Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Loving Children in Tennessee

Several members of Tennessee’s State Legislature have voiced their disappointment at our state’s failure to pass legislation further limiting the right of Tennessee’s women to control their bodies’ reproductive function through abortion.

These lawmakers and their constituents claim that their concern is for the lives of unborn children. It would therefore seem logical to expect that those in the state of Tennessee who wish to protect the unborn would be equally concerned about children already living in Tennessee.

But, judging from the votes of Tennessee’s delegation to the US, Congress on 10 votes in the House and the Senate, deemed important to the health, safety, education and general welfare of children by the Children’s Defense Fund this is not the case. The CDF ranks the Tennessee delegation 29th out of the 50 states in their record of votes on pro-child legislation in both Houses of Congress. Overall our delegation voted 62% in favor of bills that would improves the lives of children in the U.S. Our Republican senators both scored 60%. Tennessee’s U.S. Representative brought our state’s score up but no thanks to the four Republicans who voted in favor of pro-child legislation only between 20-30% of the time. In marked contrast, our states four Democratic Representatives voted for children between 80-100% percent of the time.

This extreme difference in voting records for pro-child legislation according to party affiliation holds up throughout the U.S. All of the 25 best pro- child voting records in the U.S. Senate are held by Democrats, each one with 100% pro-child voting records.
The 13 worst are Republicans, voting for children only 10-30% of the time. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee for President voted in favor of children only 10% of the time. Of the 173 best in the House each and every one was a Democrat with a 100% pro-child voting record. Of the worst in the House, voting for children at a rate of 0 to 30%, each and every one was a Republican.

This is a consummate irony to me, revealing a great contradiction in the values of the ardent voters who chose to support George Bush and so many Republican lawmakers during the last two presidential elections. If they value the lives of unborn children why have they not valued children already living in the U.S. Why have they supported a war in which the deaths of children are considered an acceptable form of “collateral damage.”

Are pro-life voters in Tennessee and other states myopic or afflicted with tunnel vision? Or are they hypocrites? If they care about unborn children why do they not care about those who are already born here and in Iraq and in Iran.

I would really like to know.
Annie Middleton

2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard

A Partial Breakdown:

10 pro child bills in Senate

Presidential candidate scores:
Clinton 70%
Obama 60%
McCain 10%

Overall Senate Scores
25 Best Records 100% All Democrats
13 Worst 10-30% All Republicans

10 pro child bills in House In the House of Representative
173 Best Records 100% All Democrats
132 Worst 0-30% All Republicans

Tennessee’s Senators
Alexander 60% Republican Corker 60% Republican

Tennessee’s Representatives
Blackburn 20% Republican
Davis, D.K. 20% Republican
Duncan 20% Republican
Wamp 30% Republican
Cohen 100% Democrat
Cooper 80% Democrat
Davis, L. 90% Democrat
Gordon 100% Democrat
Tanner 100% Democrat

Tennessee Delegation Average 62%
Tennessee Rank 29th of 50 states