28 February, 2010

Why should the state pay for an elective medical procedure such as an abortion?

The issue of abortion has spawned a few comments in a previous post on state-funded medicare such as we have in Canada. Some have used the phrase "universal health care" as meaning that every service should be paid for, while I have taken a different position.

The advocates of abortion always say that it is a safe procedure and not a threat to the health of the mother. Common sense also sells us that pregnancy is not a life-threatening condition (with  extraordinarily few exceptions).

Why should state funded health care be used to pay for an elective procedure? We do not pay for elective cosmetic surgery... we do not pay for chiropractic services... we do not pay for psychological services (just to name a few). Some of these services may  be needed to save someones life or health (especially for people who suffer from depression or chronic pain conditions). If it is just for the state not to fund these services, why should abortion necessarily be included among the procedures that state funded?

"Universal" health care coverage mean that everyone is provided with necessary medical services. It does not mean that every medical procedure available will be paid for by the plan. It is my opinion that abortion is the precise definition of an elective procedure (assuming that the health of the mother is not threatened) and therefore there is no reason why it should be paid for by the state. This is not promoting discrimination, nor is it a sexist position any more than paying for penis enlargement surgery (which is not currently paid for) is a sexist orientation to men. It is simply a matter of rationalizing our health care dollar so as to produce the greatest good for the greatest number.

I look forward to your comments.


  1. From a purely pragmatic point of view, healthcare dollars are much more economically spent on abortion than on a healthy pregnancy. An abortion every year for twenty years is still cheaper than only a couple of normal pregnancies and hospital deliveries. Much cheaper. Good contraception is even more economical but you guys don't want to cover that either and contraception is never 100% effective.

    It's similar to cigarette smoking. Everybody thinks it is so costly to the health care industry. It isn't true. Smokers die young after relatively short illnesses that nothing much can be done about. Society then benefits by also not having to pay extended retirement benefits to smokers. Most health care expenses are accrued by those that live to be over eighty years of age, all on the government dole anyway. Give the elderly free cigarettes.

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  3. Reddog: Ya know? There is a perverse but funny truth in the way you expound the argument. If the recent death of the last Canadian soldier from the First World War, and given that I am old enough to remember the passing of the last Civil War veteran, (or 'older than dust' according to one of the kids I'm helping to prepare for their reception of the sacraments,) let me state here that I hope this won't be predictive of the health care operations I'll face as I approach the final quarter of my life, assuming I attain the average - please God (he says with a crooked grin).

    Fr. Tim


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