The Corner

Stopping Taxpayer-Subsidized Abortions on College Campuses

The debate over Obamacare last spring raised the issue of abortion coverage in health-insurance plans. This is more prevalent than many people realize. Last spring, reports indicated that anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent of privately held insurance plans cover abortion services. Even worse, a recently released study by Students for Life of America (SFLA) indicates that abortion is covered by many student insurance plans offered by leading colleges and universities.

The SFLA study carefully researched the health-insurance plans offered by the 200 largest colleges in the United States. The findings were astonishing. Of the 200 schools studied, 86 offered health-insurance plans that cover abortion. Even worse, 38 schools automatically enroll students into a plan which covers abortion. Now, in many cases students can opt out. However, many will not because they are unaware these plans cover abortion or simply because school-sponsored health plans often cost less than commercial plans. This study clearly reveals that many students and taxpayers are unknowingly subsidizing abortion on college campuses across America.

From a social-science perspective, the findings were interesting. Many of the schools that automatically enroll students in plans that cover abortion are Ivy League schools like Harvard, Columbia, or the University of Pennsylvania, or are located in the Northeast or on the west coast. Colleges in the South were less likely to cover abortion in their health-care plans. However, there were some exceptions. The SFLA study found that the University of Virginia and a number of public universities in North Carolina automatically enroll students into a health-care plan that covers abortion.

This is certainly an issue that pro-life activists should take up in their respective state legislatures. College students typically have little in the way of discretionary income. As such, subsidizing abortion through insurance policies makes it far more likely that a student facing an unplanned pregnancy would submit to an abortion.

Furthermore, there are some interesting policy implications here. Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) recently introduced H.R. 3, “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would enact a permanent, government-wide prohibition on funding of both abortion and health plans that cover abortion. Considering that nearly all colleges and universities accept students who have Pell Grants, the passage of this legislation could conceivably force universities to drop abortion coverage from their health-insurance plans.

Throughout last spring’s debate over health-care reform, it was clear that a vast majority of Americans did not want their taxpayer dollars subsidizing abortion. In fact, this concerted opposition by pro-life groups was the most difficult political obstacle that the Obama administration had to overcome in order to enact health-care reform. This study from SFLA provides important additional evidence in the debate over cutting off taxpayer funding for abortion.

— Michael New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Ten Questions for the ‘Squad’

Democratic infighting reached a fever pitch last week with bickering and personal attacks between members of the “Squad” and other House Democrats. During that period, Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley mostly avoided doing interviews. However, that all ... Read More
World

Who Is Boris Johnson?

By next week at this time, Boris Johnson will be prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not since Margaret Thatcher has such an outsized personality resided in Number 10 Downing Street. Not since Winston Churchill has such a wit presided over Her Majesty’s Government. Wit is actually the chief reason for ... Read More
Health Care

For Planned Parenthood, No Doctors Need Apply

Poor Leana Wen. She took Planned Parenthood’s propaganda a little too seriously. And now she’s out of a job. For the longest time, Planned Parenthood has insisted that it’s a health-care organization, and it only cares about abortion — supposedly a tiny share of its business — insofar as it’s a ... Read More