As the controversy over President Obama’s birth control mandate continues to rage at the national level, lawmakers in Connecticut are making news with their recent determination that elective abortion is an “essential health benefit” and must therefore be covered under all insurance plans developed according to the new guidelines established by Obamacare. According to Jennifer Gaff of the group Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, “this issue is favorably resolved for all women now in Connecticut. . . . Stripping women of elective abortions is not a tenable option.”
Setting aside for the time being the troubling fact that Ms. Gaff seems to view pregnancy through the lens of “chronic illness,” it extremely presumptuous to assert that “all women” in Connecticut are pleased with the outcome of these deliberations. The underlying assumption, of course, is that pro-life women are betrayers of their sex – deluded, backwards holy rollers willing to sacrifice women’s rights on the altar of an outmoded, misogynistic worldview. In reality, however, what Connecticut officials have decided to promote amounts to government subsidization of “murder in utero.” Any way you slice it, abortion involves the killing of an unborn child – a child who is in every way unique and distinct from his or her mother. Euphemisms like “essential health benefit” do not change the reality of what is being funded, nor justify the state’s willingness to enlist the taxpayers as unwitting abettors in this grisly scheme.
One would think that “open-minded” Connecticut liberals would appreciate and respect the personal beliefs of their fellow citizens when it comes to the highly controversial issue of abortion, but this is clearly not the case. Individual conscience be damned, the people in power control the purse strings, and those people are ideologically guided by the abortion industry. As a result, the weight of the state and its resources are being employed in service of a practice that fully 50% of Americans believe is morally wrong. In deciding to declare elective abortion “an essential health benefit” carte blanche, the government of Connecticut is sending the message they they don’t really care what their citizens think. They are the ones in charge and they know best, and that’s that.
So what’s next? We need not look far to see what inevitably occurs when ideologically-driven bureaucrats are set up as the arbiters of life and death for the unborn. In China, you are permitted one child, and if you violate this policy and get pregnant a second time, you are assessed a financial penalty. Just this week the world saw what happened to Feng Jianmei when she and her husband were unable to pay the $6,300 fine to cover the “cost to society” of having a second child. Unable to pay, Feng was forcibly escorted to a state hospital where her seven-month-old daughter was aborted.
Undoubtedly, drawing a parallel between what’s happening in Connecticut and what happens in nations like China will be dismissed as hyperbole, but in reality there is not that big of a leap between government deciding to subsidize a behavior and government deciding to enforce that behavior by law. Just look at the direction we’re heading in the area of “green energy.” As soon as government got in the business of funneling taxpayer dollars to “green” initiatives like LED lightbulbs, it was only a matter of time before they decided that old-fashioned, incandescent fluorescent bulbs needed to be phased out, and decided to realize this idea through the adoption of new “efficiency standards.”
The bottom line is, Connecticut’s decision to classify elective abortion as an “essential health benefit” shows that policy isn’t being crafted based on what’s right and wrong, but rather on the basis of the personal preferences of the people in power. The public must stand up against such arbitrary exercises of power or they will find their freedoms rapidly dwindling, preserved only by the caprice of those in power. This is increasingly true in areas governed by traditional notions of morality and conscience, and in these areas of life and culture men and women of conviction must be prepared to take a stand.
Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty” and Chairman of the Center for a Just Society.