Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The war on abortion continues to rage. In spite of my personal belief that life begins at the moment of conception, I am pro-choice. The decision to have a child belongs to the mother, not the government, at least until the fetus is viable outside the womb. In my mind, the more rationale approach to reducing abortions is to address the reasons many women seek abortions. Poverty, absence of affordable child care,  violence towards women and lack of access to contraception. As a Catholic, I have always found the church's anti-contraception position bordering on the ridiculous. Clearly if a woman who does not wish to have a child uses contraception, the issue of abortion becomes moot.

The focus of today's post, however, is not abortion; it is universal healthcare. Specifically, the hypocrisy of those who claim to be pro-life but refuse to support making healthcare available to all Americans. During his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney infamously proclaimed on 60 Minutes, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance. If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.”  

What should be obvious to all—and what Romney apparently understood when he was governor of Massachusetts—-is those with health insurance have a good chance of receiving care before they suffer a potentially fatal heart attack. Routine healthcare services, including periodic physical, gynecological, eye and skin examinations, laboratory and radiology tests and diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopies, improve the quality of life and increase life expectancy. Those who lack access to these types of services frequently fail to receive treatment until their cancer is inoperable; they suffer a debilitating stroke, a potentially fatal heart attack or go blind.  

The question is not whether America can afford to provide healthcare to our citizens. The question is how can any moral person in this country refuse to do so? Either life is sacred or it’s not. It is the ultimate hypocrisy to fight for the lives of the unborn and not fight just as hard to ensure no one in this country suffers and dies needlessly.