Monday, February 6, 2012

Mother/Child Individuality

When reading through the biosocial policy implication section, I noticed one common problem that the authors address which is present in each of the various programs/legislations concerning the well-being of pregnant women. This is the contention about when a fetus is considered a child, or considered a separate being from the mother. However, when a decision is reached, there is always a group that opposes it. The Bush Administration passed that the definition of a child began at conception (125), but received negative statements from those who supported the reproductive rights of women for giving rights to a fetus in order push an anti pro-choice agenda. Most attempts to address this issue eventually fall to the abortion debate, which as most of us know, is a political stalemate.

Disregarding the abortion issue (if that is ever possible), it is clear that programs such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Child Tax Credit program are all dependent on when the mother and offspring are considered two people. As the authors suggest, the Medicaid program could be a preventative factor for low-weight babies if the categorically-needy category was extended to pregnant women at risk (127). However, this would mean that the child was considered a member of the family to add to the household count. The authors also state that the TANF program would be much more helpful to pregnant women at risk for low-weight babies if single pregnant females were included in the program before the birth of the child. This way, the program would provide assistance in the gestation period for healthy development, as opposed to trying to cope with already low-weight babies and their future health consequences. Again, this brings up the mother-child individuality, as, "the main criterion under TANF requires that one be a part of a family with children in order to receive assistance," (132). Finally, the authors state that the Child Tax Credit program would be of more assistance to mothers if pregnant females could categorize their unborn as a child - raising their expendable income, hopefully lowering their risk of a low-weight birth (135).

I think that for the purposes of preventing low-weight births, as we all know now are quite the risk factor, women should be able to count themselves as two individuals. While this belief seems to assume an anti-pro-choice stand, I think the these two issues should be separated. I feel that they are opposite, as the preventative programs are clearly set in place for those committed to keeping a child, while abortion is clearly not. That commitment is the personal choice, but for legislative purposes, pregnant women should not be disallowed from aid simply for not being far enough along in gestation.

No comments:

Post a Comment