Whether or not healthcare reform will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions is a center stage controversy. Virtually unchallenged by either political party, the intellectual feebleness and unquestioning acceptance of the premise that taxpayer dollars should not pay for abortions is unchecked. 

For 33 years federal law has banned women from getting taxpayer-funded abortions. The legislative illogic goes that (a) abortion is murder and immoral, (b) some taxpayer-citizens vehemently oppose it on moral grounds, and (c) a subset of the taxpaying public shouldn’t be coerced into financing that which it opposes on moral grounds. 

Of course, this is an argument of convenience, not of conviction. If abortion foes had the courage of their convictions, they would put mothers who murder fetuses on death row, not disingenuously and dangerously manipulate the prospect for health insurance for all.

Perhaps the no-taxes-for-abortion theory could be expanded. I, and many of my fellow taxpayers, oppose the death penalty on moral grounds. Many taxpayers also oppose war on moral grounds. For ethical reasons I oppose the use of public monies to subsidize corporate killers, like tobacco farmers. 

A corrosive and repugnant extension of the no-taxes-for-abortion line of reasoning is the federal Global Gag Rule which “prohibits US family planning assistance to foreign NGOs that provide abortion-related information or services, even if these services are legal in their own countries and are funded with their own money.  The rule prevents NGOs from even participating in public debates…concerning abortion.” (Pathfinder International).

Conservatives and Catholic clerics have imposed a fatwa on women. As noted by syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press, “Equally distressing for me, as a Catholic, is the fact that reproductive rights for women is the one issue on which male, celibate Catholic bishops feel compelled to get so politically involved. You would never see them storming the barricades of Congress over legislation dealing with poverty, war, torture, the death penalty, global warming, or any other moral issue.” 

Annually some 70,000 women around the world die from complications resulting from unsafe abortions. For the record, on moral grounds I oppose the use of my federal taxes to pay for reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule.