protect the existing "unborn child" regulations that Senator Allard introduced his amendment. Clinton’s and Schumer’s votes contributed to the close defeat of the amendment, thus retaining the objectionable changes in the final Senate bill.

However, as to the point in question regarding continuation of SCHIP coverage for prenatal care for pregnant women and the babies they are carrying, in both the Senate and the House, happily, that has been reauthorized through passage of the Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act by majorities, including both Clinton and Schumer.

John Lally

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