Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is abortion funding 'a matter of equity'?

A recent Star Tribune editorial ("Reject new limits on abortion rights," Feb. 7) argues in favor of the current Minnesota policy of state (taxpayer) funding of abortions. Since abortion is legal, the authors reason, taxpayers should foot the bill for abortions for women who cannot afford them. But it does not follow that if a practice is legal, then it should be subsidized by the government. Owning a gun is legal, but I am not entitled to receive one if I cannot pay for it.

The editorial claims that state abortion funding is "a matter of equity" and that "a woman should not be denied this important reproductive choice simply because of her income." But this argument assumes that abortion is a moral good, an assumption with which most people do not agree. "[I]t is not true that the vices of the wealthy are virtues simply because the poor are denied them," writes philosopher Francis J. Beckwith.

Current Minnesota policy forces every taxpayer, including those who are pro-life, to subsidize the practice of abortion. Both sides of the abortion debate should agree that this is not an appropriate use of public money.