Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Enforcing the Law Does Not Necessitate Subsidizing Its Exercise

Earlier today, Rudy Giuliani told CNN that he still supports taxpayer-funded abortions. His reasoning is that of a lawyer's:

Ultimately, it's a constitutional right, and therefore . . . you have to make sure that people are protected.

At first blush, this seems convincing. Love or hate a particular law, it's the law, and laws must be enforced. After all, we are a country governed by the rule of law, not the rule of men.

The famous example is President Eisenhower. Even though he disagreed with Brown v. Board (1954), when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus three years later used his state's National Guard to block the entry of black students to a public high school, Eisenhower federalized the guard and deployed elements of the 101st Airborne Division to ensure Arkansas's compliance.

The problem is that you can protect a right without bankrolling its exercise. The right to abortion doesn't collapse if the federal government stops subsidizing it.

Moreover, just because the federal government protects your right, say, to buy alcohol, doesn't mean you have the right to inebriate yourself on taxpayers' dime.

Hat tip: Matt Lewis.