Is Trump causing Latinas to give birth prematurely?

The Washington Post wants us to believe he is. It cites several studies that apparently show an increase in premature births from Latinas since President Trump took office.

Deep in the article we read an important disclaimer:

Scott Sullivan, a maternal-fetal medicine professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, who was not involved in the study, cautioned against blaming Trump’s election. “The study doesn’t show that. It’s shows a time frame, but a lot of things happen in a time frame in a country as large as ours,” Sullivan said, noting there could be a number of alternative causes, including changes to insurance coverage that could have hindered access to adequate prenatal care.

Few of the other health experts quoted by the Post exhibit such caution.

The Post doesn’t tell us whether the studies differentiate between women who are here legally and women who are not. (Perhaps those conducting these studies consider this matter irrelevant or too politically incorrect to bring up). One of the studies, conducted in New York, found an increase in pre-term births among Latina mothers born outside the United States. Many in that group are probably here illegally.

It’s likely that Trump’s immigration policies make some illegal immigrants experience stress, and possible that this stress is sufficient to cause some pregnant women to give birth prematurely. Trump’s policies might also cause a rise in the blood pressure of some illegals, as some studies apparently find.

If so, that’s no argument against vigorously enforcing our immigration laws or against promising to do so. We wouldn’t decline to enforce laws against burglary even if it were demonstrated that the laws are detrimental to the health of burglars and their spouses.

Those who want to ensure that our immigration laws and their enforcement don’t cause premature births should work to change these laws. Maybe we’d have fewer premature births per capita in an open borders America.

But the purpose of our current immigration laws isn’t to make illegal immigrants feel comfortable or welcome. The purpose is to prevent and deter them from coming here.

Behind the studies discussed by the Post, and the Post’s article itself, I think I detect an authoritarian bent, or at least its potential. Except on college campuses and in some precincts of corporate America, the left can’t ban aggressive anti-illegal immigration speech. Doing so would be recognized as un-American.

But suppose one could show (or pretend to show) that such speech harms health. Now the old adage “your freedom ends where my nose begins” might be invoked.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, within a decade or two, studies like the ones the Post discusses are being used to curb free political discourse in America.

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