Sometimes it’s possible for us to become so obsessed with winning the war that we fail to win the battle right in front of us. General Ambrose Burnside of the Union army discovered this at Fredericksburg. He marched his army across an open field against the highly outnumbered but heavily fortified Southern Army led by General Robert E. Lee. In his haste to get the war over with, General Burnside assumed that with a massive show of force he could easily march into Fredericksburg and overwhelm the Southern army. When the smoke lifted on December 15, 1862, however, the Union army found that they had suffered 12,653 casualties from the battle and ultimately were repulsed in that campaign.
In the war to end abortion, pro-lifers may find that they are also incurring thousands of unnecessary causalities. Winning the war to outlaw abortion across our entire nation has held more of our attention than strategically winning the more achievable battles right in front of us. We would all like a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but until that happens, there are many smaller legal achievements to be made in tightening the reins on abortion in our country.
Perhaps the most overlooked way that many pro-life states could quickly clamp down on abortion right now would be to target the many diverse state-government subsidies of abortion. A freshman state senator in Georgia is doing this by targeting healthcare benefits for abortion to state employees. Senator Mike Crane (R-Newnan) has just introduced a bill to prohibit state health care plans from paying for these services.
During the last three years, Georgia has paid an average of over a quarter of a million dollars per year to perform hundreds of abortions. According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, in 2009 alone, the state performed 549 abortions and paid out $343,728. In the last three years, over 1,350 abortions have been paid for with state tax dollars through this program.
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that no “State [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and yet many states contribute to deprive life by subsidizing abortion services in various ways such as this. The time to stop is long overdue. Not only will this bill save hundreds of thousands of dollars for Georgia taxpayers, but it will also take a significant step towards bringing the state in line with the 14th Amendment..
Only two other states (Colorado and Kentucky) have gone all the way in addressing this subsidization of abortion. Like Georgia’s proposal, these two states do not make exceptions for restrictions based on rape, “life-endangerment,” incest, or the like.
Only 16 states in total—so far—have placed any kind of restrictions on state health benefit plans for abortion (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia).
The great irony is that while President Obama’s national healthcare plan recently raised renewed outcry for a provision requiring pro-life employers to pay for the contraception or abortions of their employees, the state governments have been paying for these same kinds of abortions with your tax dollars for years—and no one has said a word.
Why have more states not thought to do this? Many pro-life supporters who heard about Senator Crane’s bill , introduced last week in the Georgia legislature, were amazed that this action hadn’t been taken many years ago.
The answer is it has just fallen under many activists’ radar. Sometimes, while fighting the war to outlaw abortion, many overlook the countless ways they can end the subsidizing of abortion by our federal and state governments.
Most likely, your legislature has several pro-life legislators who would be eager to introduce a bill like Senator Crane’s. Why not give one of them a call and make the recommendation?