Of the issues that I have thought a lot about over the years, I have blogged the least about abortion. My views on the issue have been in constant flux. I used to consider myself a pro-lifer, having twice participated in the March for Life when I lived in DC.
Perhaps, as part of my general libertarian lurch while living in the Golden State, I have found myself moving into the pro-choice camp, though still favoring certain restrictions on the practice. To be sue, the arguments of the pro-choicers did little to sway me; they’re not very good at making the case for the cause they champion. It was more my own experiences, listening to women who had had abortions. Some, I grant, had them just to dispose of what had become an inconvenience (I was not very sympathetic with these women), others because they bore a child which, amniocentesis revealed, had severe deformities which made Down Syndrome seem normal by comparison.
I still struggle with the issue and don’t think I’ll ever reach a conclusion with which I feel entirely comfortable.
While I reluctantly* believe that the state should allow abortions in certain circumstances, I remain sympathetic to a good many pro-lifers, aware of the sincerity of their advocacy. Given their deeply held views, given even the ambivalence of many who struggle with the issue, I join them in supporting the Hyde Amendment, barring the federal government from funding abortions.
I would daresay a majority of Americans support that provision, even those of us who do not want to ban all abortions. And for this reason, my meddlesome Congressman Henry Waxman seems to have created an issue which can help bring libertarian-inclined Republicans and social conservatives together. Indeed, he may help make abortion part of the glue which holds the GOP together.
You see, as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Waxman “invoked House rules” to defeat an already-passed amendment to his health care bill barring that measure from imposing requirements for coverage of abortion. After apparently strong arming Tennessee Democrat Bart Gordon to change his vote, the provision was defeated.
Without this amendment, it is entirely possible that the government could mandate coverage for abortion. Tell that to the American people. You’re going to get a lot of the ambivalent pro-choicers eager to join forces with pro-lifers in opposition to this legislation–and in outrage against those who would try to get others to pay for a practice they abhor.
*More should a critical mass of readers wish me to explain this reluctance.