Gail Collins wrote a disturbing Op-Ed in the New York Times, consistent with a disturbing message used by liberals trying to woo conservatives into softening up anti-abortion efforts. The vehicle for her message was Texas House conservatives recent cutting-off of Planned Parenthood from the state coffers. Her message is that conservatives should ease opposition to abortions because they save money by keeping wards of the state from being born. After all, aren't conservatives always talking about controlling spending?
This is a dark, dark argument. It provides an opportunity to recount why conservatives aren’t pulsed by this heartless argument.
First, conservatives take the baby’s side of the abortion issue, plain and simple. Someone needs to. Our entire legal and cultural tradition is based on protection of the weak and vulnerable. Unborn babies are the archetype of the weak and vulnerable, therefore conservatives wish to extend the protection the law provides our lives to their lives as well. Even if reducing abortions cost 10 times as much as Collins claims, we’d still oppose abortion because reducing abortion protects people's lives. One happy result of such an outcome is that the long line of people waiting to adopt an infant will get smaller.
Secondly, there’s nothing in the core of Collins argument – that wards of the state are costly – that doesn’t also apply to all recipients of government housing, food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare, and Social Security. Granted, Collins and her cohorts don’t advocate for “aborting” current wards of the state, but she’s all for it in the case of soon-to-be wards of the state. However, we’ve had recent historical examples of cold calculations in favor of killing social undesirables by other radicals like Stalin and Hitler. Conservatives would rather stay as far away as possible from dark precedents like “save cash, abort babies!”
Thirdly, conservatives see the near bottomless worth in people, while Collins well-represents the way liberals tend to view people as drains. Even if money were all that mattered in society, many poor people make it out of the government-dependency cycle; abortions keep taxpayers from being born. Let Collins make the argument welfare children never escape the welfare state. To the extent the welfare state is difficult to escape, conservatives have been making that point for decades. This leads to the next point.
Fourthly, if the welfare state is driving our state off the financial cliff, aspects of the welfare state should be eliminated, not unborn children of welfare recipients. “Thinning the herd” is a diabolical way to lessen the strain of what conservatives have long seen as foolish policy. When President Clinton was forced to reform welfare in the mid-90s, against howls from liberals, the results were immediate. Many former wards of the state got jobs and dignity. Too bad for liberals, as it almost assuredly thinned their voter base.
Finally, the idea that sex education is the great solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact liberals, forced into to such ignorant positions by their dogma, have near total control over public education. Here’s a hint: everyone already knows how pregnancies happen. Everyone knows how diseases are spread. Nobody learns those things for the first time in health class.
Just like every businessman knows what stealing is, yet many still do it, the unwanted pregnancy and STD problem is moral, not educational.
The last thing kids with faulty moral compasses need is the authority figures in their lives telling them, “Yeah we know you’re gonna have lots and lots of sex. Trust us, we aren’t naive. But just be smart, okay?” Would the same teachers say, “Look, we know you aren’t gonna really study. Trust us, we aren’t naive. Just make sure to come to class, okay?” No, they would not.
That’s because liberals know how to hold the line on things they actually believe in, even against odds. They know, despite claims to the contrary on the subject of teen sex, their influence counts. They just don’t apply it to the issue of unwanted pregnancy, because the answer to that problem - abstinence outside marriage - is something they don’t generally follow either.
Teens tend to have bad judgment. Have you ever seen a 16 year old boy driving with his friends in the car? He puts himself and his friends lives in danger, not because he doesn’t know speeding, racing, and fishtailing are dangerous. He speeds, races, and fishtails because he knows those things are dangerous. He’s immature. His behavior reveals his character isn’t sturdy enough to withstand the temptations of testosterone-rich, insecurity-rich years of fledgling manhood. Other boys, with better foundations, drive safely. It’s usually because their authority figures have loved them and insisted on it. The issue is morality, not knowledge.
Gail Collins argument in her New York Times Op-Ed is dark, and inspires conservatives to continue the fight against abortion.