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Paying for Out-Of-State Abortions & Denying Womanhood
Joe Kral, M.A.
President & Editor-in-Chief
Society of St. Sebastian | 21 July 2022
Since the demise of Roe several states have either initiated their Abortion Trigger Ban laws or have reenacted their pre-Roe Abortion Bans. With these laws have come several prominent companies that have enacted anti-life policies as a result. In particular, these companies have created policies that would pay for expenses for women to travel out-of-state to obtain an abortion.[i] But, like any policy that promotes abortion, how exactly is this wrong? And furthermore, what can a state do to prevent companies from promoting abortion when it expressly outlaws it?
First, these company policies are highly problematic for several reasons. In a day and age where the US does have the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)[ii] it is still insufficient when compared to other countries. For FMLA only requires that the position be held for them during a 12-week unpaid leave of absence, while other countries still require pay for maternal leave. If the position was filled during that time, then the employer must provide them with a job that is of equivalent pay and benefits. So, the employer is not required, by law, to pay the employee while on leave. However, they will pay for travel expenses for an abortion. Herein lies the discrepancy.
In Thomistic philosophy, which has become the cornerstone of pro-life philosophy, when it comes to the subject of law, one must look at the various criteria in order to see if a law is properly law.[iii] One of those criteria is that the law must be reasonable.[iv] So, the question becomes, is the company policy of paying for out-of-state travel for an abortion reasonable. Clearly, the most obvious answer is no, since it directly contributes to the action of abortion which is the unjust and intentional destruction of an innocent unborn child. But there is more to it than just this. If the company is not required by law to pay for maternity leave, but is willing to pay for an abortion, what impact will this have on women within the company?
This gets to the second area as to why these policies are highly problematic and another reason as to why the law is unjust and unreasonable. Ultimately, the policy creates an environment where there is an expectation that women will not become mothers. And if they are pregnant, they will become unpregnant by abortion. If a company is not required to pay for maternity leave, yet is more than willing to pay for abortions, it sends a clear signal it does not want parentage to interfere with its employees’ jobs. In many ways, this sort of policy, set by a company, denies true womanhood, by strongly encouraging her to reject motherhood. Or rather, it may be best stated, that they do not want women to truly be women since they look down on the very concept of motherhood.
What might states do to stop this trend? Some states, such as Texas, are already set up to help stem this tide, although they are looking to do more.[v] Within the Texas Fetal Heartbeat Law lies a provision that is popularly known as the private enforcement mechanism. It is within this provision one will find that one can sue a person or entity who aids and abets in helping a woman obtain an abortion.[vi] These provisions allow private citizens to sue those who help a woman get an abortion. So, if a company pays for her out-of-state travel for an abortion, a person such as a biological father who did not want her to have an abortion can sue the company for aiding her. Under the pre-Roe Abortion Ban in Texas, those who aid and abet can even receive criminal penalties such as prison time.[vii]
States will, no doubt, wish to strengthen these areas of the law where abortion is prohibited in order to prevent companies from enacting policies that will not only encourage women to get abortions, but would practically downright coerce women into getting an abortion. That is the dirty little secret the abortion industry does not want to let out. Nearly two-thirds of women feel pressured into an abortion[viii] and these companies have just added to that pressure. If policy helps guide the culture, then the culture within the company is certainly pressuring the woman to obtain an abortion. If abortion is an intrinsic evil, then pressuring a woman to get an abortion is certainly wrong. It is clear that these companies do not see the inherent immorality of abortion and it is for this reason that the state government must step in.
Here the state can initiate law to help correct the wrong of the company. Companies do not have the right to design, initiate, propagate, and enact policies that deny human dignity and destroy the human person. Law must help direct human behavior towards its final end. Now from a secular standpoint, that is virtue. From a more Christian standpoint it is God. These two do intertwine. Virtue is to lead to God. Texas legislators are already looking to strengthen criminal and civil sanctions against companies that will either pay for the abortion or pay for the travel expenses of out-of-state abortions.[ix] Apparently, they will make the law even more explicit as to ensure that there is no ambiguity regarding whether the abortion is performed within the state or out-of-state.
The final analysis comes to this, even after the Dobbs decision, pro-life incrementalism is still at play. Pro-abortion advocates at all levels of politics and business are looking for loopholes to exploit. The abortion industry has carefully warped minds over the decades to make people think abortion is “freedom”. The truth is abortion is not freedom at all. A woman who feels pressure, or coerced, by a boyfriend, a parent, or an employer does not think of herself as free, but rather more enslaved to the wants of the person or entity that demands her to get an abortion. Companies that enact these out-of-state travel policies are not liberating women, rather they are binding them in metaphorical chains. Rather, a better policy to celebrate her womanhood is to give her full pay for her 12 weeks off for her maternity leave. Or to ensure that she is provided with the best insurance when it comes to pre-natal medical care. Having children is a gift, not a curse to be dispensed with.
[i] Bowdey, Suzanne, “New Boycott List Shows 56 Companies Paying for Killing Babies in Abortion”, LifeNews, June 29, 2022, https://www.lifenews.com/2022/06/29/now-boycott-list-shows-56-companies-paying-for-killing-babies-in-abortions/, retrieved July 20, 2022.
[ii] 29 USC sec. 2601.
[iii] Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, I-II, Q. 90, A. 4.
[iv] Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, I-II, Q. 90, A. 1.
[v] Harper, Karen Brooks, “Texas Abortion Foes Use Legal Threats and Propose More Laws to Increase Pressure on Providers and Their Allies”, Texas Tribune, July 18, 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/07/18/texas-abortion-laws-pressure-campaign/?utm_campaign=trib-social&utm_content=1658167223&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&fbclid=IwAR1g-N94T7NMvQZyP1CdXlNlMg7oTlUKoB3MC-33bgReQA58EjV1KfgN4d8, retrieved July 20, 2022.
[vi] See Bill Text: TX SB8 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Enrolled | LegiScan, retrieved July 20, 2022.
[vii] See VERNON'S CIVIL STATUTES CHAPTER 6-1/2. ABORTION (texas.gov), retrieved July 20, 2022.
[viii] Reardon, David, Medical Science Monitor 2004; 10(10); SR5-16).