Yesterday’s Health Care Vote
As stated in my last health care related blog, I can hardly be called a political junkie. I only loosely follow the politics of abortion and continue to maintain that education (not legislation) is the best investment we can make towards the elimination of abortion. That's not to say I don't want to see the law change; I just think we need to change the cultural understanding of abortion first. Having said all that, yesterday's health care vote does bear some comments. Is this a victory (as Bart Stupak maintains)? Is this a defeat (as virtually all the pro-life groups maintain)? Or is it something in between (as most of the news outlets seem to maintain)? The strongest indication I've seen so far that this is not a victory for the pro-life movement comes from today's headline on the Planned Parenthood website: "VICTORY!" Here is the full statement from PPFA President, Cecile Richards:
We regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. What the president’s Executive Order did not do is include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon. So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, we are grateful that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban.
Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, expresses her frustration with Congressman Stupak's compromise well in pointing out the huge, potential problems that are created by trusting a pro-abortion president to cap pro-abortion spending:
We are dismayed that Congressman Stupak has made a backroom deal with pro-abortion forces. Stupak and his colleagues have appointed President Obama to do their job for them, making the President the sole guardian of pro-life integrity in the health care plan. The chickens have elected the fox to guard the henhouse. It is absurd to trust that Obama, the most pro-abortion president in our history, will stop taxes from paying for abortions. We can only imagine the foul pressures brought upon Congressman Stupak by Obama’s Administration and Pelosi’s Majority. If this bill is not stopped, the consequences of Stupak’s deal with pro-abortion forces will lead to the deaths of countless more defenseless, unborn Americans. With this bill, the IRS will be Planned Parenthood’s cashier as Americans are forced to fund this horrific human rights abuse.
In reality, the ultimate fallout of this vote (at least as it relates to abortion) is likely to remain unknown for quite some time. Because abortion frequency is generally reported a few years after the data is collected, it may take years to determine what the overall effect on the frequency of abortion will actually be. For Abort73's part, nothing has changed. We are not a political-activist group. We have never pinned our hopes of eliciting social change on political engagement. If public funds do become more broadly available for the funding of elective abortions, it simply makes our educational endeavors that much more important. Relatively speaking, abortion has never been a particularly expensive endeavor. For most women, their willingness to abort does not hinge on whether or not the government will pay for it. Seventy-five percent of aborting women indicate that they are having an abortion because they can't afford a child. When placing abortion and parenthood side by side, abortion is already the cheaper option, in a landslide! Therefore, we can't expect to eliminate abortion by keeping it marginally more expensive than it would be if the government subsidized it. We eliminate abortion by demonstrating that is an act of violence that kills an innocent human being.
Whether the mother has to pay out the $400 herself or Uncle Sam picks up the tab, there is a much bigger, ideological issue at play. If we focus primarily on the finances of abortion (instead of the mechanics of abortion), we make a grave strategical error. Obviously, I don't want the government paying for abortions, but for most women considering abortion, government subsidization is a fairly minor point of consideration. If a woman is convinced that she can't afford to raise a child, and if she's convinced that abortion is a morally-neutral way to not have a child, she's going to find a way to have an abortion – whether the government pays for it or not. We must move the debate away from the financial cost of abortion and place it squarely on the moral, human cost of abortion. By God's grace, this can and will happen, no matter what ends up being decided in the halls of Congress. Join us towards that end!
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.