Why Governments That Fund Elective Abortion Are Obligated to Attempt a Reduction in the Elective Abortion Rate

J Bioeth Inq. 2016 Mar;13(1):87-94. doi: 10.1007/s11673-015-9687-8. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


If elective abortion is publicly funded, then the government is obligated to take active measures designed to reduce its prevalence. I present two arguments for that conclusion. The first argument is directed at those pro-choice thinkers who hold that while some or all elective abortions are morally wrong, they still ought to be legally permitted and publicly subsidized. The second argument is directed at pro-choice thinkers who hold that there is nothing morally wrong with elective abortion and that it should be both legally permitted and publicly subsidized. The second argument employs premises that generalize beyond the abortion debate and that may serve to shed light on broader questions concerning conscience and the requirements of political compromise in a democracy.

Keywords: Abortion; Conscience; Funding; Policy; Pro-choice; Taxation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / economics*
  • Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Canada
  • Conscience
  • Democracy
  • Dissent and Disputes
  • Ethical Analysis
  • Ethical Theory
  • Female
  • Financing, Government*
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Moral Obligations*
  • Pregnancy
  • Public Policy
  • Taxes*