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Hats Off to Arkansas for Recognizing Babies as Citizens

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On May 6, 2004, Fox News reported that the state of Arkansas had introduced guidelines that have far-reaching implications. According to these new guidelines, unborn children of illegal immigrants will be granted rights as American citizens, will be viewed as such by the federal government, and will be eligible for Medicaid. By instituting these new procedures, Arkansas will be joining Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Washington in using federal funds to help with the cost of these “unborn citizens.”

The Arkansas Department of Human Services stated that “it is not trying to make a political point on where life begins, but just trying to offer better health care” (“Arkansas Debate...,” 2004). A political and moral statement, however, cannot be avoided in this instance. In essence, the state of Arkansas is saying that unborn babies are citizens of this country, and therefore deserve the same right and benefits that any other citizen of this country deserves.

Setting aside the plethora of biblical reasons not to allow abortions (see Miller, 2003), let’s explore another reason why it also should be illegal. When our forefathers penned the Declaration of Independence, by which they broke away from Britain, they penned these well-known words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Arkansas and other states recognize, as they morally should, that a child is indeed a citizen, they admit that this citizen has rights. Those rights include, among other things, life. How can we as a nation recognize a child as a citizen (in order for him or her to receive federal funds), but then in other circles refuse to grant to that citizen the fundamental right to life recognized by our forefathers who penned the sacrosanct Declaration of Independence?

It is time that we, as a nation, stopped playing word games with the words “baby,” “fetus,” “embryo,” etc., and started recognizing the fact that human life begins at conception (see Thompson, 2003). Our hats are off to the state of Arkansas for recognizing the fact that an unborn child is a citizen. It is high time this fact was recognized at every government level across the board!


“Arkansas Debate Focuses on Pregnant Illegals” (2004), [On-line], URL:,2933,119144,00.html.

Miller, Dave (2003), “Abortion and the Bible,” [On-line], URL:

Thompson, Bert (2003), “Should a Fetus Have Rights,” [On-line], URL:

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