Proposition 1: Rights, not Taxes

From Our Readers

To the Editors of The Crimson:

I was fascinated to read, in the same few days, Michael Pakaluk's piece on Proposition 1 (Crimson Forum, October 4) and his essay in Veritas Reconsidered (September, 1986) on the decline of "sexual morality."

In the Crimson article, Pakaluk poses as a liberal, mouthing the anti-abortion lobby's line that Proposition 1, on the Massachusetts ballot November 4, is "only a tax issue"--though it is really a sweeping attack on abortion rights for everyone, rich and poor. The Veritas Reconsidered essay, however, reveals a radically conservative political and social agenda.

In that essay, Pakaluk writes: "There is, I hold, a direct link between widespread acceptance of the mores of sexual promiscuity and a decline in the liberal arts....And I hold, furthermore, that Harvard, insofar as it takes no step to encourage chastity among its students, adopts a policy that undermines its explicit dedication to liberal learning." He goes on to argue that the University should actively encourage chastity in the student body.

This is the perspective that lies behind Proposition 1. Supporters of this constitutional amendment don't want to just cut off public funding for abortion--after all, that would only restrict freedom of choice for poor women. They want to cut off everyone's access to abortion. Why? Because Pakaluk and the rest of the anti-choice lobby are profoundly uncomfortable with pluralism and personal freedom; the ability of women to control their own reproductive lives scares them; and sex, birth control and abortion offend their religious sensibilities. They therefore call for sweeping governmental intervention into the private lives and beliefs of every citizen.

So don't be fooled. Proposition 1 is not about taxes, and it is not about the state's moral neutrality. It is about social control, oppression of low-income people and the New Right's attempt to throw women back into the kitchen and the bedroom. Kim Ladin '87-'88