A state senator wants to strip prenatal health care from undocumented mothers, even though the unborn child will become a U.S. citizen. Elimination of the program also would impact thousands of citizens.
Senate Bill 40, authored by Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, would end the state’s Soon-to-Be-Sooners program, which funds ultrasounds, prenatal vitamins and other medical services for low-income pregnant women.
Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care, according to statistics published by the Office on Women’s Health.
The Soon-to-Be-Sooners program served about 9,800 women in fiscal year 2018 and paid out more than $15.7 million in reimbursements, according to data provided by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and first reported by The Frontier.
“Our responsibility is to the taxpayers of this state, not illegal immigrants,” Scott said in a Senate news release.
Scott did not respond to a phone call or text message requesting comment, but has defended his position on social media by claiming the program encourages illegal immigration.
” … it’s a difficult position for a pro-life advocate,” Scott wrote on Facebook, referring to himself. “This attraction for illegals to make their way to Oklahoma is costing millions to tax payers to provide care, food and educate the children of illegals.”
Undocumented residents are not eligible for Medicaid services, but do qualify for the Soon-to-Be-Sooners program because the child is a U.S. citizen.