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abortion funding + school vouchers

That's an unlikely pair of issues, I know, but my mind put them together. I'm weird that way.

I was reading Newsweek over a late lunch and I happened across an article about how several states are trying school vouchers again. Here's the connection in my mind: one of the states mentioned in the article is Florida, and a friend mentioned another law being considered in Florida. Basically, insurance companies offering their plans under the insurance exchange that comes into effect in 2014 cannot cover abortions.

The biggest reason I am against school vouchers is separation of church and state issues. I went to a parochial school in grades 6-8 and benefited from that experience. I would want poor kids to have that same privilege, and for their parents to be able to make the choice. I don't personally think vouchers will cover it (because state funding does not come close to covering parochial school tuition, let alone prep school), so I would still probably be anti-vouchers for that reason.

But the connection in my mind to abortions has clarified some things. I believe in choice. I'm not a libertarian I believe that "levelling the playing field" should try to give the most choices to the most people. Personally I don't believe that abortion is murder but I do believe there are moral considerations, especially at the later stages, and so I think it's not something to be done lightly. But I definitely don't think my belief on this view gives me the right to control someone else's view. Once we've decided the government should provide health care for even some people (which predates Obama - think VA hospitals, military medical care, and Medicare/Medicaid) - individuals cannot decide what care other individuals should have access to. My belief that a certain abortion may be immoral, does not equal my right to keep you from making that decision.

Given that, I really have no right to be against vouchers on church/state grounds. I have paid my taxes in part because I believe universal education is important. If those schools aren't educating properly, I have a complaint there. But if my only concern is they're tied to some religion or other, well, I can't fairly hold to that claim.

But this cuts both ways. If someone thinks vouchers are a good idea even if they go to religious schools, you are requiring that I the taxpayer give my money over to a school where I don't agree with some of their actions (chapel, religious education, etc.) but where they are getting the job done I think needs to be done - if you believe all that, you have to believe the same thing when it comes to abortion funding. That means you're free to think abortion is wrong. You're not free to say your taxes shouldn't go toward paying that. Because, again, it is the would-be parent's choice.

Even if you think it's the wrong one.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
celandineb
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
I am against both the anti-abortion laws (which IMO are really anti-women, disguised) and against school vouchers. In both cases for me it's a church-state issue. I am very happy to pay taxes for public schools and would happily pay more to ensure that every public school child had access to an equally good education as every other, regardless of the district in which they live. I DO NOT want my tax money to be subverted into supporting religious schools. Similarly if there is any governmental support of health care, which there is, then those institutions providing care and receiving any government funds should not be allowed to let religious beliefs affect the type of care they provide. If someone's "conscience" prevents them from providing legal care, whatever it may be, they should not be in medicine IMO.
marta_bee
Jan. 27th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
I agree with a lot of what you're saying, and I'm not sure how my point argues against it. Of course I'm against anti-choice laws. My moral assessments of abortion are pretty complicated, but even given that, I think it's the height of hubris to apply a one-size "solution" to every situation. Similarly, of course I'm against those so-called "conscience" exceptions. If you can't do a job you have no right accepting employment where you know it will be required.

This is really a very different issue from all that. I was saying that in the abortion funding debate a lot of people got all upset that their tax money would support something they didn't support - but they seem to have no problem requiring my tax money to go for something I don't support. That's hypocritical.

Of course, you can have other reasons for being against school vouchers. You say you don't want your money going to religious schools. In my opinion that in itself isn't a sufficient reason for opposing vouchers. But there are other perfectly good ones. For instance, you might think a school that teaches ID or a slanted view of history or philosophy or whatever isn't really educating. Or you might say that, personal preferences aside, there's a legal problem with church/state crossover. So respect for the law requires we stay away from that. Those are all good reasons to be against vouchers, that don't dip into hypocrisy.
julifolo
Jan. 27th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
one-size "solution"s
don't work for abortion. The end result (often intentional) for anti-abortion laws is sexist and classist.

The lack of simple solutions, the need for case-by-case, shows (to my mind) that abortion should be a matter for enforced medical standards. (The horrid Philidelphia example shows what happens when abortion care gets marginalized and shoved away from meaningful oversight.) After a fetus is grown enough to be possibly viable, it's past the time the woman can do a chemical abortion on her own -- so she'd have to have the willing cooperation of medical staff. So there's room for reasonable medical standards, as long as there isn't pushy micro-managing from politicians & other intruding strangers.



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