Friday, September 17, 2004

Here's Another Way to Skin the Cat

From AP via The Washington Times:
Doctors object on moral grounds

NEW YORK (AP) — In Congress and states nationwide, pro-life activists are broadening efforts to support hospitals, doctors and pharmacists who — citing moral grounds — want to opt out of services linked to abortion and emergency contraception.

A little-noticed provision cleared the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency....

At the federal level, abortion rights groups are alarmed by the provision that cleared the House last week, broadening protections for hospitals and insurers that seek to avoid any involvement with abortions. The provision would prevent government officials from using any coercive means — such as a funding cutoff or permit denial — to ensure abortion-related services are available.

Two years ago, the House passed a bill with the same goals, but it died in the Senate without a vote. Pro-life activists are pleased because the revived proposal was sent to the Senate as part of a broader appropriations bill and, at minimum, will go to a House-Senate conference committee....
Stay tuned. It will be interesting to see -- if the bill becomes law -- how the pro-murder forces argue against it in court, as surely they will. My guess is that they'll try to convert the "negative right" recognized in Roe v. Wade (the government can't prevent abortion) into a "positive right" (medical institutions must provide abortions, even if they don't want to).

Frank Conte at From the Ground Up says:
I don't subscribe to the harsh "pro-murder" characterization. However, this debate will be a problem for liberals who have posited a right to abortion within a libertarian context, for example "keeping government out of our bedrooms." Fair enough even though I am suspect of post-modern liberal reasoning. But now liberalism must answer to its egalitarian side and against whatever remains of its libertarian creed - forcing, let's say a Catholic hospital, into performing abortions.
A good point about the dilemma that liberalism would face. Given the penchant of liberals to favor their preferred outcome over others' rights, I think most of them would come down on the side of compelling medical institutions to provide abortions. That would be consistent with their stands on affirmative action and smoking in privately owned places (e.g., bars and restaurants), to name a few.

As for the "pro-murder" characterization, that comes from earlier posts in which I've explained that I oppose abortion because (1) it amounts to the murder of a defenseless, innocent being and (2) it's a step down the slippery slope toward such things as involuntary euthanasia. It is harsh, but then I'm prone to calling a digging tool a shovel.