Crucial distinction in abortion issue funding

Shortly after taking office, President George W. Bush issued an executive order barring U.S. government aid to international family-planning groups that perform abortions or provide abortion counselling. Most pro-choice groups were outraged at the move.

But Cathy Young, vice president of the pro-choice Women's Freedom Network, says that two issues – not one – are involved here: the right of women to choose an abortion and the demand that the federal government fund their choice.

Here are some of the arguments she presents:

  • Just as millions of anti-abortion advocates shouldn't be permitted to force their moral and religious values on pro-choice adherents, so must the latter respect the former's desire to assure that their tax dollars are not used for a procedure they find abhorrent.

  • If the pro-choice movement wants to continue programmes abroad that provide abortions and abortion counselling, it can raise funds from charities and other non-governmental sources to carry on that work.

  • Abortion-rights advocates – like advocates of government funding of the arts – should realise that as long as government picks up the tab, the programmes they support will be vulnerable to political pressures and to the winds of political change.

    Young also notes that more than two-thirds of Americans agree that taxpayer funds should not support abortions.

    Source: Cathy Young (Women's Freedom Network), Pro-Choice but Opposed to Government Funding, Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2001.

    For WSJ text

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