Please solve the problem, not the symptoms

[This is not a pro-choice or pro-life post. I would feel exactly the same whether I was pro-life or pro-choice.]

I was reading the Economist and was astounded to see that funding for abortions was a big enough issue to be mentioned as part of an article about the Washington DC economy:

But the latest budget deal largely spared the region’s economy. The federal government will continue to chip in for the city’s rail transit system; but as part of the deal the District can no longer use its own money to pay for abortions. This will hurt the city’s poorer residents

(What the Economist doesn’t say is that the real reason people are upset is not because it will hurt poor people but because (a) it’s a case of the federal government trying to control the city’s budget and (b) it’s part of the whole abortion debate we’ve been having for years.)

But what really struck me was, “wow, how many women in DC get abortions?” I mean, if it’s big enough to impact the city budget, shouldn’t we try to help them not have unwanted pregnancies?

I wasn’t able to find an answer I trust but this obviously biased site claims that DC has 265 abortions for every 100 live births. Wow. And people are worried about whether abortion is legal or not, funded or not, … that’s not the issue. How come so many women end up pregnant that don’t want to? Is it lack of education? Lack of birth control? Relationships that are ending prematurely? Did they want to get pregnant and changed their minds? Did they get pregnant accidentally? Do many women have more than one abortion? What is going on here? Why aren’t we addressing that?

So I think the issue of how the federal government controls DC’s budget is important. But I also think it’s really important to help these women not get pregnant, if they don’t want to be.

2 Replies to “Please solve the problem, not the symptoms”

  1. Per Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution, Congress has the power to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases” over the District of Columbia. There are a couple ways to change that.

    You could propose a constitutional amendment to change Congress’s plenary power over DC. It’s a bit difficult to do that, but it’s possible.

    You could also substantially trim down the size of DC. It can’t constitutionally exceed 10 miles square, but there’s no real reason it must occupy the amount of land it occupies. If you trimmed that land to, say, the Mall, the Capitol, the White House, and a bunch of federal-government office buildings, Congress would no longer control DC. But then you then have the question of where the rest of DC would go. Every discussion I’ve heard says Virginia wouldn’t want it, and probably Maryland wouldn’t either. A new state? Perhaps, but I don’t see Congress giving up that power.

    I’m not aware of other solutions to the concern, although I may just not be thinking creatively enough. Anyway, a fun dilemma to ponder.

    1. The DC vs Federal government issue is definitely an issue. But I still feel for all those women having abortions that didn’t want to be pregnant. No matter where the money comes from, they are in a bad spot.

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