The issue of whether or not abortions should be government funded is not only a 'moral' issue but also an economic one, affecting Healthcare budgets.An issue that has caught fire since the first Bush administration in the United States, is that of public funding for abortion.
- Advocates believe public funding of abortion is necessary to avoid discrimination of low-income women.
- Opponents object to their tax dollars being used to pay for the killing of unborn children.
- Millions of tax dollars are being spent on abortions that are desperately needed in other areas of Healthcare.
- It is the woman's choice to have an abortion - but everyone else must pay for it.
- With government-funded abortions, advocates are imposing their morality on others.
The 1976 Hyde Act excludes abortion from the comprehensive health care services provided to low-income people by the federal government through Medic-aid. Congress has made some exceptions to the funding ban, which have varied over the years.
The federal Medic-aid program mandates abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, as well as when a pregnant woman's life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.
Most states have followed the federal government's lead in restricting public funding for abortion. Currently only eighteen states fund abortions for low-income women on the same or similar terms as other pregnancy-related and general health services.
Three of these states provide funding voluntarily. In fifteen, courts interpreting their state constitutions have declared broad and independent protection for reproductive choice and have ordered nondiscriminatory public funding of abortion.
Thirty of the remaining states pay for abortions for low-income women in cases of life-endangering circumstances, rape, or incest, as mandated by federal Medic-aid law.
A handful of these states pay as well in cases of fetal impairment or when the pregnancy threatens "severe" health problems but none provides reimbursement for all medically necessary abortions for low-income women. Finally, two states fail even to comply with the Hyde Amendment, instead providing coverage only for lifesaving abortions. (Information from the ACLU website)
Bans on publically funded abortions are discriminatory and harm women's health. (ACLU)
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), further states that the Hyde Amendment and other bans should be repealed because they are discriminatory and harm women's health. "If a woman chooses to carry to term, Medic-aid (and other federal insurance programs) offer her assistance for the necessary medical care. But if the same woman needs to end her pregnancy, Medic-aid (and other federal insurance programs) will not provide coverage for her abortion, even if continuing the pregnancy will harm her health."
In the 2004 presidential election campaign, George W. Bush stated outright: "We're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion. This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America."
Except in those very rare cases when to continue with the pregnancy would result in her death, when a woman chooses to have an abortion, she is making a decision for personal reasons rather than because it is a medical necessity.
Those opposed to abortion object to the use of taxpayer dollars being used for a purpose they regard as evil and immoral.
Those opposed to abortion object to the use of taxpayer dollars being used for a purpose they regard as evil and immoral. Advocates of abortion regard this as simplistic because tax dollars are often spent on things that someone, somewhere objects to.
The idea, however, of millions of dollars annually being spent on abortions that are requested for social or economic reasons, especially when there are deficits in Health spending, would seem a good reason to withdraw that funding.
An Italian senator proposed a law in August 2004 that would limit tax-payer funded abortions to one per woman. After her first abortion, a financially comfortable woman would have to pay part and then all of further abortions. The senator is now being vilified by political opponents as an enemy of women's rights. Italy has an aging population and the lowest fertility rate in Europe. In 2003 the government offered a 1,000 euro "baby bonus" for every second child born by the end of the year.
The right to choose
The demand made by abortion activists that a woman has the right to decide what to do with her own body, and that abortion should be a matter between a woman and her doctor, have been very effective in the abortion 'culture war'.
Opponents claim that their beliefs are being denied respect although they are supposed to respect a woman's right to abort.What opponents object to is the apparent contradiction involved. A woman has the right to decide on abortion, without interference from anyone else including the father, yet everyone else has to pay for the abortion.
Abortion opponents claim that abortion advocates demand that everyone respect the woman's decision, but they themselves refuse to respect the right of opponents to not have to pay for something they regard as abhorrent.
Tax payer funded abortions not only take health care dollars that could be used elsewhere, they also deny abortion opponents the 'right to choose.'
It would seem inconsistent for abortion advocates to demand that no-one be allowed to impose their morality on others - when it comes to choosing to have an abortion - yet demand the right to impose their own morality on those who object, by demanding that abortions be government funded.