Monday, August 17, 2009

about babies and healthcare

Objections to health care cover the spectrum of life-and-death concerns: that is to say, death panels to mandated abortions. Now that the death panel crap is being debunked by all sorts of information agencies, expressions of fears that health care reform will kill Grandma are being replaced by fears that health care reform will kill babies.

Well, if I were the one in charge of the secret lethal army of Metal Ones, I certainly would send them out for the babies and the old people first. That would leave all the angry able-bodied people around for a nice Terminator-style fight for the earth. It's good strategery.

All right, so I know that the sarcasm isn't really being very nice. There's a reason my sister gave me the secret super-hero name of "Sarcastro." I try to delete all such commentary when engaging in real dialogue with people who disagree--it's hard, and sometimes I miss my aim, but I do try. But this is my blog, which I began, after all, as a venue for saying whatever the hell I wanted in a desperate experimental attempt to really find my voice. Which, as it turns out, is really sarcastic. Who would've thunk.

Anyhow, I was reminded again today that US health care stats include a shamefully high infant mortality rate.

And I can't help but think of the awful, awful irony of people so completely convinced that it's reforming this health care system that's going to kill babies.

Get it straight. I love babies. I want to have more of them myself. I want to have more babies in the same serene, beautiful way that I gave birth to my first ridiculously healthy little girl. I want every woman who has a baby to be able to give birth in that same empowering way I did--that is to say, with her agency intact, with say-so over her environment and her body, celebrating the advent of life into the world. I want this for every woman regardless of the circumstances of conception. I want this for every woman regardless of whether or not she can pay for it or has insurance for it. I want every pregnancy and every birth to be the beautiful, spiritual, bodily experience it should be. I want every pregnancy to culminate in that. Every single one.

That's not how it is.

And, of course, that's not how it will be, no matter what kind of reform finally gets enacted, because that's my ideal. But I think we could be a helluva lot closer to that ideal than we currently are.

And the first step to moving closer to the ideal is simply recognizing how far we currently are from it, recognizing that having the highest mortality rate of any developed country means that babies are dying. And maybe that, in some undesired, unintended way, if we do nothing about it, if we refuse to recognize that, then we are all baby-killers.


Travis said...

I heard Senator What's-His-White-Old-Face on Meet the Press claim that the high infant mortalitity rate was among medicaid babies...i.e. the government was the ones killing the babies. I knew immediately that was bullshit, as did the person sitting on his right, Former Sen. Daschel. David Gregory? He let this insane bullshit go without question or fact check, and moved on to another topic.

It's not just the Rush and Becks who are polluting the debate with made-up nonsense. It's people like David Gregory who allow their guests to say baseless, made up claims without ever even challenging them. Daschel was about to jump out of his seat...but I don't even think Gregory was listening.

FYI...I have a thing for hating David Gregory, so my judgment may be clouded a little. ;-)

Rachel said...

I have known that the United States has a ridiculous infant mortality rate, but I hadn't really ever juxtaposed that in my head with the rhetoric that's going on right now. Nice.

I have birthed from 3 different demographics-- first, as a very young, very poor, bewildered college student, then a home-owning middle class, suburban mom, and most recently a less-young, better educated, poor-again mom. The bill for the birth of my first child was footed by the state of Arkansas, the second barely subsidized by ridiculously expensive employer provided insurance, the third was paid for out-of-pocket (hospital, birth center, and home-births, respectively).

Admittedly, I am not very well educated on the proposed reform but my personal experience has made it abundantly clear that overall our healthcare system is very very beyond screwed up.

Do I have a point? I'm not sure. But I with birth from 3 perspectivestyped that all out, and it took awhile, so I'm going to post it. Also, I should get some kind of award for most commas used in a crappy sentence written by a woman with a degree in English.

JJT said...

From my perspective: liberal, prodigal use of all possible punctuation is my idea of style; save the semi-colon!

My nemesis however(as you've probably already observed) is the temptation to overuse of parenthetical commentary...and ellipses...

don thomas said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for your wisdom and for the trithseeking that brings to light such important facts.
It is sad that it is statistially safer to be a pregnant woman in Cuba (and safer for the baby) than to be preganant in Washington DC.
Now a comment that is not directly on point, but is time sensitive, so--

All your friends may want to know that people in the faith community will have their chance to urge President Obama not to weaken on his stand for a public health option.
Folks can join him in conversation on a live teleconference (2 pm tomorrow, Seattle or Los Angeles time---5 pm on the East Coast). Just grab your phone or go online with your computer. Sign up at
I just wrote this note to President Obama:
William Greider said yesterday in the Nation, “After his brilliant beginning, the president suddenly looks weak and unreliable”, talking about your “ abrupt retreat on substantive health care reform”. Today Bob Herbert (NYT) writes, “The hope of a government-run insurance option is all but gone.”
Please say it isn’t so!
I have spent day and night going to the mat for our citizens on this important issue. Our California Senators are now saying “Yes” on the public option. My Congressman Adam Schiff is now saying “Yes”. How can we help you win this issue you have so often said is so the best way to go? Maybe he will answer me tomorrow.
Don Thomas MD, Pasadena, CA

don thomas said...

I should always proof!
I did good in English at a collige in Abilene.
Where is Spell Check on this blog machine!