Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gears of Government Grind Away in Silence

Things you never knew your government was up to. Saw this as an aside in a Star Tribune item about legislation pending in Minnesota:

Republican leaders of the Minnesota Senate introduced legislation Friday that would prohibit state funding of abortions. The state has funded abortions for poor women since 1995, when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled it was obligated to do so.

Spending tax dollars on abortion is a legal obligation in Minnesota?!

Why is this the first I've heard of this? Granted, in 1995 I wasn't paying much attention to state politics of supreme court cases. But you'd think in an environment, 16 years later, where the legality and morality of individual choice for the procedure is still a matter of great contention, the government forcing all tax payers to fund it would be in the top 10 list of conservative or Republican complaints. This is a far more radical decision than Roe vs. Wade. Far more radical than ObamaCare, which merely allows the government to fund abortions, as opposed to compelling it. Yet I don't recall a state political leader mentioning this issue. Or a religious one for that matter. And what happened in 1995, we just rolled over on this, like obedient cocker spaniels?

Here's the summary of the Supreme Court opinion, in the case Doe vs. Gomez. Lots of lawyerly gobbledygook here, I can't even tell what the overall vote was. Was it an overwhelming mandate? A one vote margin that sent us down this alley?

Doing some Google research, it looks like not everyone forgot about this. Those saints working at Minnesotans Citizens Concerned for Life never took their spotlight off of this decision. They've got this handy summary of the new reality the MN Supreme Court ushered us into in '95. Highlights:

While the majority of Minnesotans are morally opposed to abortion, 29.8% of abortions performed in the state are now paid for with their state tax dollars. Since the Court forced the state to begin paying for abortion, taxpayers have paid more than $15 million for elective abortions. Minnesota is one of only nine states with court decisions requiring taxpayers to pay for abortions.

The result? More than 50,000 unborn babies have been aborted. Prior to this action by the Court, Minnesota taxpayers annually paid about $7,000 for an average of 23 abortions that threatened the life of the mother or in pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. This chart illustrates the expense Minnesota taxpayers have incurred while funding abortions and the extreme nature of the funding mandate.

Regardless of your conscience on the matter, if you paid taxes in Minnesota, you contributed to this outcome. Kind of shines a new light on that check you're going to be writing to the Minnesota Department of Revenue by April 15.

In any regard, big kudos to the new Republican majority in the state legislature for bringing this issue up again. There's no reason to lay back and accept this. There are political remedies that can be taken. These include changing the state law and forcing another court case to revisit the propriety of the first ruling and putting this up for a public vote on a new Constitutional amendment. If we can do it for billion dollar taxes for the arts, we can do it for this as well.

Of course, attempts to reverse this situation will be controversial, particularly among abortion activists and Democrats. The Star Tribune is already joining in by attempting to strangle this movement in its infancy. Here's how they characterize the introduction of the bill in the state Senate:

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, one of the bill's sponsors, said in an interview last month that the fixing the state's budget problems would supersede all other issues.

Oh, the hypocrisy! The extremism!

No, Star Tribune. Our well paid public servants in St. Paul can multi-task by dealing with the budget and correcting grave injustices that exist in our legal code at the same time. In fact, they have an obligation to do so.

SISYPHUS notes: Eliminating the more than $1.5 million Minnesota taxpayers pay every year for publicly funded abortions would reduce the state's budget by -- let me get out my calculator -- more than $1.5 million. Cut a million and a half here and a million and a half there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.