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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nebraska to Mexican babies: Se muere

Long ago, Nebraska advertised itself as "the White Spot of the Nation," meaning the state had neither a sales tax nor an income tax.

Now, thanks to "pro-life" Gov. Dave Heineman, the state just might have to revive that slogan -- just with a somewhat different meaning.

Like, "if you're a white spot on an ultrasound," you, as a fetus, are quite all right. But if you're brown -- as in Mexican -- we don't want your kind sticking around.

That's because in Nebraska, we are so angry about illegal immigration, that ostensibly "pro-life" politicians want to punish undocumented mothers-to-be soooooo badly -- and thus reap the resulting electoral windfall -- they'd rather see brown babies dead . . . aborted . . . than be born American.

Abortions, you see, are easy. Prenatal care for the poor is not.

TRAFFICKING in deadly spite is a big part these days of what it is to be Dave Heineman: Nebraska's "white-to-life" governor. That's the practical reality, the moral reality and the political reality of at least 19 state senators standing behind (or at least not standing up to) the Republican governor's death-dealing foolishness.

Heineman and his toadies can argue motivations, but the practical reality is clear. Somehow, I don't think the political considerations would be quite so acute if Nebraska were facing being "overrun" by a wave of Scandinavian illegals. Which it isn't. This "problem" is colored brown.

Nebraska's political establishment wants little brown babies to pay for the migrational sins of their mothers so badly that it will deny them state-sponsored prenatal care even if private donors are picking up a substantial portion of the bill. That's the upshot of this
Associated Press story tonight:
Opposition to taxpayer benefits for illegal immigrants appears to have trumped anti-abortion sentiments in Nebraska, likely ending an unusual collision of the two explosive political issues.

After meeting with Gov. Dave Heineman on Wednesday night, a lawmaker said the governor opposed a compromise that would continue providing state-funded prenatal care to illegal immigrants in Nebraska. Supporters of the compromise - which included the use of money from private donors - said they don't have enough votes this year to override a Heineman veto and may not have had the votes even without the governor's outright opposition.

"The chances are very slim right now," said Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha after the meeting with Heineman. Ashford crafted the proposal, which hinged on Omaha donors pitching in about $3 million this year, so women could continue receiving state-funded prenatal care. "We took a stab at it but it's clear options now are very, very limited."

Heineman characterized the meeting as "respectful and straightforward" in a statement Wednesday night.

"I have repeatedly said that I support prenatal care for legal residents," he said. "I do not support providing state-funded benefits for illegal individuals."

Lawmakers had faced a dilemma for weeks: Was it more important to care for pregnant women and their unborn children, or prevent illegal immigrants from getting taxpayer-funded benefits?

Until early this month, Nebraska had the nation's only Medicaid policy that allowed unborn children to qualify. That meant women who weren't eligible for the government-run insurance program on their own - such as illegal immigrants - got Medicaid-covered prenatal care because their unborn children qualified.

After federal officials told Nebraska it was breaking Medicaid rules, the state tried to come up with a substitute. That effort died more than a week ago.

But reports from doctors of several women saying they will have abortions instead because they couldn't afford prenatal care reignited the issue. Until Wednesday night, there appeared to be a chance lawmakers would formally consider a proposal.


Heineman, meanwhile, has tried to stay out of the fray. Running for re-election, the Republican quietly announced his opposition to state-funded prenatal care for illegal immigrants last month in a letter to a legislative committee.

State officials say about 870 illegal immigrants and 750 legal residents including citizens lost Medicaid coverage this month when Nebraska dumped its two-decade-old Medicaid policy. More than 4,700 legal residents once considered at risk of losing coverage got to keep it because state officials found they qualified under different provisions of Medicaid.

The reports of more women seeking abortions - which some lawmakers are openly skeptical of - spurred a renewed push to create a separate, non-Medicaid program under which illegal immigrants and some legal residents would get state- and federal-funded prenatal care. Now very unlikely to be formed, it would have been created under the federal Children's Health Insurance Program, which allows unborn children to qualify for federal- and state-funded care.
DESPITE ENACTMENT this week of a landmark health-care reform law, we still live in a country -- and especially a state -- where it's much cheaper to eradicate your fetus than it is to deliver a healthy baby boy or girl. And just enough of Nebraska's "pro-life" politicians, led by the state's "pro-life" governor, are just fine with that.

Here in "the White Spot of the Nation."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Right to (Republican) life

The "pro-life movement" this week declared itself, in effect, to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party.

Not that this is a shock to anyone, it's just that before the movement dedicated to a political non-solution of a profound moral crisis held fast, at least, to some small sliver of plausible deniability.

AS REPORTED by the Omaha World-Herald today, Nebraska's largest organization of anti-abortion hypocrites (as opposed to pro-lifers) extracted that sliver from its endorsement rolls:
Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson and Republican Gov. Dave Heineman both drew fire this year from abortion foes for positions each took on key bills.

Nelson supported a compromise on the health care overhaul in Congress, angering Nebraska Right to Life.

Heineman opposed a bill to restore prenatal care services for low-income women, angering Nebraska Right to Life.

The anger felt against both anti-abortion politicians, however, has differed in scale.

Heineman on Wednesday received Nebraska Right to Life's endorsement, while Nelson was given its cold shoulder for life. The group announced that he would never be considered for another endorsement.

Nelson is up for re-election in 2012, while Heineman will be on the ballot this November.

The group considered Nelson's support for the health care compromise a graver offense than Heineman's opposition to the prenatal bill, which would have restored government-funded medical care for pregnant, low-income women, including illegal immigrants. Reports of affected women seeking abortions followed the bill's failure.

“We just don't see that as having the same weight as health care reform,” said Denise Ashby, director of Nebraska Right to Life's political action committee. “It doesn't compare in our eyes.”

Heineman and Nelson have long received the group's support. Nelson has voted 19 out of 21 times in line with the group's positions. He fell out of favor when he accepted abortion language in the health overhaul bill different than what was advocated by abortion opponents.

Nelson has long argued that the compromise language in the health care law will not allow federal dollars to fund abortions. Under the law, individuals can use a federal subsidy to purchase insurance plans that cover abortions, but policyholders must pay for the abortion coverage with their own separate check.
BEN NELSON was forever disowned for voting for a bill in which only Republicans, "right to life" political operatives and the Catholic bishops' conference could find any "expansion" of abortion rights or funding. Academics couldn't, and the abortion lobby certainly couldn't (which left its members madder than wet hens).

Meanwhile, Dave Heineman gets an endorsement after single-handedly scuttling prenatal-care funding, which quite literally has driven women to abort their unborn children.

Makes sense to me. But that's only because I realize that the politicized pro-life pretenders years ago had accepted their 30 pieces of silver. Had drunk the conservative Kool-Aid. Had surrendered to the kind of "politically correct" groupthink that burrows into the dessicated souls of those who think that politics precedes culture, then sells themselves to a political pimp daddy.

UNBORN CHILDREN -- indeed, vulnerable human beings of any stripe -- have met their worst enemy. And ironically, it's the "pro-life movement."

Planned Parenthood will only succumb more and more to ridiculousness born of its sheer zealotry for sexualizing children while simultaneously seeking to rid the world of as many of them as possible. Abortionists, left to their own devices, will only expose themselves more and more as cynical death merchants who prey on desperate women.

This kind of absurdity is term limited by its very absurdity. Polls of young Americans are bearing that out. Of course, it is young Americans who have had their ranks culled by a third.

It is only the ridiculousness of groups like Nebraska Right to Life -- resorting to sophistry to polish a political turd like Heineman -- that can discredit an entire moral and philosophical position.

Only "pro-lifers" can give lie to the sanctity of every human life, born and unborn, by demonstrating to the world that "even they don't believe that s***."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kill a baby for the Red, White and Blue!

Bienvenidos a América, where poor lives are cheap, poor Mexican lives are cheaper . . . and abortion is cheaper still.

That's certainly the case in Nebraska, where if you're Gov. Dave Heineman or one of the Legislature's immigration hawks, the cold political reality is that it pays to be "pro-life, but. . . ."

And while Gov. Snow White and the Way More Than Seven Dwarfs stand in the "anti" room of the legislative chamber and congratulate themselves on all the things they're against -- government spending, illegal immigration, abortion -- comes the news from all over Nebraska.

NEWS TODAY from the Omaha World-Herald:

A Schuyler, Neb., doctor voiced frustration Wednesday as he described the fallout he has already seen from the loss of government-funded prenatal care for some low-income women.

One pregnant woman opted for an abortion three weeks ago because she felt she couldn't afford to pay for prenatal care, said Dr. John Jackson of Memorial Hospital in Schuyler.

A second patient is seriously considering terminating her pregnancy, although he is trying to talk her out of it, Jackson said.

Several pregnant women among his mostly Hispanic patients in the meatpacking town have quit coming for prenatal visits because of the out-of-pocket costs, he said, and one asked if he would come to her house to deliver her baby.

Jackson said the women are doing the math: With incomes of as little as $150 every two weeks, it's hard to pay for $50 diabetes tests or the $750 to $1,000 cost of prenatal care. By comparison, an abortion at a Lincoln clinic costs $500 to $550.

“If you actually want to solve the immigration problem, solve that,” the family physician said.

“Why am I putting a baby's life at risk? That's not right.”

Jackson spoke Wednesday, shortly after a bill was killed in the Nebraska Legislature that would have restored government-funded, prenatal care for low-income pregnant women, including many who are illegal immigrants.

Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, who opposed the measure, said that while the abortion was sad, it was most likely unrelated to the end of prenatal care coverage.

“The illegal immigrants we're talking about, I believe, are still going to get their prenatal care from a different source than the Nebraska taxpayers, who are already strapped,” Janssen said.

Gov. Dave Heineman had opposed the bill, saying taxpayer-funded benefits should not be afforded to women who are living in the United States illegally.

Heineman on Tuesday rejected a proposed compromise that would have extended the prenatal aid only to those women who were already pregnant.

His decision led Lincoln Sen. Kathy Campbell, the sponsor of Legislative Bill 1110, to pull the measure from Wednesday's agenda, killing it. Not enough senators supported the bill to overcome an expected veto from the governor, she said.

Heineman declined to comment on the reported abortion.

NEWS FROM The Associated Press:
Some opponents said it came down to the proposal's nearly $7 million estimated price tag.

"More so than the illegal immigrant issue, it was the fiscal impact," said Sen. Greg Adams of York, who originally supported Campbell's bill but was undecided when the bill was pulled.

With the funding now gone, there are signs that the emotional and financial strains on women and families could lead to more abortions, said Dr. Kristine McVea, a pediatrician and medical director of OneWorld Community Health centers, which caters to low-income families at 26 facilities statewide, including many Hispanics.

"This population is very family oriented and really loves children, so I can count on one hand the women I've come in contact with over the last five years that have chosen to have an abortion," McVea said in an interview. "Since all this came about, two women have said they're going to get abortions. We haven't been able to talk them out of it."
SO THE NEXT TIME you see a Republican law-and-order fiscal hawk who goes on and on and on about how "pro-life" he is, ask yourself a couple of questions.

Like, "Is this guy pro-life, or just anti-abortion . . . but only when it doesn't get in the way of not spending taxpayer dollars or accidentally helping an illegal alien or three?" And like, "Am I REALLY casting a vote to make society more 'pro-life,' or am I just voting for some phony who just might do more for the Nebraska abortion industry than a roomful of Leroy Carharts?"

Dear pro-life movement: You've just been "pwned."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pro-death sins of omission

There's a difference between anti-abortion and pro-life. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman is the former, not the latter.

And as such, he does not deserve the support of any Nebraskan who calls himself -- or herself -- the latter. In a story today, the Omaha World-Herald succinctly outlines the difference between anti-abortion and pro-life:
Gov. Dave Heineman has rejected a proposed compromise to the controversial resumption of government-paid prenatal care for low income women, including hundreds here illegally.

That was the word Tuesday afternoon from State Sen. Kathy Campbell, who had attempted to seek a middle ground to the political storm that had pitted pro-life and medical organizations against anti-immigration groups and Gov. Heineman.

"I'm disheartened," said Campbell, of Lincoln.

The future of her proposal, Legislative Bill 1110, is unclear.

As originally drafted, it would have restored government-funded prenatal care in response to a federal directive that, as of March 1, ended such services for about 1,500 pregnant women, including about 800 illegal immigrants.

On Monday, Campbell had floated a compromise that would allow women that are currently pregnant, or those who signed up for services by April 17, to continue to receive prenatal services until their deliveries.

It was viewed as a fairer end to the services.
NO ONE even in the neighborhood of "mainstream" condones illegal immigration -- except, of course, for unethical, criminal "businessmen" who exploit undocumented workers for financial gain.

That said, however, because one stands in favor of the law, it does not follow that one must stand against basic human decency. Against basic human dignity. Against the humanity of people without proper papers and named, for example, Martinez, as opposed to Svendsen.

Because illegal immigration is bad, it does not make it good for a state -- or its political leadership -- to treat illegal immigrants as less than human, less than deserving of basic medical care. In fact, it's abominable.

The Declaration of Independence -- a favorite of the "patriots" to whom Heineman is trying to suck up -- wasn't referring to just Americans, though the unborn children of undocumented women here most certainly will be United States citizens upon birth.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
CALL ME A commie, but it seems to me that the unalienable right to life is considerably more expansive than the right not to be aborted. It seems to me there is precious little difference between eradicating a helpless human being in the womb and letting that life be lost or compromised due to willful neglect -- all in a land of unimaginable wealth.

When you consider that all the data show
it costs the state far, far less money to provide poor women --
legal and illegal -- prenatal care than to deal with the medical consequences lack of care often leads to, that willful neglect becomes abjectly sinister.

And now the battered pro-life movement
reels amid the realization that wasting its time and treasure on electing anti-abortion politicians has gotten it no closer to building a pro-life culture. The siren song of sinister pols like Dave Heineman has led good people to the abyss they sought so desperately to avoid.

The right side of the Grand Canyon is no less deadly to leap into than the left.

What's so tragic is that pro-lifers who put an anti-abortion death dealer like Heineman into office never figured that out until they were halfway to becoming a grease spot on the dust.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Calling Gov. Pro-Life's bluff

Good on an intrepid bunch of Nebraska senators, who plan to call the "pro-life" bluff of Nebraska's baby-killer¹ governor.

They plan to give new life to a measure restoring prenantal care to poor women -- care scuttled by the arcana of federal Medicaid regulations and the restoration of which was torpedoed by Gov. Dave Heineman.

And here's what's interesting: They're going to attach the measure to the pro-life "priority bill" this legislative session -- meaning if Heineman is well and truly intent on denying medical care to poor women in the name of punishing illegal immigrants, he'll have to ruin his political career to do it.

I DON'T KNOW what was more gratifying, reading this in the Omaha World-Herald or picturing, in my minds eye, Heineman slowly twisting in the political winds:
If successful, the focus of the debate could shift from one hot-button issue to another from illegal immigration to abortion.

State Sens. Brad Ashford, Heath Mello and Jeremy Nordquist, all of Omaha, talked about their strategy to revive prenatal funding after meeting Monday with officials at OneWorld Community Health Center in south Omaha.

The lawmakers requested the gathering to learn more directly how low-income women are dealing with the state's decision to end Medicaid funding for prenatal services for poor women, many of them undocumented.

Dr. Kristine McVea, chief medical officer of OneWorld clinics, reiterated to the senators that six expectant women have told her staff in the past few weeks that they would seek to abort their babies rather than enter the clinic's prenatal program. That compares to about four abortions McVea said she knew of in the past decade.

A doctor in Schuyler, Neb., also said last week that one patient had turned to abortion and that another was considering one.

“That is why this has now taken on a new light,” Mello said. “The unfortunate proof has been brought to life.”
IN THE WAKE of this unmitigated and mean-spirited fiasco, the termination of Dave Heineman's political career is one abortion I could wholeheartedly support.

¹ If a GOP representative can call a pro-life Democratic congressman, Bart Stupak, "baby killer" over his health-care vote, what else can you say about a Republican governor whose sabotage of prenatal care for the poor prompts some to opt for abortions? Which, by the way, are much cheaper than decent prenatal care in this state.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Uneasy lies the head of the Doughmagogue

When you hit bottom in politics, you have only yourself to compete with for King of the Muck.

In which case, put a crown on the Pillsbury Doughmagogue -- Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman. And if you're an all-'Mercun mouth-breather, the king wants to hear from you at 1-800-LYIN SOB. He's ready to talk "illegals" and "anchor babies" if you are; the fewer actual facts, the better.

And know that your "pro-life" monarch -- the one who vetoes funding for prenatal care for poor fetuses -- has what it takes to once again make the Cornhusker State (both in taxes and in complexion) "the white spot" of America.
Sorry . . . 'Mercuh.
As promised, Gov. Dave Heineman on Friday vetoed a controversial bill that would restore prenatal services for illegal immigrants.

But the pro-life governor's veto message included a new and potentially explosive new charge: that some of the prenatal funds could find their way to a leading pro-choice organization, Planned Parenthood.

“I oppose providing taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants,” Heineman said in a press release. “I oppose providing taxpayer funding to vendors that perform or promote abortions.”

A Planned Parenthood of the Heartland official said Friday that the organization doesn't provide prenatal services at its Nebraska clinics, which are in Omaha and Lincoln.

Supporters of the bill, including some anti-abortion officials, said the charge was a last-minute attempt to derail an attempted override of the governor's veto. The Legislature's override vote on Legislative Bill 599 is scheduled for Wednesday.

“This is nothing more than an eleventh-hour attempt to scuttle LB 599,” said Julie Schmit-Albin, the executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, the leading anti-abortion organization in the state.

State Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, the chief sponsor of the bill, said she was “disturbed” that the comment about Planned Parenthood wasn't raised until after the measure had progressed through three rounds of debate in the Legislature.

But Campbell said she did not think it would erode support for LB 599, to which 31 lawmakers gave final-round approval — one vote more than necessary to override the governor's veto.
OF COURSE, there is that veto-proof majority thing in the Legislature. Sigh.

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."