Tag Archives: Abortion

How Factions Work

Women jumped on the Stupak “Abortion” Amendment to last week’s health care train wreck (there, I said it) as a “women’s issue.”  There are many ways to classify such an enormously controversial topic, but below find some numbers that at least provide a jumping-off point as to who says what.

Evidently about 70% overall would not support a federal ban on first trimester abortions.

Here’s what’s interesting about public choice: It’s not about what you want, it’s about how loud you’ll shout for it.  So while this majority ostensibly would oppose a first-trimester abortion ban, evidently they don’t want it enough to shout as loud as the Viagra folks.

That’s not sexism, kiddos.  That’s the most elegantly-structured government on earth.

This post is really just a frame for the numbers below.  But here’s the takeaway: 1) Statistics are the most biased form of data; 2) It’s not about some binary “yes” or “no” inquiry, it’s all about degree and dollars and noise; and 3) Frankly I’m a little thrilled that private corporate interests beat out that sticky subsidized succubus Planned Parenthood.

And let’s not forget that critical fact, that the Stupak Amendment does not ban abortions UNLESS the public option cannibalizes all private care.  The only thing this amendment accomplished was excluding abortions from public funding.

Perhaps what we should gather from all this hue and cry is a resounding taps for private care.  If any of these folks believed private care would survive, we wouldn’t hear such an emotional death knell for abortion.

By gender, party, and region

A January 2003 CBS News/New York Times poll examined whether Americans thought abortion should be legal or not, and found variations in opinion which depended upon gender, party affiliation, and the region of the country.  The margin of error is +/- 4% for questions answered of the entire sample (“overall” figures) and may be higher for questions asked of subgroups (all other figures).
Group Generally available Available, but with stricter limits than now Not permitted
Overall 39% 38% 22%
Women 37% 37% 24%
Men 40% 40% 20%
Democrats 43% 35% 21%
Republicans 29% 41% 28%
Independents 42% 38% 18%
Northeasterners 48% 31% 19%
Midwesterners 34% 40% 25%
Southerners 33% 41% 25%
Westerners 43% 40% 16%

By trimester of pregnancy

CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in January 2003 asked about the legality of abortion by trimester, using the question, “Do you think abortion should generally be legal or generally illegal during each of the following stages of pregnancy?”  This same question was also asked by Gallup in March 2000 and July 1996.
2003 Poll 2000 Poll 1996 Poll
Legal Illegal Legal Illegal Legal Illegal
First trimester 66% 29% 66% 31% 64% 30%
Second trimester 25% 68% 24% 69% 26% 65%
Third trimester 10% 84% 8% 86% 13% 82%

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Capps Amendment

The Government, Abortion and Your Tax Dollars

Charmaine Yoest’s op-ed, “Tax Dollars Shouldn’t Fund Abortion” (op-ed, Oct. 14) blatantly misrepresents the amendment I offered to health reform legislation now before Congress.

My amendment would maintain the status quo on federal funding of abortions by extending current law forbidding federal dollars from being used to pay for abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the woman.

My amendment allows plans in the Health Exchange to offer abortion coverage, but requires that those services to be paid for only out of premiums paid by consumers. No federal dollars may be used. This is the same principle currently used with Medicaid, which must follow the Hyde Amendment: No federal dollars may be used to pay for abortion services in Medicaid, but the 17 states that opt to cover the procedure can do so by paying for it with state dollars.

This is hardly a “radical departure from the status quo.” In fact, it is an extension of the status quo.

Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calif.)

Santa Barbara, Calif.


Charmaine Yoest states that the Capps Amendment “would make abortion coverage a part of the public option, funnel tax dollars to private health plans that cover abortion, and ensure that every area of the country will have at least one health insurance plan that covers elective abortion.” Ms. Yoest worries that the federal government is poised to enter “the business of funding the destruction of unborn human life.”

We’re already there. Planned Parenthood performs 62 abortions (305,310 abortions in 2008) for each adoption it facilitates. Planned Parenthood survives partly on tax dollars and government contracts that pay directly into this abortion giant’s operating fund. In the 2007-08 fiscal year, $350 million in “government grants and contracts”—those are our tax dollars—padded these controversial coffers.

Controversial choices deserve a hearty debate. Government’s intrusive fingers do not merely threaten to dictate the terms of that debate, as Ms. Yoest suggests. We are already there.

Kathryn Ciano

Arlington, Va.

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Today’s Quick Letter

In “Tax Dollars Shouldn’t Fund Abortion,” (Opinion, Oct. 15), Charmaine Yoest states that the Capps Amendment “would make abortion coverage a part of the public option, funnel tax dollars to private health plans that cover abortion, and ensure that every area of the country will have at least one health insurance plan that covers elective abortion.”  Ms. Yoest worries that the federal government is poised to enter “the business of funding the destruction of unborn human life.”

We’re already there.  Planned Parenthood performs sixty-two abortions (305,310 abortions in 2008) for each adoption it facilitates.  And the lion’s share of the cost of those abortions comes directly from taxpayers’ pockets.

Planned Parenthood survives on tax dollars and government subsidies – subsidies that pay directly into this abortion giant’s operating fund.  In the 2007-08 fiscal year, $350 million in “government grants and contracts” – those are our tax dollars – padded these controversial coffers.

This is not a question of “choice” versus “life.”  Federal funding for abortions does not require mere moral considerations when dealing with private decisions.  Instead, this begs a discussion of the very purpose of government and the role it should play in our lives.

Whatever individuals think about abortion, we all recognize that this topic is controversial.  For the government to treat such a controversial topic –to fund this controversial practice! – disregards those fundamental protections of private decisionmaking.

Government exists to protect those fundamental freedoms inherent to its citizenry.  Whether or not our government permits citizens to make the kind of “choice” at issue in abortion discussions should incite discussion.  Whether the federal government should rob Peter to pay for Pauline’s choice should not.

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Protected: China Repeals “One Child”: Eugenics by Another Name?

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DC Aborts Babies, Contracts

DC voting rights may be unconstitutional, but that won’t stop the House of Representatives from imposing programs in the District. This Thursday the House passed a bill that uses federal funds to accomplish controversial objectives while pretending they are not controversial at all. Thursday’s spending bill both allows the DC government to subsidize abortions and takes steps towards legalizing marijuana.


Besides providing federal funding for abortions, the bill also undermines free market and contract principles.  The measure forces General Motors and Chrysler to restore franchise agreements with 3,000 dealerships closed under restructuring plans approved by bankruptcy courts.  Both companies oppose the idea, saying it will hinder their efforts to return to profitability.

Is no issue more urgent for DC in the midst of its budget crisis?  Rather than replace dangerous metro cars, Congress has decided that DC residents need fewer welfare babies and more weed.


Aborting contract principles represents an even more controversial step.  Filing for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy gives failing businesses an opportunity to restructure their business models with legal and corporate guidance.  GM and Chrysler took—and continue to take—federal funds on the condition that they change their unsuccessful structure so bailout funds won’t go to waste. A bill that undermines companies’ promises to close unsuccessful franchises violates both the federal bankruptcy structure and constructive contracts GM and Chrysler made with American taxpayers.


Federal interference with local governance does not promote the change we want to see. Abortion, marijuana, and bankruptcy conditions warrant substantial debate. Rather than solve DC’s looming budget concerns, Congress has decided to intervene in controversial areas while pretending to have full public support.


DC residents bitterly accept taxation without representation. The rest of America has not. It stands to the represented public to demand economic recovery rather than sweeping controversial measures without discussion.  Abortions and coercive contracts will not solve our problems.  Only by permitting individuals and the market to learn from the fruits and consequences of our actions can this country “restructure” in a way that will be successful in the long run.

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Roe v. Obamacare

This AmSpec article has been making the rounds, claiming that Obama’s health care plan is incompatible with Roe v. Wade.

It makes some interesting points, but makes no sense to me.  Roe is a little legally retarded, and its only healthcare-related statement is that “the gov’t” can’t prevent a woman from aborting her fetus until the point where the fetus is viable.  Roe doesn’t guarantee abortions as a matter of right; it merely precludes government intervention up to a certain point.

Of course everything will be much more difficult under socialized health care — there’s a reason Americans aren’t absconding en masse to Cuba or, for that matter, Canada.  Taking away an individual’s right to choose health care providers will clearly affect our right to choose other things.  But focusing on this dubious case is a little far-fetched.

Let’s just go forward with our strongest arguments in this area, based on economics and fact rather than Al Gore statistics and legal “penumbras.”  Especially when abortion is so heavily subsidized.  Yes, Obama’s health care proposition violates Roe‘s penumbras.  But first Obamacare violates every decision-making dignity and basic human decency affiliated with medicine.  This Roe stuff is tenuous and far-fetched and unnecessary when the sins of socialized health care are so perilously close to home.

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Weekend Links

Michael Stokes Paulsen weighs in on OPR’s threatened torture memo sanctions.

Prof. Balkin’s response to MSP.

Girl power at Preakness: First girl takes it since 1924! Go Rachel Alexandra!

An old but interesting Atlantic article: Lost in the Meritocracy.

BoingBoing citing Mercatus: Index of Freedom by American states.

I can’t decide whether to call this one plain “disrespectful” or actually Obama biting off more than he can chew. For somebody who looks like he supports diversity he doesn’t have a lot of respect for defensible points of view different from his own. Obama incites abortion discussion at Notre Dame, America’s “leading Catholic university.”

Kimberly Strassel on the NIMBY of Gitmo.

Why pirates escape jurisdiction. That post includes a link to Foreign Affairs mag’s list of “must reads” about pirates in general.

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