Over the past three months, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, and, most controversially, Alabama, have all begun their attack on the legality of abortions. Each state has passed a law that restricts abortion in their states, with Alabama being the most stringent: criminalizing all abortions with no exceptions made for rape and incest. These laws have steered the national conversation away from the environment, which had been the previous hot topic of the day thanks to the Green New Deal. Now all political conversations from the mainstream media to social media revolve around the future of Roe v. Wade.
While there are many arguments on either side of this debate, the one I hear the most is “Conservatives only care about the babies inside the mother, but not once they are born.” Everybody’s favorite anti-Semitic representative, Ilhan Omar (well, top two at least), made this exact claim as recently as last week. The implication here is that because conservatives are generally against a nationalized healthcare plan and therefore don’t care about people once they are born, they clearly only care about regulating women’s bodies and not about preserving life. Now, I’m not going to argue with this idea, not because it stumped me but because there are already plenty of reasons out there as to why this argument holds no water, and all are easily available online. Quite the contrary; in fact, I am going to entertain this argument.
The pro-life stance has always been one of morality. Pro-lifers believe that life begins at conception, and therefore an abortion is akin to murder. To this point, conservative pundit Matt Walsh recently recommended that pro-lifers start referring to abortions as “cervical infanticide” just to illustrate the pro-choice perspective. On the other hand, the general argument against a nationalized healthcare system has mostly been economical. There is a small amount of libertarian morality mixed in there (“you can’t take my money to pay for someone else’s care”), but for the most part the argument is a question of supply and demand and providing the best care to the most people at the lowest price.
Keeping this in mind, I pose the following question to pro-lifers as well as those in favor of a nationalized healthcare system. Would you be willing to make the following trade: the overturn of Roe and enshrine a new criminalization of abortion in exchange for a complete nationalized healthcare system? Now, I’m not asking pro-lifers to suddenly become pro-nationalized healthcare, nor am I saying that those in favor of national healthcare will suddenly become pro-lifers. However, I am merely using a common talking point constantly brought up by pro-choicers to further a conversation. Is each side so committed to their cause that they would make the trade?
This type of question can extend to other areas of political debate as well. As I mentioned earlier, the previous national debate question was on the climate control. Many on the left, including fast-fading presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, have claimed that we have 12 years left to reverse climate change; after that it will be irreversible. In February, a group of kids accosted Senator Dianne Feinstein to vote in favor of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. The quote in the resulting video that has been parroted ever since is “the cost of not taking this action is far higher than the cost of what the Green New Deal will be.” The point being made seems to be that the only question on the Green New Deal is the prohibitive cost. AOC proposed to pay for the Green New Deal by (stop me if you’ve heard this before) raising taxes on the wealthy. But I have an alternative proposition for those who have decided that this is the greatest threat to the future of our planet.
And just like the suggestion I made to the pro-life side, let’s see how far the radical environmentalists are willing to go. According to PolitiFact, the Green New Deal will cost somewhere between $53-93 trillion over the next 10 years. If the cost of not taking this action is, in fact, far higher than the cost of what the Green New Deal will be, then spending on the Green New Deal should take precedence over literally all other government programs. So let’s look at the largest current expenditures of the federal government, and no, it’s not the military: it’s social services. Namely, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. According to the Brookings Institute, the three combine to 47% of federal spending (Medicare -15%; Medicaid – 9%; Social Security 23%). According to CMS, Medicare and Medicaid will cost $17 trillion by 2027. The Congressional Budget Office doesn’t have as clear-cut projections on Social Security yet, but let’s assume that Social Security will remain at 23% of the federal budget. Using that estimate, the combined projected costs over the next nine years would be somewhere around $33 trillion.
So my question to those of us who believe that we have just 12 years to turn this ship around is: Would you make the deal? Cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security now in exchange for funding the GND? And I realize that the funding does not take us all the way to the projected low end of $53 trillion, but for the last $20 trillion let’s say you are allowed to raise taxes. And please try to keep in mind that you have already claimed that climate change will have such an effect on the world that the dollar amount shouldn’t matter because the actual cost is too great.
So, for the final time, I ask those pro-life, pro-choice, environmentalist, and climate skeptics: Deal Or No Deal?
Izzo Zwiren works in healthcare administration, constantly concerning himself with the state of healthcare politics. The topic of healthcare has led Izzo to become passionate about a variety of political issues affecting our country today. Aside from politics, Izzo is a fan of trivia, stand-up comedy, and the New York Giants. Izzo lives on Long Island with his wife and two adorable, hilarious daughters.