Taxpayers Fund Abortions But Not School Vouchers

February 2, 2010 | by | Topic: The Content of CharacterPrint Print

In my last article, a somber remembrance of Roe v. Wade, I called attention to something that shocked readers: I noted that the Obama administration and Democratic Congress “rejected funding for school vouchers for poor children in Washington, DC, but supported funding for abortions for the mothers of those children.”

The contrast is breathtaking, but true. It’s another jolt to traditionally minded voters—especially pro-life Democrats and independents—who voted for “change” on November 4, 2008, and are now absorbing the change they authorized. In this case, the change stands in stark contrast to previous administrations and Congresses that prohibited federal funds to finance abortions in the District of Columbia. It veers well beyond liberals’ assurance that abortion merely be “safe, legal, and rare.”

If you didn’t hear about this until now, don’t be surprised. Over 300,000 pro-lifers marched in Washington last month without notice by the mainstream media. So, I’d like to take a moment to explain what happened:

Last summer, in July 2009, the overwhelmingly Democratic House of Representatives narrowly passed (by a vote of 219-208) a bill permitting the D.C. government to use locally raised tax revenues to provide abortions, reversing a long-standing prohibition.

Almost all Republicans voted against the bill. They were joined by some (but not enough) Democrats. Unfortunately, because of how Americans voted on November 4, 2008, the extreme left has such a massive majority in Congress that legislators who think taxpayers shouldn’t pay for abortions couldn’t stop the measure from being passed. Worse, because Americans—who, in recent polls, describe themselves as more pro-life and more conservative than ever—voted for the most radical abortion-rights advocate in the history of the presidency, the bill had full backing from the White House.

And so, the change in favor of abortion funding came via a $768 million D.C. Financial Services Appropriations bill that—here’s the kicker—also included termination of school vouchers for poor children in Washington, D.C., forcing those children out of private schools and back into public schools they fled.

Most Americans didn’t notice any of this, given that the mainstream media that serves as educator-in-chief didn’t dare highlight the story. Two sources that did notice, however, are worth quoting:

One is Rep. Joe Pitts, the Pennsylvania congressman who is a stalwart champion for the unborn. Pitts told me: “It’s shameful that Congress has decided to use taxpayer dollars to fund the destruction of life in our nation’s capital but has denied funding for a successful scholarship program that allows poor children a chance at a decent education. The juxtaposition in policies could not be more disturbing.”

More disturbed than Pitts was Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, who was fit to be tied: “Following the lead of President Barack Obama,” said Donohue, “the House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow the District of Columbia to fund abortions. Also following Obama’s wishes, the same bill affirmed the … congressional decision to end school vouchers there.”

“Here’s what it comes down to,” summed up Donohue. Poor pregnant women living in Washington, D.C. “will be told that if they decide to abort their baby, the government will pay for it. But if they persist in bringing their baby to term, the government will not help them to avoid the same lousy public schools that Barack and Michelle shunned for Sasha and Malia.” Donohue denounced the action as “cruel.”

p<>No doubt, it’s an outrage. Of course, it’s also predictable. By and large, liberals oppose school vouchers but support legalized abortion. In that sense, this is nothing new.

What is new, however, is this sudden aggressive push by today’s “progressives” for taxpayers to fund abortions. This is the culmination of a progressive death march begun a century ago by Planned Parenthood founder and racial eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who preached extraction of “human weeds” from the gene pool in order to advance “race improvement” (her words). Today’s progressive heirs have taken Sanger’s torch and lit up the barn.

And thus, we now have—in no less than the nation’s capital—a poster-child for that grim progressive worldview. It’s a child who doesn’t get aid to go to a private school—even as his mother pays school taxes—but whose mother gets aid to abort the child’s sibling.

We’re not only losing our conscience as a nation; we’re losing our mind.

I know the response I’ll get from Democrats: furious emails, enraged at me. That’s sad. I’m simply reporting what happened. I didn’t vote for any of this. I plead with them: If you’re angry, write to the people in your party who are responsible. Only you can stop this madness. Clean your own house.

Paul G. Kengor

Paul G. Kengor

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative. His other books include The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

High resolution photos»

Donate to The Center for Vision and Values