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Abortion debate is possible, ethical, and sound

Daniel A. Sidney G's recent column in The Tech on the abortion coverage rebate ["Pro-Life fight misguided," Oct. 12] presented a distressingly superficial analysis of the issue.

Consider Sidney's analogy with the man who refused to pay the fraction of his taxes that goes to the defense budget because he felt that the military is morally repugnant. Defense is a collective good: It is impossible to provide different levels of defense for different persons in the same nation.

Individual insurance coverage is a much different case. An analogy between the two is inappropriate.

We should try to respond constructively to each other's ethical concerns. Giving those persons who have strong ethnical objections to abortion the opportunity to decline abortion coverage in MIT insurance seems to me an appropriate way to respond to these concerns. There is, however, one subtle but crucial point to consider.

We should recognize that a man and a women together create new life. We should also recognize that only the woman bears the physical burden of a pregnancy or abortion. I don't think that MIT insurance policies should confine the costs of pregnancy or abortion to women.

But there is little reason to think that optional abortion coverage for those with strong ethical objections to abortion would significantly shift the cost of abortion to women.

Men are unlikely to feign strong ethical objections to abortion in order to garner a small rebate.

Women have a disproportionately large representation in the anti-abortion movement nationwide and at MIT, so one expects that the percentage of those seeking rebates who are women will be at least roughly as large as the percentage of women at MIT.

The rebate system has in fact been workable and uncontroversial at Harvard University. Out of respect for those of us who are deeply troubled by abortion, the MIT community should push for an abortion rebate system.

Douglas Galbi G->