Italian authorities in Lombardy, the stretch of Italy bordering Switzerland, have devised a plan to cut down on what they see as the prime reason for abortions among their populace — economics — by offering women money to not have an abortion. Clever. Here’s the surprise — I see no problem with this.
The plan contains within it a tacit acknowledgment that women ought to have control over these decisions, and that abortions can be cut by some means other than an outright ban. It also completely removes morality from the equation, so that women in need and state authorities can work towards their shared goal — decreasing the number of abortions. These are all advances, and Italy should be thanked for addressing the abortion issue practically — something anti-choice lobbies in the States can’t ever seem to do and, truly, have never even bothered to attempt.
Curiously, American anti-choice groups seem pretty happy with the scheme, too. But while it may decrease abortions, the plan seems to violate another key belief shared by most American anti-choice groups: that government shouldn’t be in the business of using money to affect the life decisions of its citizens, especially because government programs like these are uniquely subject to waste and exploitation. If implemented at the federal level, such an incentive-based plan to minimize abortions would stretch the Commerce Clause to the breaking point, because limiting abortions is social policy, not economics. It would actually present a case of federal overreach, which activist conservative lawyers gleefully over-identify elsewhere, and vainly prosecute.
Admittedly, this just validates what we already knew: that the right’s support for command social policies is the exception that swallows their limited government “rule” whole, at least when the state asserts power over someone undesirable — someone gay, someone Muslim, someone pregnant by her own “fault,” someone else. Next time you see a tea partier with a Gadsden flag, don’t miss the implied emphasis: “Don’t Tread On Me.” For everyone else, well, it depends.