How Much For That Fetus In The Window?

Port Huron Times-Herald | Pro-lifers must consider fiscal effects of outlawing abortion:

With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, both sides of the abortion issue are anxious to see if her successor will aid in a repeal of Roe v. Wade. If this happens, our government must go all the way in recognizing fetal rights, including rights of life, citizenship, safety and economic consideration. Anything less is hypocritical.

Thus begins an intemperate tirade that involves knocking down numerous straw men, shamefully misunderstanding the pro-life position, and whining about money. It's the whining about money that is most objectionable, so I'll deal with that one last.

Starting with the straw men arguments:

If legally-recognized "life" begins at conception, there will be serious economic ramifications. Currently, dependent exemptions on taxes are only permitted for children that are alive outside the womb. But if life starts at conception, so too should 'dependent' status.

Can you imagine the economic impact of amended tax returns for every woman who has conceived in the fiscal year prior to the birth of her child? Our government cannot define a fetus as a "person" then deny financial recognition of that person.


Since when did our tax code become the gold standard for determining one's humanity?

The purpose of the various tax benefits that we give to parents is to compensate them for the cost of raising children. I have two of the little munchkins myself, so I know how expensive they are. Believe me, the IRS is not even coming close to making full compensation! As I recall, our kids were much less expensive when they were in my wife's womb. Actually, since our insurance paid for all of the prenatal care, I don't think we incurred any significant costs for "raising" our kids in utero. Okay, so Mrs. Naaman insisted on buying some maternity clothes, but that wasn't a big expense....

"Okay, Mr. Privilege, what about all of the uninsured?" Hmmm ... good question. Here's another good question: how many people A) can't afford insurance, B) don't qualify for government assistance, and C) pay a significant tax burden? Those would be the only people who would be helped by a prenatal tax benefit, and I don't think it's a large group. And if it is? Go ahead and help them. Sure, I'm a conservative, but I'm always willing to help families. Heck, we can take it out of the quarter-billion dollars that the government gives to Planned Parenthood....

(FYI, the dependent exemption is only one benefit in a confusing array of tax provisions that aim to help parents. Some families don't get as much help as they should, simply because the rules are too bewildering. Perhaps we should simplify?)

And what of insurance? Will there be policies affording death benefits in cases of miscarriage or stillborns? Will there be health insurance for the fetus? Some health-insurance policies offer prenatal coverage, but tests such as ultrasound and amniocentesis that assess the health of the fetus are not covered.

If we grant fetal rights, how will insurance companies justify this?


Death benefits for miscarriages and stillbirths? Why? The purpose of life insurance is to compensate survivors for the economic hardships that accompany the death of a family member. I have trouble figuring out how a miscarriage or a stillbirth would pose an economic hardship. Spiritual & emotional hardship, absolutely, but not economic. Anyway, life insurance only pays out for people who are insured. (I know, that's a hard concept to grasp.) If an insurance company wants to sell policies to cover unborn children, they have a right to do so, but they would also have a right to set the premiums on such insurance in a way that would make the policies profitable.

On the health insurance question, I believe that the unborn child is normally covered as a part of Mom's policy. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Yes, certain treatments may or may not be covered expenses, but that's true of any health insurance policy. What's the problem again?

I'm sorry, but following this "logic" is making me dizzy. I'm going to take a break and do something less confusing. Maybe I'll play some Sudoku.

Talk amongst yourselves, I'll be right back.

...

Okay, where were we?

And then there are extreme cases such as Susan Torres, the brain-dead woman who was sustained on artificial life support to serve as an incubator for her developing fetus and then as soon as that fetus was delivered suddenly became extra baggage. Why didn't right-to-life folks fight for Torres like they did for Terri Schiavo? It seems Torres' life was only important while she held the fetus.

Ay caramba! This one belongs to the "shamefully misunderstanding the pro-life position" category. Susan Torres was dead, and nobody disputed it. The question was whether or not the doctors (and a lot of prayer) could keep her body going long enough to prevent her unborn daughter from also dying. On the other hand, there was considerable dispute about Terri Schiavo. I disagree with the prevalent pro-life take on the Schiavo case (see item #8 in my FAQ), but I can also see that there are some valid concerns on the other side.

Here's the pro-life belief in a nutshell: All human life is important, even sacred for those of us who are religious. We fought over Terri Schiavo because some of us still believed that she was alive. We didn't fight over Susan Torres because we knew that she was dead. However, we hoped and prayed that Susan's daughter might be saved. By the grace of God, Baby Susan was saved.

Leave it to a raving pro-choicer to turn an honest-to-God miracle into a political talking point....

An argument also could be made against overburdening a foster-care system for displaced children that already is stretched to its financial and functional limits. Imagine the strain on this system if abortion was outlawed, and those extra unwanted children were dumped into the care of government agencies.
I detest this argument. Why is death preferable to foster care? Hey, we don't have any good programs in place to care for the homeless, so let's kill them too!

I also detest the phrase "unwanted children". Every child is wanted by somebody. We aren't always successful at matching up kids with the right parents, but that's not a valid reason to kill the kids.

Now, I'll turn to the "whining about money" argument. The author begins with her own case:

I hate the idea of abortion and the fact there are women who feel so desperate abortion is their only solution. My children are my pride and joy, and I can't imagine my life without them.

But it's easy to imagine life without other women's children, right? Why do so many pro-choicers feel compelled to claim that they hate abortion? At least Patricia Beninato is honest about her beliefs...

But it was my choice to become a mom, not a decision that was forced upon me. It also was my choice to accept the financial responsibility that goes along with raising them.
Something tells me that this woman's kids walk around with invisible price tags on their heads that only their mother can see. "I chose you, I sacrificed for you, so you owe me!" No, I'm sorry. Children don't ask to be born. They don't owe their parents anything. We parents hope that our children will love us and respect us, but those things have to be earned.

A parent's "choice" is one of the ways that abortion has poisoned our society. It used to be that children were a blessing from God. (Hint: they still are, even if we're too dim to notice!) Now children are a burden to be shouldered or not, as we choose. What message are we sending to kids that their very lives are dependent on Mom's goodwill? And what message are we sending to kids when we focus on how much they cost?

Okay, so the author's kids probably won't be as screwed up as Amy Richards' surviving son ... but it's still a troubling sign.

Time for a big finish:

As a nation we have to realize there is a practical, economic side to the abortion issue that too often is ignored by opponents of reproductive choice, because the warm, fuzzy image of a newborn baby is much more likely to win converts to their cause.

Hopefully, if Roe v. Wade is repealed, all the pro-lifers out there will step up and open their wallets and bank accounts to foot the bills.


What price life? And how much does death really cost?

Did we stop to count up the bill before we liberated the concentration camps at the end of World War II?

The author is right that we will need to give some thought to a post-Roe society. For 32 years, legal abortion-on-demand has enabled us to sweep some of our country's problems under the rug. Without that dreadful alternative, we'll have to solve some of the issues that we've hidden under the 40+ million corpses of our children.

However....

Right things are still right, even if they're costly. Conversely, wrong things are still wrong, even if they're cheap. Defending abortion by showing us a price tag is morally bankrupt. Who cares how much it costs?

Jesus gave us His life to save us from everlasting destruction. If we have to face our "issues" in order to save our children's lives ... it's the least we can do.

(cross-posted at Naaman the Ex-Leper)




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