One of the big fights leading up to the vote on the Democratic health bill (ObamaCare) was over abortion funding. The basic dilemma is whether tax-subsidized health care — and taxes already fund most U.S. health costs — will cover abortions.
What both sides seem to forget is that, when politicians control health care, it turns out that politicians control health care. So whether politicians will permit tax funds to subsidize abortions depends entirely on which politicians get into power.
Anti-abortion Christians who think that an executive order or even an explicit legislative declaration can permanently prevent the tax subsidization of abortions are simply delusional. Various Catholic groups endorse politically run medicine but insist that it not subsidize abortions. But when you render unto Caesar the control of medicine, Caesar will dip into tax funds to pay for whatever medical procedures he damn well pleases. That U.S. medicine is controlled by thousands of pigmy Caesars who vote, bicker, and draft reams of regulations first does not alter that basic fact.
Leftists who wish to protect a woman’s right to choose to get an abortion, but who deny to all women and men the right to associate freely to obtain medicine and insurance, should contemplate a possible future in which the religious right seizes control of the political machinery built by the left. Prohibitions on the tax funding of abortions will be the least of our worries.
I have some questions for the religious right. Do you really care, at all, about liberty in medicine? Does forcing somebody to finance a kidney transplant register a blip on your moral radar? Or are you perfectly fine with the forcible redistribution of wealth to fund health care, so long as it doesn’t include abortions? If the left offered to completely ban abortions, in exchange for the complete political control of medicine, is that a bargain you’d happily accept?
I have only a couple of questions for the left. What sort of world do you think we’ll be living in if the religious right takes over the Democratic health law? How is politically run health care remotely consistent with the exhortation to “keep your laws off of my body?”
I don’t really expect either the religious right or the left to attempt to answer these questions. Even the attempt to answer them would indicate some residual concern with liberty and individual rights, which I do not believe that many on either side any longer possess.
Sherrill March 25, 2010 at 11:22 AM
the only comment I have is that the solution is that our government stay out of our healthcare then both sides are in check, no?
JustinAC March 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM
If you ask someone on the right why they oppose tax funded abortions, they are likely to say, “I do not want my money funding something as offensive and immoral as the killing of fetus. I refuse to fund that.” Of course, the easy reply is, “Well, I do not want my money funding something as immoral and offensive as the killing of civilians in countries that never attacked us. Nor do I want my money going towards cages that lock nonviolent criminals up.” If folks could opt out of funding acts which they considered immoral, then our military industrial complex would crumble (along with many, many other atrocities). I just find it funny that the right is offended by abortion, yet they embrace the killing of innocents abroad.
Trevor March 26, 2010 at 4:14 PM
Facebooked. Your point about the religious right taking over the political machinery put in place by the left is truly chilling. I hadn’t even considered that consequence.
TJWelch March 30, 2010 at 6:38 PM
I remember thinking a similar thought during the debates over the Patriot Act and its extensions: would the right really want to be living in a world where the left took over the political machinery the right put in place?