Health Care, Abortion and Moral Choice

One issue that has become part of the American health reform debate is that of abortion. Oversimplifying things a bit, some folks are very concerned that public money will be used to pay for abortions and they are fighting to prevent this.

It might be believed that the politicians who oppose using public money for abortion are acting on the basis of principle. After all, they claim to be taking this stance based on a moral opposition to abortion. Of course, the cynical might suspect that this stand is not such much a matter of principle as a matter of politics. However, let it be assumed that they are acting on the basis of principle. An important question is, of course, what principle is being used.

The obvious principle is that public money should not be used to fund things that are immoral. Alternatively, the principle could be that public money should not be used for what people disagree with.

The first option seems rather reasonable-after all, since immoral things should not be done, that it makes sense that public money should not be used to make such things possible. Of course, there is still the matter of whether abortion is immoral or not (the same would apply to all moral issues).

The second option also has some appeal. After all, people should have a say in how their money is being spent-this is a basic principle of democratic government. Also, an analogy could be presented by comparing this to a phone bill. If a get a phone bill that includes services I do not want and do not use, then I should not have to pay for those services. Likewise, the same should apply to tax money.

Of course, this principle has to be applied consistently: if people can insist that public money not be spent on abortion, then people can make the same insistence in regards to things that they oppose. For example, people who are morally against war can insist that no public funds be spent on wars. As another example, people who are opposed to using public money to pay for abstinence education could also insist that public money not be used in that manner. Of course, given that people are opposed to a wide variety of things on moral grounds, there would be very little left that public funds could be spent on. This would, of course, be something of a problem.

Of course, there is a way to address the problem of reconciling the right people have to choose and the need for public money to be used on things like defense, art, unemployment benefits, infrastructure and so on. That is to follow the decisions of the majority. Of course, this raises the concern that the majority might use its power to tyrannize the numerical minorities. However, allowing every numerical minority to tyrannize the majority based on their moral disagreement would probably be even worse.

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  1. As with most moral situations, you can talk yourself into inaction with the very, very old “It’s all a matter of degree” angle. We mustn’t slap a naughty child’s hand; the difference between that and beating the child bloody with a bat is only “one of degree.” The thing is, while we may disagree on where legitimately punishing a child ends and abuse begins, none of us would agree with beating the child bloody with a bat. There are a lot of things I disagree with our government spending my taxes on, from subsidizing obscene art to propping up tin pot dictators, but this is a complex world and I understand I have to be willing to bend sometimes. But I can’t bend as far as tax money for abortion. Abortion is on the extreme, ‘beating the kid bloody with the bat’ end of the argument; paying taxes for abortions makes me, and my country, participants in murder. Having a right to get an abortion is not the same thing as being entitled to one; that I don’t feel it is right to bomb abortion clinics doesn’t mean I feel it is moral to have abortions. As far as a numerical minority tyrannizing the majority on this matter is concerned, I agree with the writer’s logic but not his conclusion. The majority of Americans do NOT want their taxes paying for abortion on demand, and we should not be tyrannized by the minority who do.

  2. Healthcare is more important for every individual of the country. in case of abortion their must be require great health care. so be conscious in these situations.

  3. @Fousfront..wrong!!!American woman support the rights of women to decide with her doctor the necessity of having a legal aborotion. The abortion is an issue from the extreme right christians, they have the right to practice their religion but they don’t have the right to remove woman inalienable rights. If religious groups differ they have a choice to not have an abortion but no rights to remove that right based on ‘their’ religion to remove this right from all woman to do whats best for her, her fetus and her family. Abortion is legal and woman have the right to decide in the interest of themselves, their families and community what to do with their uterus. You are referring to child abuse but what you are supporting is the abuse of woman’s rights regarding her body and the interest of an unborn fetus. This is not a Government issue, unless you want to remove the cost of viagra from medicare drug costs. You will have people in the street protesting that it’s not the appropriate for Government to decide what is correct for any gender/individual to be forced to do that’s, immoral.

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