“‘The hardworking taxpayers of Arkansas should not have to see their money sent to organizations that perform abortions,’ said David Ray, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Arkansas.” From an article by Suzi Parker, Reuters.
According to the story linked above, the Arkansas Senate approved a bill which will bar funds not only to abortion providers but also organizations that refers patients to providers or contracts with said organizations. This includes domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and could stop state grants to Planned Parenthood for HIV and syphilis prevention programs in public high schools.
In other words, even if you have a moral objection to abortion in the real world this bill does more harm than good. Let’s look at the above quote. If I were one of those taxpayers, maybe I would feel a little uncomfortable with that money to going to abortion. Yet at the same time I would have two other considerations. First, the state shouldn’t just give out funds to any group to start with. An abortion provider would have to prove that they are competent medical professionals–legitimate health care providers as opposed to back-alley abortionists. Secondly, by cutting off any group that teaches preventative measures which would reduce the need for abortions in the first place would be contradictory. I can’t imagine a legitimate health care provider who performs abortions that wouldn’t prefer a world in which his or her services weren’t needed.
To further address Ray’s quote, this seems like a pretty big assumption about Arkansas taxpayers. To really get a hold on this opinion would require the issue to be taken to the public to vote upon. The vote in the Arkansas Senate was nineteen to eleven. Somehow I doubt that there are only thirty people in the state. As the article points out–albeit vaguely–Republicans haven’t been in control of both chambers of state legislature since Reconstruction.
I’m sure there’s some things that my tax money in the State of Maine goes to that I don’t approve (although, technically the money is no longer mine once I’ve paid my taxes, but let’s not split hairs). It would be impossible for me to find a state in which this wouldn’t be true. As a pacifist I’m concerned about military spending. I also oppose most smoking bans across the country. But I have to live somewhere, and I want to live here, so I pay the price of admission. It’s difficult to draw the line of what I would tolerate. The bill in Arkansas would cross that line. In this case I would oppose a bill that would not spend money at all. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans in Arkansas would do with that money. Would they cut the taxes, or reallocate the funds to some conservative issue more abhorrent than abortion?
This is yet another example of discrimination against women. By cutting off help to these programs across the board, women’s health care and education with no real practical reasons, they are essentially trying to reestablish the status quot of men in control, “putting women in their place.” I wrote in a blog post a few weeks ago that I’m uncomfortable with abortion, but I stay out of the issue because I’m not a woman. I still say that a woman’s perspective on the situation would be more valid than mine. But I’m slowly edging towards the side of pro-choice just the same. Conservative numb-nuts like those in Arkansas are pushing me away. It’s through their skewed sense of “moral high ground” that’s ultimately hurting people and destroying lives. It’s not the abortion clinics.
There’s a somewhat related story also from today’s Reuters feed here. I’ll presently my take on this briefly. I’ve said before that I’m for legalizing prostitution. Even if we don’t, it’s out there, and it’s a high-risk occupation as far as sexually-transmitted disease are concerned. If prostitutes are illegal, then ago ahead and arrest them–but why deny them health care besides? The two issues should remain separate. Again, taking the “moral high ground” and cutting this sort of funding is doing more harm than good.