The Stupak Amendment – Only Pay Taxes on What You Morally Support

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November 16, 2009 by Daniel Stack

One of the compromises that House Democrats made to get their health care legislation passed was the Stupak Amendment. This has two primary effects:

  1. A woman who receives subsidies from the government for purchasing health care from the government would be forbidden from purchasing a plan that covers abortion.
  2. The government-run plan would be forbidden from covering abortion.

These two items, together, strongly limit a woman’s right to an abortion. In the first case, this policy would encourage insurers to not cover abortion. In the second, this would impact all women on the public plan, even if she were to be paying her entire way.

The problem with this is these are wholly legal procedures. They may be reprehensible acts of infanticide to people of good conscience, but the Supreme Court has ruled them to be legal. I appreciate the desire to allow people to opt-out of their tax dollars from financing such a thing. But we don’t allow people to opt out of other things they find reprehensible. The wars in Vietnam and Iraq have had a large number of people opposed to them as acts of aggression, resulting in a massive death toll of innocent life. There are people who view the war in Afghanistan as evil. Your tax dollars are used to finance executions of federal prisoners, an act that some people of good conscience consider to be state-performed murder.

Now… Supposing we do make it impossible for a woman to have an abortion. Are we as a society prepared to shoulder the financial burden of this child? If the mother is single, poor, and uneducated, should we punish this child for having the bad luck to be born into such a difficult circumstance? If the life of this child is important, I think we must. Are we willing to pay for this child’s medical costs? For daycare costs so the mother can complete her high school education to at least have a chance of making some money? In fairness, many right-to-life groups would, I believe, answer “yes”. But I imagine those who supported this amendment are not willing to take that expense. Just to be clear, I am not proposing we “reward” anyone for having a child. But as a society we should also not punish the child either.


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