Republicans say “pro-life” when they really mean “we don’t care about the health of women or children.”
It’s no coincidence that the states eager to keep women from controlling their own reproduction also refuse to care for those women or their children.
Compare the states ready to ban abortion with a map of states that refused to expand Medicaid.
The maps don’t tell the whole story of states’ expansions of Medicaid. As they say, “it’s complicated” in that where the KFF map at the top shows a state has expanded Medicaid, that doesn’t necessarily mean that state did so as soon as it could, or that legislators there are the ones who made it happen.
What actually happened in many states led by Republicans was that legislators there didn’t want to expand a program that helps pregnant women, kids, and the frail elderly. Voters did.
Let’s take those anti-abortion states that “have expanded Medicaid” in alphabetical order.
First, Arkansas. The fine distinction due Arkansas is that it led the way in requiring people on Medicaid to work. Their unique plan also disenrolled people who didn’t meet the work requirement. So if you didn’t work — say, for instance, because you had been ill — you lost coverage of your health care.
In the same vein, Idaho legislators required people on Medicaid to work if they wanted health care. The Governor was particularly intent on making sure recipients busted their butts before they could see a doctor. He’s positively joyous, isn’t he?
How about Kentucky? That state’s legislature didn’t want to expand Medicaid, apparently not giving a damn about the 16% of its population living below the Federal poverty line. That standard = $26,500 for a family of four. Can you imagine supporting a family on twenty-six thousand dollars a year? and, if you get a raise and start making $27,000, having to pay for your health insurance out of pocket?
Because Kentucky’s Medicaid eligibility rules are defined by regulations, not legislation, the Governor there was able to thumb his nose at backwards Republican legislators and expand access to healthcare anyway for his state’s citizens.
Next, Louisiana. Yes, the map shows it “expanded” Medicaid, but as with these other states, not so fast.
Remember: Medicaid expansion came from the Affordable Care Act. (Which probably accounts at least a little bit for the widespread Republican loathing of it, since the ACA was all Obama’s doing.) Expansion became available to states in 2013, but Louisiana dragged its feet and didn’t expand until 2016 under @JohnBelEdwards.
Expansion made a big difference for Louisianans seeking healthcare, which (because Medicaid primarily helps pregnant women, kids, and the elderly) meant prenatal care was easier to get — and get to.
Then there’s Missouri. Nice job, Missouri Republicans.
How about Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain? All that waving wheat must make it hard for the state’s GOP to see straight, because Republicans there fought Medicaid expansion tooth and nail. Voters had to take matters into their own hands, finally, in 2020.
Let’s wrap up with Utah, shall we? As in so many other Republican-led anti-abortion states, Utahans had to do the work of making sure people struggling to get by on $26,500 for a family of four could see a doctor without going broke. Republicans there, like GOP lawmakers throughout America, thought poor people shouldn’t get healthcare. In 2018, a voter-led expansion initiative passed into law. “Not so fast!” said the state GOP.
Let’s sum up with a few obvious conclusions.
First, these Republican legislators clearly do not respect the will of the majority of the states’ citizens. The voter referenda and initiatives passed over GOP objections prove that.
Second, even in the Republican-led states that have “adopted” Medicaid Expansion, which helps pregnant women get healthcare, most of the time it was over the objections of state legislators (Republican) and included work requirements.
All of this is to say that the same people who claim to care about the lives of women and children — who say they’re “pro-life” — don’t really care about their lives or their health. They actively fight programs that would help poor women get healthcare, or cover poor kids.
This is how we know it isn’t about children, or life, or the sanctity of anything, no matter what “Justice” Alito says.
It’s about controlling women, putting us in our place, returning to a time when we are the property of our husbands and have no rights whatsoever.