We're about to be lured to the rabbit hole again. Abortion is being discussed in Juneau. Actually it's only its Medicaid funding, but no matter. Zealots will invite us on a trip to Wonderland, where public funding becomes a right and substantive argument is ignored.
In 2001, in response to a finding that the U.S. Constitution did not require government payments for abortion, Alaska Chief Justice Dana Fabe found the Alaska State Constitution did. However, she stated, state responsibility to fund was limited to "medically necessary" ones. The Legislature needed to define the term. They've reneged on their duty and all Medicaid recipients' abortions have been paid.
This session Sen. John Coghill submitted Senate Bill 49 to rectify this. Under it, a medically necessary abortion would be "to avoid a threat of serious risk to the life or physical health of a woman." Additionally, abortions in cases of rape or incest are covered. Seems straightforward. Nevertheless, expect a barrage of accusations ranging from insensitivity to misogyny.
It's all a game. Push the buttons, wave the banners, torture the analogies and rally the troops to bang drums and upset lawmakers. It's so predictable. If human life weren't at stake, it would be laughable.
But human life is at stake. That's the inalterable fact abortion supporters try so hard to ignore. In a twisted sense of compassion they engage in magical thinking -- close your eyes and the baby will disappear -- poof! Not poof, of course; actually, there's an agonizingly barbaric procedure that tears a young, healthy fetus from the safety of her mother's womb and silences her forever.
But, hey, some will tell you it's worse to be born to a mother who doesn't want you, ignoring adoption, as well as the fact some of us have lousy parental relationships and good lives. Others, in a twisted view of economizing, will insist it's cheaper than paying for the child afterward, speculating on lifelong welfare and prison time. (Never mention where they hide their crystal balls.)
Some will secretly think "those people" shouldn't be having kids. That nasty viewpoint was a big part of the abortion movement's initial founding. It's a heritage little discussed but wholly relevant, as the vast majority of abortions kill racial minorities.
A majority of abortions also kill females. Ironic, a movement that trumpets itself as a defender of women's rights supports killing girls. Almost as bad as Denali KidCare paying for it.
Let's not chase the rabbit down the hole. Let's stay on planet Earth and discuss this rationally. Let's respect each other.
Those in support of abortion, perhaps even those who profit from it, are honest in their desire to help women. They hold a short-term view, focusing on immediate difficulties. Those against have a longer, more holistic view.
Pro-lifers have for 40 years lived with legal abortion and more than a million babies are lost through it each year. Shouldn't abortion supporters accept that asking pro-lifers to help fund abortions is asking too much?
Government money doesn't grow in the back rooms of agencies. It comes from tax revenue. Alaskans don't pay state income tax but money, whether flowing from the federal, state, or local entities, comes from individuals or the enterprises for which they work. Telling them they are not funding Medicaid's policies is a lie.
Might defunding elective abortions help stop some? Possibly. If society not paying for elective abortions sends a message, that's OK. If it leads to a woman more fully engaging with the decision and its ramifications, isn't that good? Shouldn't we all hope she's making a fully informed, thoughtful decision?
Abortion providers could offer free elective abortions in response to Medicaid dropping payment of them. Planned Parenthood pours significant money into Alaska politics. They could earmark those funds for "services" instead.
Right now they are spending their funds to fight SB 49. Perhaps revenue, and not rights or health, is what they really want to protect. Perhaps denying such public funding might eventually help make our politics less rancorous. Wouldn't that be nice!
Joann Pantages lives in Anchorage.
By JOANN PANTAGES