Saturday, December 26, 2009

Catholic Health Association & LCWR endorse Senate abortion compromise

Interestingly, in the New York Times today, a headline read "Catholic Health Group Backs Senate Abortion Compromise" but the headline on the New York Times website reads "Catholic Group Supports Senate on Abortion Aid." The second headline makes it sound as though Catholic groups are endorsing abortion funding, when really what they are endorsing is efforts to provide health care for the uninsured.

I found the theological discussion behind this interesting. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that Catholic teaching states that one cannot support any evil, even if it is with the intention of supporting a seemingly greater good. For example, Catholic officials cannot advocate distribution of condoms in populations ridden with venereal disease, because it is an illicit form of birth control, even though condom use could arguably save many lives. So we cannot support a bill that even remotely supports abortion, even though that bill could save or at least improve millions of people's lives by providing health care to those without insurance.

Honestly, I find this confusing. From the way I understood it, federal funding of abortion seems very limited in the current bill, and can be eradicated on a state by state basis. That seems pretty good to me. But when I saw the second headline online, it made me reconsider. Does supporting this bill effectively support federal aid to abortion?

Isn't this all a moot point anyways? Don't our tax dollars already fund abortion? According to Planned Parenthood's 2007/2008 Annual Report, the "non-profit" agency received 349.6 million dollars from government grants and contracts. This is not to mention the billions of money funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As far as I'm concerned, our tax dollars are already bathed in blood.

I certainly don't support funding abortion, but I do support efforts toward a health care reform that affirms the dignity and value of each individual and regards health as a right, not a privilege. Of course the ideal and the messy reality, even that promised by the most optimistic of reformers, are far from congruent. But at least it appears a step in the right direction.

I'm still sorting all this out, so any comments on the topic are greatly appreciated.

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