Two Interesting Questions: One for Prolifers and One for Pro-Aborts

Two Interesting Questions: One for Prolifers and One for Pro-Aborts August 4, 2015

For prolifers:

Would you accept a 50% income tax if it ensured that no woman would ever feel compelled to have an abortion because of financial worries?

For pro-aborts:

Would you accept Universal Health Care (UHC) if no abortions/abortion related work were performed via UHC (that is to say, Roe v. Wade still stands, PP can vivisect all the fetuses they can get paid for- abortions just won’t be provided by UHC).

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  • Robert R Chase

    Honestly, I would want a bit more for my 50%:no financial worries AND a general prohibition of abortion.

    • Athelstane

      On those terms, I’d take the tax hike. It wouldn’t be much of a deal if abortion is not only just as legal, but my tax dollars are still helping to pay Planned Parenthood to kill babies (don’t give me Hyde Amendment arguments; money is fungible).

      But I think we all know that while finances are an important factor, they are far from the only reason why people abort babies.

      • Kurt 20008

        How is money fungible? Is a Pell Grant to Notre Dame going to pay for missionaries in Latin America?

        • Athelstane

          Because it’s going to Planned Parenthood. Period. And Planned Parenthood kills babies. That is its primary business. It accounts for most of their revenue. Any firewalls they maintain are illusory, given what we’ve now learned about how they operate.

          • Kurt 20008

            You need to calm down and take your meds.

            • Athelstane

              You’re right: There’s only 4,000 killed every day. Nothing to get too bent out of shape about.

              • Kurt 20008

                For a grave cause, one might speak rationally rather than hysterically. But with some protection of the unborn is less importance than drawing attention to themselves. Sad.

  • D.T. McCameron

    Sure. Now what’s the price for societal/family pressures and such?

  • PalaceGuard

    Rather neither.

  • Pete the Greek

    Short answer: Yes. Long answer: No.

    “feel compelled”
    – Compelled by financial problems, I assume. Because I’m guessing offering to pay for the child wouldn’t change the mind of an upper class woman who just doesn’t want the career to be uninterrupted.

    Depends on the cost (no I’m not referring to the tax). What if a low middle class woman now feels pressure to have an abortion because half of her income has now been taken from her?

    Does Planned Parenthood still get government funding?

    What about the massive numbers done for convenience?

    Is the tax across the board? Does it only affect certain classes?

    What kind of guarantees do we have that it would actually work?

    What about moral hazard? Can someone earn a nice living at state expense just by deciding to get pregnant and threaten to get an abortion?

    My initial instinct would be no. I say that because I assume you mean it would be a federal tax, which means the government would simply lie about it, take the money and squander it on vote buying and foreign wars. And then come back for more.

    Since the question has zero relation to reality (in fact, it’s what we would call a “50 Ninjas” question), I’ll just assume the best about everything and say sure.

    ON EDIT:
    I should explain what I mean in my last sentence, as I doubt many people know what I mean.

    A “50 Ninjas” question is a type of question that doesn’t really have any relation to reality and is engineer so as to honestly have only one answer you can give. No questions about the premise are allowed to be raised.

    The idea comes from discussions most gun people have had at least at some point with others. The other person asks the gun guy:

    OP: “So, what would you do if you were going someplace and there was going to be a fight.”
    Gun Guy: “Eh, I wouldn’t go there.”
    OP: “But suppose you really needed to go there.”
    GG: “Then I’d call the police and have them sort that out first.”
    OP: “Yeah, but suppose…” blah blah blah until it reaches its conclusion:

    OP: “OK, but what if you are in your back yard and suddenly 50 ninjas jump out of a tree and try to kill you.”
    GG: “Well, I guess I’d have to fight, and then probably die.”

    The GG isn’t allowed to bring up the obvious question of why there are 50 ninjas in his back yard or why they would possibly want to kill him of all people.

    Let me ask a similar question as our host, and put it in gun terms:
    “Would you be willing to have all guns removed from society if it meant there would be no more violence?”

    Now, with that question, even anti-gun people like Mark can see the problem with it. But in the ’50 ninjas world’, the answer would be ‘Yes!’. Think of that! No rape, no murder, no government oppression, NOTHING! You bet your ass I’d be willing to do that.

    But in reality (which the question avoids), the answer is no. Why? Because the only way this ‘deal’ could be offered is for a confiscation of all ‘legal’ arms and a politician’s promise that, REALLY! it’s those that are causing the problem. We know what the result of that would be. Total failure. It would mean giving up everything and getting nothing.

    Anyway, just wanted to expound on the answer a bit.

    • Gunnar Thalweg

      lol. 50 Ninjas question?

      Is that like: Who would win a boxing match–the Hulk or Superman?

      • Pete the Greek

        Not quite. Went ahead and updated my post.

        And the answer to your question is OBVIOUSLY Frank Castle.

    • Gunnar Thalweg

      Thank you for the 50 Ninjas answer. I like it.

  • SteveP

    A 50% income tax — is this a surge in the War on Poverty?
    .
    Pretty funny.

  • Counter-factual.

  • Melanie T.

    I’m pro-life. Only 50% of my income to save even one little life? Yes. Easily, yes, without hesitation. Plus I would know that my money wasn’t going to feed the war-machine. A win-win.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      I’m pretty sure that you could save a life today by giving half your income to charity. There are kids in Haiti who need food, shelter, medicine, clothing, and clean water, and will die without it. Half of your income would go incredibly far in Haiti. I bet you’d be able to prevent an early death in Haiti – maybe even more than one – very easily.

      Nothing is stopping you from making that donation.

      • Melanie T.

        Agreed! Exactly.

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Well are you going to do that today? Easily? Without hesitation?

          • Melanie T.

            I’ve been giving to causes for years and I have supported efforts in Haiti in particular as well. I believe this was a tax question? If I could ensure that my 50% income goes to poverty-stricken mothers and that would then save them from the evils of abortion, then yes, I would do that. Especially if that money was diverted from committing futher evils like bombing innocent people in the Middle East or funding and training ISIS who are now killing Christians in Iraq.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              You originally said that you would give “50% of my income to save even one little life.” I suspect that you want more bang for your buck than one life. Because if you did, you could save a single life today with half your income.

              • Melanie T.

                Good question. A situation recently arose — personal to my family — where I was in a position to directly help a mother. I sent money and would have sent much more if it meant she wouldn’t have an abortion. I would have offered as much as I could in that moment. But the way this question was phrased, it made me think how our taxes are used. They are so severely misused at this point — and I have to pay them anyway — it would be wonderful if the money was better spent at home so that women wouldn’t feel the need to turn to abortion. Does that clarify anything?

                • ManyMoreSpices

                  I’m sorry, I’m not trying to set up a test for you or to do anything to imply that you’re not a good Christian.

                  I just saw you saying that you’d give half your income to save one life. I think you typed that without thinking it all the way through. And it’s important to me that as Catholics and pro-lifers, we’re not being hyperbolic about our willingness to help those in need. Like I said above, I can imagine paying half my income to save lives, plural, but… gee, I just don’t know what my limits are. Because I already could be saving more lives than I am.

                  • Melanie T.

                    No, of course I didn’t think that! It’s a tough question and we all read it differently. I read it as a tax question, but may have answered it not as such. The fact is, there would be an indirect effect if that money was funneled back here and used wisely (ha ha). Directly, taxes aside, of course every single one of us would give half our income to save a life presented in front of us. Wouldn’t we?

                    • ManyMoreSpices

                      I mean, I guess. But the answer to that question is unsatisfying, don’t you think?

                      Someone comes up to you and says that he’ll die unless you empty your bank account for him. You might be moved to do it. But someone half a world away needs the same help, and we don’t feel that compulsion. We can’t feel good about that, can we?

                    • Melanie T.

                      It’s all unsatisfying! Perhaps because this world is so jumbled. We have to balance our own vocation (the welfare of our own children) with what we can do for others. But, I will say, it’s especially painful to think one hard-earned cent of mine is spent on the likes of Planned Parenthood or to buy a bomb that is dropped on a Muslim child.

    • URSULARICHES

      Pro-lifers put our wars out of their minds. I cannot do this, although my own siblings were done away with. I cannot endorse or remain silent about what we are doing to the Syrian people by imposing a NFZ which prevents them from warring against ISIS and the other terrorists. Neither can I forget the direct democracy of ~Libya and the terrorists we supported and protected against the Libyan people. We also created a violent coup in Ukraine who are killing the people in the Donetsk areas. Fortunately Crimea re-united with Russia by popular decision and referendum vote, they are safe and at peace. Glad to see a real pro-lifer here who is anti war.

      • Melanie T.

        I recall when the Iraq war commenced and the Pope and Vatican were attempting to get Bush to reconsider dropping bombs (predicting the exact horrors we see now, including the extinction
        of Christians there)… my very pro-life Catholic friends actually said
        the Pope was either “liberal” on this issue or “ignorant” of foreign policy matters.

    • Guest

      If you would do as you say “without hesitation,” then, as MMS notes below, you are already living on less than 50% of your income since there are numerous opportunities to use money to save multiple lives already.

      • Melanie T.

        The way I think about it is this way: 50% is nominally more than what I pay now and would actually do some good (according to Mark’s terms in his original question — not saying it would actually realistically happen that way, just responding according to his terms) in the world as opposed to paying for bombs to drop on brown people and training extremists who eventually persecute Christians. Where is the outrage that your tax money *right now* is being spent to kill innocents? There seems to be more outrage at the idea of spending money to help pregnant women than at how it is being spent *at this very moment.* Ideally, we slash our Perpetual War Budget and bring all the money home. Hell, I would endorse throwing that money from rooftops rather than buy bombs with it.

        • Guest

          You said you would pay “without hesitation” with the standard of saving “even one little life.” Your own language has expanded the scope of the question; you are implicitly no longer talking exclusively about national abortion or tax policy. You have instead incorporated actions that can be taken unilaterally by an individual.
          I infer from your responses that you do not now expend 50% of your income for the purpose of saving lives. I also assume you weren’t talking about the lives of your own family – your statement implied a duty external to your own immediate circle. If you do not in fact spend 50% of your income for the purpose of saving the lives of strangers, why not? Did you mean what you said? If not, how would you rephrase it?

          I’m not seeking to accuse you – I don’t spend that much of my income that way myself – this is simply to develop what you are trying to say a little.

          • Melanie T.

            Right now I pay an estimated 40% of my income to The State to fund Planned Parenthood and Endless War in the
            Mideast, among other unsavory government activities. Another 10% to actually do some good back home and save unborn children and mothers in financial crises –
            and not a penny of it goes to War or to evil – seems attractive to me. Does that clarify anything?

          • Melanie T.

            I think the question “do you now pay 50% of your income to save lives” is irrelevant. This is a tax question, is it not? I know already that the 50% percent wouldn’t *all* go to save lives, just the minimal increase.

  • I live paycheck to paycheck with three children and a 50% tax would change our lives substantially. Even still, sign me up if it means we end the holocaust.

    • Pete the Greek

      Reread the question. That’s not what it means. If it was ‘end all abortion, period’ Yup.

  • Kurt 20008

    yes and yes. Of course, the pro-aborts already took the offered deal. The right wing just kept making up new excuses.

  • Gunnar Thalweg

    There is no amount of money sufficient so that “no woman would feel compelled to have an abortion because of financial worries.” That’s because you would immediately create an incentive to have children and go on the public dole. Did you miss the failure of the Great Society and the destruction of minority communities since the 1960s? Or do you believe, golly, if I can just have enough of other people’s money, I can fix all these social problems?

    I will be glad to chip in 50% IF the problems got solved. I think most people would. But we have seen that social welfare programs build bureaucracies and create political rent-seekers who tend to do things like call folks racist who try to hold them accountable, because there are never enough resources and never enough time and because people are not cogs in a machine and add x dollars and everything’s OK. So it’s a counter-reality question. The problem is not what, the problem is how.

    Christ said the change comes heart-to-heart, and that without that initial change of heart, along with humility and willingness to repent, you have fallen into the first temptation — which is saying with the devil “Make these stones become bread” before acknowledging that first “Man lives by every word from the living God” first. Change of heart, then bread.

    • URSULARICHES

      Not living in the street, having enough to eat and having clothing and heating really does help many women to choose life.

      • Gunnar Thalweg

        … so give us your money or the baby gets it.

  • Guest30

    Stop trying to make a complex issue black or white. And no-one is pro-abortion, we are pro-choice. Would the Church stop trying to overturn Roe v. Wade? Would Congress actually use the money to address the root causes of abortion? Would all faith based organizations provide contraception?

    • Gunnar Thalweg

      Pro-choice: don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave.

      How about anti-abolitionist instead?

      • Guest30

        Forced birth is slavery too.

        • Pete the Greek

          Considering that in almost every case the participants were responsible for the behavior that led to the creation of life, your comparison is faulty.

          • Guest30

            Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. And birth control fails, and medical emergencies happen which endanger the mother’s life. My sister had an ectopic pregnancy, would you condemn her to death? After I gave birth, I had an internal tear which caused me to lose 5 cups of blood and dropped my blood pressure to 44/0. I also suffered post-partum depression.

            • Pete the Greek

              Considering that contraception on any kind is never 100%, yes, by definition, you are accepting the risk.

              I think what you genuinely lack is any comprehension of the concept of obligation.

              • Guest30

                Well, Planned Parenthood provides access to contraception so it reduces abortions. I understand obligation better than you do; I want to make sure the existing population of children are taken care of.

                • Pete the Greek

                  Ad hominem? Recognizing a glaring flaw in your reasoning (or lack thereof) is an ‘ad hominem now?

                  Oh please, if you can’t discuss a topic like an adult go somewhere else.

                  “Planned Parenthood provides access to contraception so it reduces abortions.”
                  – yes, and Apple provides a repair service so they reduce the demand for new phones. Accept I think you see what the problem is.

                • Pete the Greek

                  “I understand obligation better than you do”
                  – Reading your rambling, very poor excuses for your position, no, I think it’s rather obvious you don’t.

                • Sue Korlan

                  Actually, they do their best to provide access to contraceptives that will fail so that they can have the money from abortions and the sale of baby body parts. Their condoms are rated as being most likely to tear during use. They teach people rhythm and tell them it’s NFP ( I explained the difference to one PP supporter in a junior high school who had just told a student how to use rhythm and told her it was NFP. I corrected her and explained the difference and the difference in effectiveness).

                • AquinasMan

                  Walgreens provides access to contraception, too. But they don’t have a butcher shop in back, so … Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything essential that others don’t do.

                • Dennis Mahon

                  No – they provide contraception because they know that it will eventually fail.

            • Pete the Greek

              Wait, you had problems AFTER you gave birth? So you want to do a retroactive abortion so you don’t?

              And still you have zero concept of obligation.

              • Guest30

                Ad hominem attack. yes, I had problems after I gave birth and that is one reason my husband and I chose not to have another child. We had the obligation to take care of our existing child.

                • Pete the Greek

                  And if you were to conceive, contraception or not, you would have an obligation to that child as well. You freely admit that no contraception is 100$%, therefor you are accepting pregnancy as a possibility.

                  Then also accept the obligation. It’s what adults do.

            • masterhibb

              “Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.”

              The most concise summary of the inherent idiocy of the sexual revolution I have yet to encounter.

            • SteveP

              Biology fail. Logic fail.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              I’m terribly sorry to hear of your pregnancy and post-pregnancy problems.

              It’s a little odd that you’re discussing “consent to sex” as if we’re having a discussion about rape. But let’s put that aside.

              Freely choosing any act at all means that you are responsible for (at least) the foreseeable consequences of that act. Pregnancy is a foreseeable consequence of sex.

              If we followed this logic all the way through, then fathers shouldn’t have to pay child support, because they never consented to being fathers when they had sex.

              As for medical emergencies that “endanger the mother’s life,” I have three comments:

              (i) Kudos for using the term “mother.”
              (ii) You should read up on the principle of double-effect, as well as the Catholic solution to the “trolley problem” and its variants.
              (iii) The existence of hard cases doesn’t solve the easy cases. Even if I were to concede that abortion was acceptable in the case of a severely disabled fetus, that wouldn’t imply that abortion was acceptable for a healthy fetus.

        • Guest30
          • Guest

            That’s completely unsupported by your link. “Forced birth” doesn’t appear at all on that page. “Forced pregnancy” does, but look at the definition:

            “Confining one or more women forced to become pregnant with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of a population as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.”

            Prohibiting the killing of a child conceived under any circumstances is nothing at all like what’s described in that definition. The crime is the impregnation under color of law, not a requirement to continue pregnancy once it begins.

          • Pete the Greek

            If the results of ACTUAL war crimes were what we were talking about, it would be a different discussion. Nice red herring, though.

        • SteveP

          Oh good — I can claim victim status: I was evicted from the womb WITHOUT MY CONSENT–clearly a case of forced birth. Is that even legal? How much are we considering as adequate reparation?

          • Pete the Greek

            Well, that might depend on the state. Did you receive 30 notice of Pay or Quit from your mom? 😛

            • SteveP

              She did not follow the legal process — she just started clamping down on me for no good reason and then — boom — I was out on my ear. 😉

              • Pete the Greek

                I bet you cried a lot at the time didn’t you, ya big baby!

                • SteveP

                  I did. I was so emotionally distraught at the time I did nothing but eat and gain weight.

    • BillyT92679

      horseshit

      there are PLENTY of leftists who are even honestly pro-abortion, to go along with the many that claim “pro-choice” while never really supporting the whole adoption or keep the baby choices

    • Athelstane

      What do you think are “the root causes of abortion?”

      • Guest30

        Poverty, lack of child care, lack of prenatal care, not enough well paying jobs, lack of sex education, lack of sick leave/maternity/paternity leave.

        • URSULARICHES

          Cultural lifestyle, the ability of men to walk away with impunity, lack of love, lack of husband, lack of (loving) family and lack of friends with time. These factor along with poverty.

        • Peggy

          Wrong answer. People having sex outside of marriage.

        • Sue Korlan

          All the kids in school get sex education. It’s mandated in the American school system.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    Weird pairing of these two questions. The question to the pro-aborts doesn’t require them to give up anything. They get something that they want but don’t currently have – free healthcare generally – but not everything they want. Whereas pro-lifers have to give up something they have (money) to get something they want.

    I also don’t know how often financial concerns are what motivate abortions. What’s daunting about children is less the money they cost than the time and energy they consume. If you don’t want to care for a child, reducing the costs of doing so will not change your mind.

    As for the answer to the tax-rate question, well, I don’t know. Depends on how many abortions we’re talking here, and whether that’s a 50% effective tax rate on me or a 50% upper bracket. And before you jump on me for being a vile Mammon-worshipping Trump-Cheney love-child, let me suggest to you that everyone has financial limits. If I told you that we could eradicate a disease that kills a million people every year by spending a billion dollars every year, we’d almost certainly do it. A thousand people saved for a billion? Maybe. But one life saved at a price of a hundred billion dollars? I don’t think anyone spends that money.

    And at that point, as Sir Winston said to the society woman he just called a prostitute, we’re just haggling about price.

    I’m much more troubled by a far more realistic scenario: what if we could cut the abortion rate in half by spending a negligible sum, but the mechanism for that reduction would be that the government gave free contraceptives and vasectomies to any people who desired them?

    I would never suggest that anyone do something evil in the hope of accomplishing good. But given that people are going to have sex outside of marriage, can we say that a contracepted sex act between two unmarried people becomes more sinful than one that’s open to life? It’s already mortal sin. I don’t think it becomes mortal-er.

  • JustACatholic

    Seems like an oversimplified meme-inspired presumption. Does anyone really have an abortion simply to save some arbitrary amount of money they may or may not have in the future (and cannot know)? Maybe. But I think the real cause, in general, is simply sin. Evil. Regardless of who is responsible for the act (husband, boyfriend, the woman herself) or the circumstances (coercion, etc.). Because of sin and concupiscence, abortion will continue to exist, even if people can “afford” more children.

  • Peggy

    While non-white abortions are picking up, the most common seekier of abortions is an unmarried white woman over 18..who doesn’t want a baby to screw up her career plans or plans to wear a white dress in a few years. No tax increase could stop that.

    • JustACatholic

      Indeed (see above). This is a moral problem, not an economic one. Trying to solve it with taxes instead of Christ is absurd.

  • Chris W

    Pro Life, my answer is no I would not support a 50% income tax for this purpose. But, not for the reason you probably suspect.
    When we give to Ceasar to do what we are called to do, we invite Ceasar into our calling and in our name. This never works well because our Ceasar is a secular god and will demand we now comply with his secular demands. This has been clearly seen in everything from adoption agencies to soup kitchens to health care.

  • URSULARICHES

    FIRST of all, NFP should be widely taught and not just to engaged and married couples, it should be taught at schools and be used as a tool of subtle but plain evangelization. As contraception requires abortion to back it up, NFP requires chastity and self control and committed relationships to back it up. This will not be lost if it is taught well. Women and men want to know how their bodies and their fertility works. This knowledge is extremely self-powering and awesome. I really believe in NFP, that it is such a good thing and that this is to be the means of bringing our licentious world back into order.
    The contraceptives were the means to increase licentiousness and so its nemesis, NFP will work for good.
    I think men should be put on a higher tax system for fathering babies out of wedlock. This should be highest for the first child but increase for every additional child born out of wedlock, sufficiently to make this tax a disincentive to licentiousness. Unwed dads should have no automatic rights to the child, they would have to show that it would be good for the mum and baby and that they deserve rights to the child.
    Mums should not be put on a higher tax system even if they walk away from the child because they have given the child life and because paying for the child would be a deterrent to have the child and because if they walk away from the child, even if the father takes care of the child, the child should be considered to be adopted.
    Women should be protected from men who would like to harm them in order to get out of paying a higher tax.
    Women who are mothers and who are pregnant should have their rent paid up to a certain (low/medium) amount and should have money to live on from the state and the taxes from all of the fathers who fathered out of wedlock. If they are married, they should receive a monthly income instead of free child care and instead of tax relief for their husbands and themselves. This sum should go up a small amount for each subsequent child but not enough to make additional children an incentive financially. When they earn, they can pay a higher tax but as they receive an income they should not mind or be out of pocket. Taxes should be increased by 10% but savings from making war and coups and training terrorists and from blanket surveillance must be stopped thus saving half of American GDP.

    • masterhibb

      As long as we’re envisioning a Brave New World where the only benefit men can provide a child is financial, why not go the rest of way? Instead of funneling money to some woman with the demonstrably excellent foresight to get knocked up without a husband so she can essentially be a state-subsidized nanny, why not just have the state take the baby and spend the tax money on a professional to do the job?

      I mean, your plan already removes any human dignity from the father (now merely a revenue-generator) and the child (who is simply an object to be discarded by the mother at her leisure, not entitled to know either of his parents). Why the pretense at retaining some shred of dignity for the mother when the plan already inherently supposes she is completely irresponsible? More efficient to leave day-care to the experts!

      Really, who needs family at all? Put Mum to work with Dad and have them both fund the government childhood internment/enrichment camps!

    • LFM

      Fathers are already on a higher tax system for fathering children in wedlock and out of it. It’s called “child support” – and btw, it is fathers (aka non-custodial parents, as they usually are) who have to pay taxes on the income that they pay out in child support. The end result of this system has been that fewer men are inclined to marry the mothers of their children, or to earn a decent income whose fruits they are never able to make use of to start up households of their own.

      “Boo-hoo”, you may say with a smirk, but that attitude ignores the fact that many unmarried women become pregnant intentionally; that married women are more likely than their husbands to file for divorce; and that men have far fewer rights over their children’s fate under the present system than women do.

      The sexual revolution hasn’t exactly been beneficial to women, but it did make matters easier for women who would prefer to be mothers without the burden of wifehood, which is arguably its worst consequence.

  • masterhibb

    Two equally interesting questions:

    For anti-gun folks:
    Would you accept an automatic federally-mandated death penalty for all murder if it meant that no man would ever feel compelled to settle his personal disputes with gun violence?

    For pro-gun folks:
    Would you accept federal legislation to issue every US citizen firearms and ammunition at no (personal) cost, even if they didn’t give you that slick assault rifle you had your eye on? I mean, you could still buy it, it just wouldn’t be free. We’ll also stop griping and let you buy as big a magazine as you want, as long as you’re the one paying for it.

    • Pete the Greek

      I understand what you’re trying to point out, but I think one could validly, even in a 50 ninjas world, point out a moral difference between forced death penalty and higher taxes.

      Second point: No.

      • masterhibb

        Can you rephrase your comment? I admit it’s not a direct analog to the proposed question, but I can’t parse your criticism. I want to know if I miscommunicated the analogy, or if it’s just the wrong one.

  • Guest

    “Would you accept a 50% income tax if it ensured that no woman would ever feel compelled to have an abortion because of financial worries?”

    No. The premise of the question is extortionary. I recognize an obligation to help the poor, but I accept no responsibility – either individual or collective – for the actions of a woman who decided that by some arbitrary standard she was compelled to murder her child.

    I might entertain such a tax rate in the interest of achieving the good circumstances you are talking about (though I am skeptical about its actual efficacy)3, but not for the purpose of paying off people so they don’t do monstrously evil things. Even if the results are the same, the difference in motive is an incredibly dangerous policy line to cross.

  • Andy

    Shameless clickbait, Mark. Now I have to spend 20 minutes reviewing all the lame Republican excuses for why the world surely needs saving, just not with MY money…

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Are you donating 50% of your income to charity?

      If not, would you kindly provide me with your lame excuse for not doing so?

      • Andy

        I think we all agree that it wouldn’t actually work. But the question is, “Would you accept a 50% income tax IF IT ENSURED that no woman would ever feel compelled to have an abortion because of financial worries?”

        The answer is: “Yes!”

        Also acceptable: “Duh!”

        • Pete the Greek

          Ah! Someone else recognizes the 50 Ninjas!

        • masterhibb

          I’m still holding out for the assurance there are no more abortions. I’d not agree to pay one spare cent of taxes for someone’s feelings.

        • Guest

          Forgive me, but eliminating a single motive for a particular evil doesn’t even seem like a good trade, let alone an obvious one.

          • Paul

            …kinda like negotiating with terrorists

            • Guest

              Indeed, when I read questions like this my first thought is “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute,” and my second is of Kiplling’s poem “Dane-Geld.”

        • ManyMoreSpices

          (i) Number of abortions that occur “because of financial worries” < all abortions.

          (ii) It's not wrong to oppose a 50% tax that would result in only one prevented abortion. No one thinks that society is required to spend a trillion dollars to save one life.

          (iii) 0 < # of abortions that occur "because of financial worries" < all abortions.

          So at some point, the number of financially motivated abortions becomes large enough to justify the expense. Do you know that number? Because where you locate that number is the reason that the answer to this question isn't "duh."

          • Andy

            73%

            https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

            Most women gave more than one reason. Maybe a lot of them would lean on another reason if the financial concern was alleviated. No doubt many would choose life.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              To reduce abortions by 73%, sure, I’d do it.

              But, I mean, financial concerns are always a factor with children. That includes women who are wealthy enough to afford children. If a woman with a six-figure income says that she wants an abortion for financial reasons, she may be telling the truth. I’m not sure if we put her on welfare, though. Actually… I’m sure we don’t.

        • LFM

          The trouble is that a completely impossible hypothetical, like a tax “ensuring” that no woman would ever feel compelled to have an abortion because of financial worries, does not make for a satisfactory option. Who would pay the tax – people who are already struggling financially? How do you define “financial worries” – a very subjective matter, as some here point out? How would the results be “ensured” – the hardest question of all? Readers can object to any and all of these issues without being charged with making “lame Republican excuses”.

          And the first hypothetical is all the worse because the second one, although not feasible in today’s political climate, is not an absolute impossibility. It vaguely resembles current arrangements in the US that forbid the use of public money for abortion in certain situations; this is difficult to enforce, as the second option would be, but it is a theoretical possibility and perhaps, with enough commitment, a practical one.

          You can’t make a fair distinction between two possible sets of people who might choose between two possible options if the first option is not merely difficult but borders on ridiculous.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    For pacifists:

    Would you accept a 50% income tax if it ensured that no country would ever feel compelled to go to war because of copper shortages?

    • chezami

      Copper shortages?

      • Pete the Greek

        A bit too narrow. Perhaps more of a general ‘natural resource shortage’ would be better?

        • ManyMoreSpices

          Sure. The point is that we’re not being asked to pay a 50% tax to stop all abortions. I could get on board with that, but that’s not the question. We’re asked for a 50% tax to stop abortions that occur “because of financial worries.” How many is that number?

          Similarly, there are many reasons that countries fight wars. Copper shortages could be one of them. But if all you’re getting for your 50% tax is an end to the copper wars… well, maybe you won’t pay that price.

  • Cypressclimber

    On the 50% tax — no, because if someone actually made such a proposal, I’d make a counter-proposal. There’s no doubt in my mind that whatever additional tax expenditure would be needed to achieve that outcome would be far less than that.

  • Would you accept a 50% tax increase if it let the government pay people to be happy and not worry and love other people and never say a cross thing to them?

    Is this a sophomore bull session but without the beer?

    Decades ago I knew an anthropologist who lived with indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon. Their numbers had been in the 300s, but after a small pox epidemic they were down to 80-90. She said they spent time making babies and building up their numbers when they were not gardening, hunting, taking it easy in their hammocks, or – this was for the men – partaking of a highly potent hallucinogen on most evenings. The kids were cherished, coddled and precious to them.

    That was a situation in which there would have been few or no abortions, had abortion been an option.

    These are not simple matters.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Are you implying that gardening and hunting for food are not legitimate forms of work? It seems to me that there is nothing wrong with those people’s lifestyle: they lived simply, away from our consumer society, and had all their needs met. In addition, they had a reasonably good family life. What is wrong with that? There is no need for everybody to join the rat race.

  • Jimmy Bobby

    Dig the “ticking time-bomb” scenarios, Mark!

  • anna lisa

    Would I? Sure. It wouldn’t make much difference. The government, healthcare costs and our children already have dibs on everything.

    What about the Catholic parents of large families who already have extremely limited means? Isn’t posing that question a bit cruel? It’s like saying “*your* baby or *her* baby?” or ” If you don’t agree you would give half away to save the babies, you’re not truly pro-life.”

    Creepy.

    .

    • freddy

      Not only that, the scenario does not propose the saving of a single unborn life; just making sure no woman ‘felt compelled’ because of financial means. Considering the abortion rate among well off college women and professional women, this is less than a sop. Also, considering the government’s track record with the monies they already collect, additional monies are no guarantee of achievement of stated aims.
      As you said. Creepy.
      What’s behind this?

      • anna lisa

        Selfishness: the root of all evil.

        Did you read about Pope Francis marveling over the abundance of children in Bolivia and Ecuador?

        What’s the difference between the wealthy U.S. and poor South American countries?

        Layers of family around young mothers.

        • freddy

          Pope Francis gets it. Making young mothers welcome and cared for, not by a soulless bureaucracy but by a community, making young women valued for themselves and not as commodities, building and strengthening families will have more impact on abortion rates than a tax burden that punishes struggling middle class families.
          .
          We’re raising a big family out here in flyover country. The tax thing, well, you can’t get blood from a turnip, you know? Could I do more? Sure! I’m trying, anyway. But Mark’s dichotomies above are so ‘ninja-monkeys’ they’re not really worth thinking about.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            Having support from family, whether it’s their parents, sibling, husband or more extended family, seems to be a huge factor in whether or not women (or teens) decide to birth their babies or abort them–at least in the families I’ve known personally.

  • Lamprotatia

    I am all for the social safety net. But a 50% income tax is absolutely not necessary to ensure adequate means for every parent in the country. And as someone who had my first three children while very poor, I am insulted at the idea that basically women like me should require a bribe to do what is morally right and not order the killing of helpless infants.

  • Dave G.

    Quick answer? No to the first. We’re barely making it now. 50% taxes would send us over the edge and into the streets. Though I admire the individual who asked the question for being willing to end up on the street for a cause. UHC? I don’t know. I’d have to think about it.

  • anna lisa

    I was having a small cow last weekend over someone (gorgeous!) that I love.

    Three years ago her steady boyfriend, (the only one she has ever had) told her that he would marry her if she earned her master’s degree and landed a good job. She dutifully fulfilled the requirements within two years.

    We bite our tongues when she travels down the coast to stay with him for long weekends. We looked the other way when she spent two weeks in Hawaii with him last month thinking (cringing) she’d come home with a diamond on her finger.
    –Nothing.

    So as I was having my small cow, my husband was shaking his head at me saying “do you think that loser wants to be saddled with a wife and kids? He gets to fly to sporting events. He has all of his bro’s. With his income, there’s no shortage of babes on the side, or on his laptop. Getting married out there, in the world he lives in, is no longer considered honorable–same with having children. In his eyes he’s already *living the dream*”.

    She’s pushing thirty, and just doesn’t get it.

    If she got pregnant, she’d never abort. Her extended family would step in and make the difference.

    I suspect that part of the problem might be her own attitude toward marriage. Her Dad didn’t provide well for his family. Government checks sucked the initiative out of him. His wife gave up on him decades ago when he decided that it was easier to let the government emasculate him than work full time for more than a few consecutive months/years. The poor girl might just be playing it safe from the fate of a dysfunctional, so-called marriage.

    • W. Randolph Steele

      Or doesn’t care.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      I suspect that part of the problem might be her own attitude toward marriage.

      I suspect that few people buy the cow when they can get the milk for free.

      • Sue Korlan

        Or the pig when they can have the sausage for free.

      • anna lisa

        One of the reasons I bite my tongue is that I don’t know for certain what she is up to with this guy, but it certainly looks to her family that she is wasting her time at the very least. –Not sure she is putting out –to use an equally vulgar term–(I really hate women being referred to as animals, and I think you would be ashamed to say that of her if you knew her) but the fact remains that she is at least living in an occasion of sin. She has behaved like a model citizen her entire life, is quiet, and retiring but is beautiful on the outside and inside (5’8″, blonde, blue-eyed and slim). Her work is humanitarian and admirable. Few people have the patience and virtue to do what she does.. My point is that her lack of urgency, or need of pushing the envelope with this guy, says more about her disillusionment with marriage and reticence to be at the mercy of not only a man, but a sacrament(?) She has never seen her parents behaving like they were in love, so *dysfunction* is on her blue print. Maybe the welfare system is the saving grace for some families, but in her case (and I suspect quite a few others), it is more destructive.

        • Joseph

          Loads of modern women are deceived into thinking that it isn’t wise to get married or have children until well into their 30s, as if it’s a barricade to a happy life. Don’t get me started about modern men. I even fell for it to some degree. We didn’t have our first until I was 31 and my wife was 33. At least we didn’t wait any later. It’s much more risky for women to wait to have children even in their early 30s.
          .
          So, they buy the modern logic of waiting just to find out that they’re so old that it’s either harder to have children or it’s more risky for both them and the baby. The Father of Lies knows well what he’s doing. Scare, scare, scare… promise happiness where it can’t be found.

          • anna lisa

            Yes, you are perfectly right, the father of lies convinces us that we are being prudent, when really we’re being ruled by fear, and the inability to say “yes!” because “maybe…” sounds more safe. We all fall into that trap–some worse than others–but some have had a bad example. The sins of the parent(s) are visited upon the children.

  • iamlucky13

    Those are outrageously disproportionate comparisons.

    Even accepting the USDA’s laughably inflated estimate that raising a child to adulthood in this country costs $245,000, and assuming that preventing any abortions required that full amount be paid by the taxpayers for every at risk baby, the hypothetical for the pro-life side is exaggerated by roughly 65 times what it would actually take. I guess if the need were really, truly that extreme, I’d be hard-pressed to find a moral basis to say no, but in reality, the question is delusional.

    The other hypothetical is only slightly different from the status quo.

    Basically, the question suggests one side must effectively enslave themselves or accept the guilt of abortion massacre, yet asks nothing of the other side except not to saddle others with the reported $500-$3,000 cost of the procedure in exchange for the right to murder with abandon.

  • Linebyline

    This seems like scrupulosity to me. One thing I have a really hard time with due to my own scrupulosity is thinking that since I really don’t want to do something, it must be the right thing to do: If I were to opt not to do it, it wouldn’t be for moral reasons, but to avoid the unpleasant consequence.

    The problem there, which should be obvious, is that doing the right thing isn’t inherently unpleasant, nor is the wrong thing (whether morally or practically) necessarily fun–indeed, as you often say, the devil would love to take your soul and give you nothing in return.

    Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” Sure, that doesn’t mean all the time: He also promised plenty of hardship and suffering. But I think it’s fair to conclude that the right thing doesn’t have to be a difficult, heavy burden. No, I don’t want to give up half my income. That doesn’t necessarily mean that giving up half my income is the right thing to do.

    What we should do instead is analyze the proposed solution to see whether and how well it would work, at what cost, and whether the costs are worth it. That applies to absolutely any proposed solution to absolutely any problem.

    First, would it work? Obviously it would work at least a little; we’re accepting that as part of the hypothetical. Would it work well? I’m not convinced. Sure, many abortions are due to financial pressures. Many aren’t, and many are partially for that reason but partially for other reasons.

    Of course, each human life is of infinite value, so not only is anything better than nothing, but it would be worth the money. It’s just that money is not the only cost. A 50% income tax would be a severe hardship for some families. It would drive them into poverty or force them into extreme (and unjust) work schedules* to make ends meet, which will result** in many other problems, including ones that cost human lives: Suicide, drug addiction, prostitution (as an additional source of income), further disintegration of the family (from parents being at work instead of home), and all the health problems that result from increased stress, just to name a few. That’s ignoring (as a condition of the hypothetical) that this is exactly the kind of financial pressure that causes the abortions we’re supposed to be preventing.

    Now, I don’t know what all these costs will be, specifically. So I can’t really say that they won’t be worth it. But neither can I say for certain that they will be, much less that (as your post seems to imply) refusal to accept the deal implies selfishness or lack of concern for the unborn.

    *That is, unless you plan on increasing wages to match, in which case it defeats the point of the hypothetical, which is a financial sacrifice on the part of pro-lifers, not to mention requiring that money be created ex nihilo.

    **Of course, most of these “results” are the conscious choices of those affected, but then so is the decision of a financially-pressured pregnant woman to abort.

  • virago

    A qualified yes to the pro-life question.
    Because this is hypothetical I will give an in kind answer, I would submit to a 50% tax if that ensured NO abortion because financial reasons aren’t the only reason women have abortions. Sometimes, often, it is not even a concern.
    But my equation makes no sense, if a woman is going to abort because here boyfriend wants her to abort,, then it doesn’t matter what resources are offered.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I like the point behind the first question. We are our brothers’, and sisters’, keepers. Justice and charity demand a more equitable distribution of resources and wealth. Would we willingly part with that much of our own to save even one mother and child? Obviously, this question begs more than a moment’s thought.

    I am reminded of Dorothy Day’s Christ rooms. Some charities own corporate homes, which provide for mothers in crisis pregnancies. Some few of these even provide a home for any other children these mothers may have (some will not seek admission to the home because it means leaving their other children in another’s, even the state’s, care).

    Frugality is a virtue for more than one reason, and most especially when it lets us provide for another from our abundance.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      Would we willingly part with that much of our own to save even one mother and child?

      No we wouldn’t, because if we would, we already would have.

      Maybe we’d do it for a good friend, but if you want to save lives with half your income right now, you can do it. You can give up half your income right now and get food, medicine, clean water, and shelter to more than one Haitian.

  • Sue Korlan

    To question #1: I live at approximately the poverty level and I’m not going to starve to death so someone else can have her child. You can have everything above the poverty level, but that is going to be WELL below 50%.

    To question #2: You need to add contraceptives to that list of non-covered items.

  • Mike Petrik

    Let me make clear what one is buying for Mark’s tax hike: We would no longer have to worry about a woman feeling compelled to abort her baby for financial reasons. Now, the word “feel” does a lot of heavy lifting here, since no woman actually is compelled to abort her child for financial reasons. But if this would eliminate the feeling then presumably it would eliminate some abortions, though one cannot be absolutely certain even of that.

    • AquinasMan

      This is a materialist conundrum that Mark is presenting. The 50% tax idea doesn’t work, because we can’t overcome sin by throwing “the Devil’s dung” at a problem. It doesn’t take into account the nature of sin, which is selfishness and pride. Financial anxiety is merely something to hide behind — an easy excuse to abandon the Natural Law. There will simply be another “anxiety” to hide behind — loss of esteem, loss of personal opportunities, loss of leisure time, etc. So it’s a false proposition to begin with.

    • Peggy

      In some quarters, a baby is a revenue stream.

  • Dennis Mahon

    Yes. I would accept a 50% tax if it would end abortion.

  • Joseph

    I would allow for a tax increase to fund crisis pregnancy centers and extended help centers for women. However, I think we could reduce the tax increase necessary by taking back some of the taxpayer money used to fund ISIS, the Mexican Cartel, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Also, reduce spending on killing people all around the world and starting wars through foreign policy. Also, reduce spending on *NGOs* carefully inserted into nations to spread propaganda, create political unrest, start revolutions, coerce nations to legalise abortion and gay marriage, feeding poor nations with condoms instead of food, etc. Think of all of the tax money we *could* be spending on helping people rather than hurting them.