A Challenge for “Pro-Life,” Republican, Tennessee Legislators
Aunt B has a challenge for the folks in my state who are already talking about a constitutional amendment on abortion and who we suspect will be up to all kinds of shenanigans with their new majority:
…now is the time for the Republicans to put their butts on the line for ‘Life.’ Banning abortion doesn’t cost you anything. It’s a feel-good measure that makes it look like you’ve accomplished something, but it doesn’t require you to sacrifice or make any tough decisions.
I challenge you, Republicans: If you’re really pro-life and about protecting the babies, bring down the infant mortality rates in this state.
Save those babies, too.
B is referring the fact that Tennessee’s infant mortality rate is higher than the national average, and there is a huge racial disparity. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, “In 2006, the black infant death rate (16.8 per 1,000 live births) was 2.5 times the rate for white babies (6.6 per 1,000 live births).”
Memphis has the highest infant mortality rate among the nation’s 60 largest cities. Babies here die at twice the rate of the national average.
An infant dies in Shelby County every 43 hours.
In 2002, the last year statistics are available, 202 babies didn’t see their first birthday – enough to fill 10 kindergarten classrooms. By comparison, there were 122 homicide victims in the city and county last year.
“Some weeks it seems like they really stack up,” said Savage, a gravedigger at the Shelby County Cemetery for almost three decades.
Several Memphis ZIP codes have infant death rates higher than scores of Third World countries. North Memphis’ 38108, which includes the tattered communities of Douglass and Hollywood, is deadlier for babies than Vietnam, El Salvador and Iran.