Jodi Jacobson brings us the news of how Utah—one of the most whole-heartedly anti-choice states in the Union—treats its vulnerable families and needy children: by cutting Medicaid benefits to foster/adoptive families of kids with special needs.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that these cuts have saddled some families who have adopted special-needs foster children with unexpected expenses and difficult choices. The funding changes affect an estimated 40 to 50 children statewide who receive adoption subsidies. At least 12 children have been returned to state custody so far by adoptive and foster families could no longer afford the expense of their care.
“Now the state is going back to adoptive parents and asking them to make up the difference in cost [for special-needs care],” Jennifer Gardner, president of the Utah Foster/Adoptive Families Association, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It is just hard when these were the state’s kids to begin with.”
Also, 48% more school-age children in Utah are homeless since 2008.
From an interview with state Rep. Carl Wimmer:
RA: You say you care about life, so what programs will you put in place to make sure all of those children have a decent life?
CW: I’m not sure the government needs to be doing that. There are plenty of volunteer organizations that help. We need to work hard to get resources where they need to be. We might need to look at rural areas. We definitely need to make sure that counseling is in place for young women who get pregnant.
IOW, it’s very important that young women with unwanted pregnancies are persuaded not to abort, but he’s not too concerned what kind of lives those children will have after they’re born.
It’s gotten to the point where I no longer get all shocked and offended at the anti-choice movement’s disinterest in the welfare of already-born children. I simply don’t take the anti-choice movement on its own terms anymore. When you stop assuming their motivations are what they say they are, then you can find the consistency in their goals. I have recently figured out that pretty-sounding phrases like “culture of life” and “protect the unborn” basically mean: you, person with functioning reproductive organs, do not own yourself. Your life is not yours to control.
It all comes down to an answer to the question: do we control our fertility, or does it control us? This is not a simple binary yes/no question, but more of a spectrum. Where you draw the line in the sand on reproductive liberties, particularly but not only abortion, basically answers the question of where you fall on that spectrum of In Control vs. Under Control. On those terms, there is nothing contradictory about anti-abortion advocates being ambivalent or even hostile to contraception, and there is nothing hypocritical about Family Values leaders who rail against a reliable social safety net and prevent gay couples from adopting children. There is nothing inconsistent about leaders who push adoption as an alternative to abortion and then pull the rug out from under children whose birth mothers really should have learned more about contraception. It’s just not about protecting children from harm and suffering. It’s not about preventing needless deaths of helpless fetuses. It’s not even about discouraging young women from having sex, really: it’s about keeping people vulnerable, insecure, and unable to determine the course of their lives. This isn’t exclusively about women of childbearing age, though we bear the brunt. If Carl Wimmer says Utah women shouldn’t be able to get abortions unless they can travel to California or New York, and then says the government shouldn’t step up for the children they’re unable to raise, he’s not being inconsistent. It’s just that “protecting life,” as he uses the phrase, doesn’t mean very much. He never suggests that it does.