WASHINGTON (January 31, 2002) -- The spokeswoman for the Catholic Bishops' Pro-Life Secretariat hailed the
announcement today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that states will be allowed to provide health care insurance to low-income pregnant women for their unborn children under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
"This is a good decision that will protect the health of mothers and children," said Cathleen Cleaver, Esq. "We're very pleased that the new HHS guidelines recognize that health care for children must start before birth. "SCHIP was designed to provide health care coverage to low-income children. To deny certain children assistance until they are born is a form of discrimination that should not be countenanced."
"Every pregnant woman knows the importance of prenatal care for herself and her baby," Ms. Cleaver said. "Allowing states to provide health coverage to low-income pregnant women and their developing children is the only wise and compassionate approach."
"Unfortunately, some abortion rights groups oppose this important initiative," she continued. "But their opposition is seriously misguided Denying low-income women access to state insured prenatal care in the name of abortion is senseless. This announcement should be welcomed by all who are concerned for women's health."
NOTE: For further information or to arrange an interview contact Cathleen Cleaver at 202-541-3070.