Yesterday, Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders made yet another wild and unfounded statement on twitter:
Let's be clear about the argument laid out in this tweet. Bernie isn't even having a conversation about whether or not abortion should be legal. He's moving past that, and now stating that not only should they be legal, but you have a "constitutional right" to an abortion paid for by other people. The problem he's pinpointing is not abortion's legality, but the terrible tragedy of only rich people being able to afford abortions.
Sanders loosely derives this conclusion from the famous Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade. But remember, Roe v. Wade did not lay out that the government should use taxpayer money to subsidize abortions. It simply said that the 4th Amendment protected a woman's privacy in this matter.
Brian Clowes, PhD, laid out the opposition to this argument for hli.org:
Abortion is not a constitutional right according to the strict text of the Constitution, but it has been justified as a constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment’s protection of privacy. In short, the constitutional right to abortion is found not in the Constitution itself, but in a loose reading of it.
This constitutional argument is often used by pro-abortionists. As former U.S. President Barack Obama once asserted, “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.”1 Obama, once a law professor, should have known that this right doesn’t actually exist ― the Supreme Court literally conjured it out of thin air.
The interesting part of this equation is in Bernie Sanders using the case to make the claim that you now have a right to a "free" abortion. Please note that having the right to pay a doctor to perform an abortion is not the same as the right to force someone else to pay your doctor for an abortion.
Sheldon Richman made a great argument for FEE.org back in 2001:
Proponents of taxpayer funding of abortion, such as the Times, obfuscate by fusing the freedom to do something with taxpayer funding. They argue that withdrawing subsidies is equivalent to banning abortions. Notice how the editorial invokes the constitutionality of abortion—as though if something is constitutional, it ought to be subsidized. A similar argument is made by those who say that failing to subsidize a particular artist is “censorship.” Of course, that’s absurd. Lots of things that are unsubsidized are done legally every day. The issues are entirely separable. The Times knows that, but its political agenda depends on not acknowledging it.
It doesn’t take much intellectual candlepower to see that there’s a huge gulf between stopping someone from doing something and abstaining from lending a hand—or from forcing others to do so. In a society widely touted as free, that should be a rather elementary distinction. What are we to make of those who are determined not to see it?
The idea that the withdrawal of subsidies constitutes a “gag rule” is ludicrous. No one is stopped from promoting abortion by Mr. Bush’s order. Those who today promote abortion can continue until they run out of breath. They just can’t have the taxpayers’ money if they do so. That rule violates no one’s freedom.
The logical conclusion
Take a moment to play this principle from Bernie Sanders out to its logical conclusion. If you have the Constitutional right to do something, does that also mean that it should be provided to you for free? You have the right to buy food, a car, your cellphone, a house, or any number of things offered to consumers. An abortion is just another service offered by a service provider. Assuming that you do have the constitutional right to obtain something, does that also mean that you have the constitutional right to have those things provided to you by other people?
This situation falls in line with everything else Bernie Sanders supports. That is, that if you cannot afford a product or service, then someone else should be forced to provide it for you. Removing a subsidy for something is not the same thing as "restricting access."
This one doesn't stand the test of playing it out to its logical conclusion, but I doubt very seriously that this will be a principled concern for B.S.