Killing Baby AIDS Programs – Dems Did It For The Children

If you ever wanted a demonstration of the misplaced priorities of the left, simply look to yesterday’s passage in the House of the continuing resolution to fund appropriations. They stripped out money designated to fund the “Baby AIDS” program — a highly successful program to prevent AIDS in babies.

Some may welcome this cut because, well, at least the Democrats were cutting something and private charities could take over this program. Except the Dems did not and private charities cannot. The program was killed, but the money was put into a general pool to fund miscellaneous events like condom parties. Civil libertarians, AIDS activists, gay rights activists, and feminists have for years tried to kill the Baby AIDS program, and they have finally, it seems, succeeded.

In 2005, Rich Lowry wrote about the program and why it was needed.

More mothers and babies now get care. An HIV-positive mother has roughly a 25-percent chance of delivering a baby infected with HIV. If she takes the right drugs during pregnancy she can drastically diminish those odds. An HIV-positive mother can also pass the infection to her uninfected baby during breast-feeding. If she knows she’s infected, she can avoid that. Finally, if a baby is infected with HIV, he can be treated early with drugs that might wipe out the infection.

After passage of the law in New York at the state level, the number of babies born with AIDS fell dramatically, from 321 in New York City in 1990 to 5 in 2003.

The reason the government must continue this program and why AIDS activists, feminists, and civil libertarians oppose it is because the government requires pregnant women to have an AIDS test. Before the law, most women would not get tested and passed the infection on to their babies when it could have readily been prevented. From Rich again:

Gay groups, the HIV/AIDS lobby, and the American Civil Liberties Union all opposed [the law] on privacy grounds. As if a newborn has a “right” to have his infection kept from his mother so he can potentially die or get sick. Where does it say anything about that in the Bill of Rights? Feminist groups from NOW to NARAL attacked [Nettie Mayersohn, the law’s sponsor in New York] for supposedly proposing to violate the reproductive rights of women.

So, it looks like today the Democrats might have been successful. Ironically more children will now die of AIDS, but don’t worry because the Democrats did it for the children.

And guess who will foot the bill now for the treatment of the children who are born and linger with the disease when it could have readily and cost effectively been prevented? That’s right. We all will.

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Erick Erickson

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