Nov. 16, 2011
The Washington Post reported Monday on Congressman Darrell Issas (R-CA) proposed bill regarding theDistrict of Columbia. The legislation would allow D.C. to meet a long hoped-for goal of spending its tax dollars without Congresss approval once the budget has been approved by the city council and mayor. The bill includes language that would preclude tax dollars from funding abortion in D.C., except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.
This provision is hardly surprising, given the language present in the existing federal Continuing Resolution and the stipulations of the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal funding of abortion through the Labor Health and Human Services bill.
What was actually surprising was the language with which the Post framed the conversation regarding potential and current D.C. law concerning taxpayer-funded abortions. Ben Pershing, the author of the blog post, writes that Rep. Issas bill would prohibit D.C. from spending its own taxpayer funds to pay for abortions for low-income women and notes that Mayor Grays spokesperson, Linda Wharton-Boyd, describes existing D.C. law as a prohibition on using local dollars for abortion [emphasis added].
Pershing is attempting to frame Rep. Issa's bill as big government intrusion and D.C. local decision-making as small government, as though that were the larger moral argument at hand. But the fact is that this struggle is less about the origin and control of tax dollars and more about citizen rights of conscience regarding the bodily sovereignty of the unborn. Funding for abortion must not proceed from any public treasury if the government controlling body retains any interest in protecting the consciences of its citizens.