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Wilson and Prop. 187

November 16, 1994

In his first directive regarding the implementation of Prop. 187, Gov. Pete Wilson moved swiftly to abort all prenatal care to illegal immigrants (Nov. 10). The spurious and fallacious logic of this move is unmistakable on more than one count.

First, consider eligibility. When a child is born in the United States, the child is an American citizen. As such, Prop. 187 does not limit the child's eligibility for medical services. For all those "pro-life" proponents who believe life begins at conception, the fetus would be a U.S. citizen and therefore eligible for health care. This means prenatal services, since that is the only way the young American citizen can receive health care at this time.

Second, consider cost. The cost of one day of neonatal intensive care, necessitated by inadequate care and education during pregnancy, would more than cover the cost of prenatal care for the entire term of the pregnancy. Even for those children fortunate enough to not wind up starting their lives (as U.S. citizens) as low-birth-weight, possibly drug-addicted or malnourished infants, attached to machines, there is a higher cost for delivery (an emergency service) when no prenatal care has been given. The taxpayers will be paying for this more expensive care, because emergency care cannot be denied to any person. The idea that there will be any savings from denying prenatal care could not be further from the truth. This has been shown time and again all over the nation where prenatal programs have been put in place to reduce the cost of more complicated pregnancies--complications which can be mitigated or avoided by the education and health care offered through prenatal care.


Los Angeles

* All of us in the Latino community have to be grateful to Gov. Wilson and the group that wrote Prop. 187.

Before this attack on the community, we were Mexicans, Cubans, Salvadorans and others. Today we are one.

This issue allowed us to unite as never before. Extreme right-wing Latinos, marching with liberal leftist Latinos.

As a Cuban refugee who fled communism, a conservative Republican, I would have never thought that I would stand there, cheering on Dolores Huerta of the UFW. But I did. And her rage was mine.

We now have two years before the next election. We will work day and night to register our voters. We will turn our permanent residents into citizens. Our students will walk into the voting booth, rather than walk out of schools.

Then next election we will vote, and most importantly, we will remember.

It may be better, as the Japanese found out after Pearl Harbor, not to waken sleeping giants.


North Hollywood

* "They keep coming" all right. "They" being despicable ballot initiatives such as Prop. 187, that prey on voter fears and frustrations while providing a political fountain of youth for failed leaders.

Case in point--just one year ago, Wilson was political deadwood and now he's being called presidential timber.

What other odious ideas can we expect to crawl out of the woodwork next?


Los Angeles

* I love how your article on the oil and trucking industries pressuring Wilson and the air board is on the last page of the front section (Nov. 10). Why is that? Don't want anyone to see it? What a joke.

California needs to take the lead in this area, not back down. Why didn't you list how much money oil company executives kicked in for Wilson? How much did they give Kathleen Brown?


La Quinta

* William Bradley blasts Kathleen Brown for missing an opportunity in her race against Wilson (Commentary, Nov. 10). Bradley rightly claims that the electorate hungers "to be launched out of the doldrums." The reason why Brown rejected the visionary campaign advocated by Bradley in lieu of the plodding path she chose was that instinctively she probably realized that she and her party could not effectively articulate the vision that Californians now crave.

This past election campaign too often focused upon petty matters and was always negative, but underlying it was a popular insistence that old habits of collective and individual irresponsibility stop. The vision that the new majority wants is that of a responsible community made up of responsible individuals. In our ugly time, "Happy Days Are Here Again" pap is not wanted. What we want is a new birth of responsibility. Individual and collective happiness can only be built upon a firm foundation of responsible behavior. Balance all budgets, individual and collective. And if the Republicans fail to see this vision, then in 1996 it will be time for a new party to carry this message.



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