Forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions is not pro-choice; it’s no choice

| Jason Adkins | April 12, 2011 | 2 Comments

The following is a legislative update provided by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which advocates on behalf of the state’s bishops for public policies and programs that support the life and dignity of every human person.

On April 12, committees in both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature held hearings on companion bills (HF 201/SF 103) forbidding the use of tax­payer money to fund abortions. The law ends coverage for abor­tion in state-spon­sored health in­surance programs. The Minnesota Catholic Conference testified in support of this legislation.

The Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and its defense of human life from conception to natural death are well known. All people are created in the image and likeness of God, and their rights and dignity must be respected in life and in law. “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of civil society and its legislation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2273).

Life begins at conception

But the church’s position is not strictly theological. Indeed, on many political and moral issues, the church voices its concern in the public square in language accessible to all, regardless of faith or creed.

Abortion is no different. Science and the embryology textbooks are clear that human life begins at the moment of conception. Yet, despite this evidence, state and federal laws allow women access to abortion at every stage of pregnancy, even after the point at which a child can survive outside the womb. Ironically, a hospital may be aborting children on one floor, while employing cutting-edge technology to save babies of the same age on another.

Most egregiously, the Minnesota Supreme Court’s 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision made Minnesota one of the most radically pro-abortion states in the nation. It ruled that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Minnesota Constitution included the right of women to obtain a publicly funded abortion if they could not afford to terminate their pregnancy.

Gomez was a tremendously misguided decision on many levels. First, it has caused the death of more than 50,000 children in Minnesota, as well as sent more than $15 million in taxpayer money to the abortion industry.

Additionally, Gomez gives people further incentive to have sex before they are ready to raise a child because they will not have to incur even the cost of obtaining an abortion if they get pregnant. Finally, Gomez’s declaration that abortion is a “fundamental right” in Minnesota is actually an assault on social justice by denying the weakest and most defenseless in our society — children in the womb — the one thing they need most: the right to life.

Coerced into paying

The vigorous defense of Gomez by abortion proponents undermines the claim that abortion is a personal choice. Gomez coerces the people of Minnesota into paying for what science tells us is the destruction of innocent human life. That is not pro-choice; it is no choice.

The companion bills being heard in the Legislature end the state’s coercion of citizens to pay for the destruction of innocent life.

But can the Legislature really overturn a decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court? Yes — there is no question that the Legislature can end the taxpayer funding of abortion.

If the new law faces a legal challenge, there is a provision in the law requiring the case to be heard immediately by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The court will then have the opportunity to revisit Gomez and ultimately decide that the decision was both a mistake and a miscarriage of justice.

In the meantime, Catholics should tell their lawmakers to pass HF 201 and SF 103 because they no longer want to subsidize the culture of death.

Jason Adkins is executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota. To receive up­dates from the MCC about its work at the Legislature and to take action on taxpayer-funded abortions and other issues, visit and join the Minnesota Catholic Advocacy Network (MNCAN).

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