To the Editor:

Re “Group asks UHS for abortion rebate” (9/10):

Choose Life at Yale’s campaign to receive dollar rebates from Yale is a petty jab at reproductive health care and a misguided approach to raising awareness that “abortion isn’t the only choice you have.” Furthermore, the campaign is not a harmless form of self-expression, but a small-scale version of the “conscience clauses” exercised by insurance companies and hospitals to withhold reproductive health services. This practice has already limited women’s access to affordable health care and only opened the door for further reductions.

CLAY has also misunderstood the different Yale health insurance policies. The basic Yale Health Plan, guaranteed to all students, does not cover abortion; only those who pay extra for full YHP Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage receive such services. With the option to keep outside hospitalization insurance, those who don’t want a plan that includes abortion don’t have to pay for it.

However, even if tuition did subsidize abortion, to receive money back would be absurd. If we all demanded rebates because of our personal beliefs, a farcical game of I-Owe-You would ensue. For example, can students who ethically oppose psychopharmaceuticals get rebates on account of the YHP psychiatrists who prescribe them? Or should students against animal testing get rebates because Yale laboratories use animal subjects? Or should vegetarians each get one dollar back because Yale Dining serves meat? If so, perhaps vegans should get two dollars. Just as Americans who morally condemn federally-funded policies, such as war and capital punishment, or state-funded policies, such as Medicaid coverage of abortion, can’t get tax rebates, students opposed to certain Yale programs can’t expect tuition rebates.

To fulfill CLAY’s request would set a foolish precedent for self-tailored tuition without accomplishing the group’s stated goals. If CLAY members really “respect people’s right to choose an abortion and don’t plan on hindering them from pursuing an abortion,” they might focus on promoting the prenatal, delivery, and postpartum services YHP Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage offers, rather than undermining, albeit symbolically, the abortion services the same health plan provides.

Sophie Pinkham ’04 and

Sonia von Gutfeld ’04

September 11, 2003