Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Infant Mortality: A National Scandal

Okay, good. The debates are over. Obama won all three, no question. He won with poise, grace, calm, compassion, and an easily accessible resource of knowledge and understanding. He has done an incredible job thus far, with a finely calibrated campaign and a personal commitment that have never wavered. Now it's our turn. He won the debates. We need to see to it that he wins the election...

Speaking of compassion, I wonder if Governor Sarah Palin, that ardent defender of the rights of the unborn, and self-annointed supermom, took note of this report in yesterday's Washington Post about the infant mortality rate in the United States. This country, which she touts constantly as "the greatest in the world," is clearly not the greatest when it comes to giving birth to its babies. This most powerful and wealthiest country in the history of the world today ranks 29th among all nations in its record on infant mortality. 29th! In 2000, we ranked 27th. In 1960, 12th.

You'd think the governor would be out there shouting from the rooftops about this scandalous state of affairs. Well, no. So far as I know, not a peep. I suppose you could argue--albeit somewhat cynically--that abortion is a conscious choice, and therefore sinful, according to a particular religious belief; and that infant mortality, on the other hand, is no more than an unfortunate accident of nature. I myself would argue, though, that given the advanced state of our medical knowledge and the technology at our disposal, infant mortality is also a choice we make, as a society. In failing to provide our citizens with the health care they deserve--whether pre- or post-natal, or at the moment of birth--we are in fact choosing, I suspect in the large majority of cases, to allow those babies to die.

What moral universe do we live in, that we permit ourselves to make these scurrilous distinctions? How easy for the Governor to pick up on this report and make it an issue in her campaign! How great a service to her country and its people! I'm not holding my breath, however, for to draw attention to the problem would be to admit that, in this area at least, we are far from great; and that, to address it, we would need to make some serious improvements in our health care system and--I'm guessing here that, as with most other problems of this nature, it's the poor who bear the brunt of it--in making care available to the poor as well as to the wealthy.

So how about it, Governor? You'd pick up a pinch of much needed respect from voters if you were to champion such a cause, instead of simply bloviating about our supposed greatness. Drop the hot air. Talk about something that shows you really care.


carly said...

No, not a peep from Palin, but I did see a wink.

roger said...

it's probably not "an unfortunate accident of nature" that other countries do it better.

mandt said...

Thank you for bringing this up.