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Abortion coverage rebate would be discriminatory

In a recent letter in The Tech ["Pro-Life requests partial insurance refund," Oct. 5], MIT Pro-Life argued that those opposed to abortions should be allowed to be excluded from having to pay for them.

On the surface, this may seem like a reasonable request; after all, if they are so patently against abortion, why should they have to pay for someone else to have one? Upon closer look, however, we uncover the discriminatory nature of such a proposal.

Let us for a moment put the services of abortion which MIT's health plan now covers in perspective with all of the services the MIT health plan offers. If we were to make the disputed service (abortion) optional, exactly who would request a refund?

Obviously MIT Pro-Life members would. But in addition, for entirely different reasons, so would all men, even if they were not opposed to abortion, since the disputed service is entirely used by females.

And further, since not all women favor abortion rights, and MIT's undergraduate community is approximately 35 percent women, less than 35 percent of MIT would be paying a substantial increase in their medical coverage.

I do not believe that the MIT community would tolerate this kind of discrimination if it were present in any other group of people.

There are other group-specific medical services MIT covers that are just as group specific as abortion. These could also be used to discriminate.

Sickle-cell anemia is an inherited disorder occurring primarily in blacks. Since I am not black, I doubt that I will ever get sickle-cell anemia, so why should I have to pay for these services?

And certainly there are afflictions that only affect men, such as testicular cancer, that women shouldn't have to pay for, right?

Linda L. Rounds, executive director of the Medical Department, correctly argues that allowing students refunds on abortion coverage would lead to various special interest groups wanting refunds on services not benefiting them.

Making abortion optional is not only discriminatory to women, but it gives MIT Pro-Life preferential treatment by allowing them to be the sole special-interest group.

I sincerely hope that the Medical Department does not succumb to the pressure being exerted on it by MIT Pro-Life, and I urge students feeling similarly

to let Arnold N. Weinberg, medical director and head of the

MIT Medical Department, and Rounds know where you stand.

Jason Silver '91->