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Medicaid For Abortions

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The House and the Senate seem to be nearing a compromise on the question of Medicaid funds for abortions that is somewhat more liberal than the bill originally passed by the House: instead of banning funds for abortions except where the mother's life is endangered, it would permit such payments for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and where the mother or fetus would suffer "serious, permanent health damage."

The compromise is only slightly more liberal than the original; to paraphrase President Carter, it suggests life is mostly unfair, instead of completely unfair. By restricting these payments Congress effectively takes two stands on nontherapeutic abortion: rich women are entitled to the privilege, but poor women--who will have a much harder time supporting unwanted children-- are not. A third of the 261,000 abortions Medicaid paid for last year were performed on poor minority women; a third were performed on girls under 15. It is possible that this compromise is the best the Senate can push through. It would be unfortunate if we are willing to permit such injustice to be visited, as it will be, on one of the most vulnerable segments of society.

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