CNN’s Dana Bash wants you to remember a very important feature of Roe v. Wade: It keeps poor kids from being born.
On Sunday, Bash was interviewing Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson on “State of the Union” about a law he signed in 2019 that would ban abortion if Roe v. Wade was overturned, including only an exception for the life of the mother.
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Arkansas is one of 13 states that have so-called “trigger laws” — legislation that would ban abortion should the decision be returned to the states by the Supreme Court. If the court’s final opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health looks anything like the draft opinion leaked by Politico earlier in the month, that’s set to change — and you can bet the media’s ire will quickly turn from the conservative justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade to the governors of these states.
On Sunday, we got a preview of the kind of treatment they’ll get.
First off, Bash pressed Hutchinson over the lack of exception for rape and incest in Arkansas’ trigger law. Hutchinson said he supported a clause for rape and incest but conceded that it might not get through the legislature. (Of course, abortions due to rape and incest are rare — and it’s unlikely Bash or anyone else who raises this point would support the bill aside from this.)
Next, she said she wanted “to ask broadly about the responsibility of men here” and asked if Hutchinson was “going to change the system in Arkansas to hold men equally responsible for the children they’re bringing into the world” via paternity tests and court proceedings. Hutchinson said they would work to “speed up the system” should it be feasible and would make “sure that there’s the assistance that’s needed.”
So there are those two shopworn arguments, still not that great after all these years. Bash’s third argument: Does Arkansas really need more poor kids?
“Arkansas already struggles to support vulnerable children. Nearly one in four children in Arkansas lives in poverty. More than 4,600 kids are already in your state’s overloaded foster care system,” Bash said.
“Do you really think that your state is prepared to protect and care for even more children if abortion does become illegal there?”
.@DanaBashCNN: “Arkansas already struggles to support vulnerable children. Nearly 1 in 4 children in Arkansas lives in poverty….Do you really think that your state is prepared to protect and care for even more children if abortion does become illegal there?” pic.twitter.com/twY3lbtJHi
— Kevin Tober (@KevinTober94) May 22, 2022
Hutchinson noted they’d “had historic challenges with poverty in Arkansas.”
“But you’re talking about access to health care. Under my leadership, we continued the Medicaid expansion. So, we have improved health care access in our state. We have increased the support for foster parents and foster children,” he continued.
“It’s been a high priority. And so we’re addressing those needs. Obviously, there’s always opportunity to do more. And we have to address this issue with compassion because of the difficult circumstances and the fact that you’re dealing with the most vulnerable of our population.”
While one understands Hutchinson was there to defend the law, not dismantle the ugliest aspects of the left’s worldview, one can’t help but wish Hutchinson had turned around and asked whether being poor makes an individual any more or less of a human life.
In fact, that could be said of all of Bash’s objections to Arkansas’ trigger law: Every single one is divorced from whether or not the unborn child is human life. That’s the whole raison d’être of the law, and the protection of unborn life isn’t diminished if its the product of rape or incest, if it has a deadbeat father or if it’s (heavens forbid) poor.
My guess is that this wouldn’t fly on CNN, even if Bash had asked it: “Mr. Governor, your state has many poor families whose plight will be worse as their babies become toddlers. Shouldn’t poor parents be allowed to kill their toddlers?”
Why, then, should this be allowed to stand? Is poor life worth less than middle- or upper-class life? Fathers should self-evidently take responsibility for their children, and if they refuse to, they should face societal repudiation and state intervention for the purposes of supporting the mother — but does that make a child with a delinquent parent any less of a child?
But that’s the problem with the left’s arguments — and why they try their darnedest to avoid the L-word. If they pretend it’s a foregone conclusion that a fertilized, viable embryo isn’t necessarily a human life until it exits the mother’s womb — or at least until some vague point of “viability” in between fertilization and birth, better later than sooner — they don’t have to confront why abortion is a moral injustice, merely why outlawing the termination of the unborn could be inconvenient for women.
In doing so, however, Bash and others have revealed something about the leftist mindset: To them, an unborn child carried by a poor mother is intrinsically worth less than an unborn child carried by a wealthy mother. They can’t say that out loud, mind you, but the subtext is as clear as day.
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