The Daily Advocate People’s Voice article on Feb. 23 by Jim Surber entitled “Mixing the Unmixable?” is engaging, informative and entertaining. His references, analogies and puns are interspersed with historical facts dating back to the 1787 Constitutional Convention that dealt with issues of church and state. This combination of humor and fact is delivered in a hybrid style that combines the skills of Clarence Darrow and Samuel Clemmons (Mark Twain). After reading several long paragraphs, regardless of your political persuasion, you will find yourself eating out of his trough.
Surber’s article is designed so as to provide a smokescreen obscuring the fact that under the Obama healthcare plan, Americans –including Catholics – will be forced to buy coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. Never does he make it clear that these are the contentious central points of the plan that even agnostics and atheists find objectionable. His article is a desperate attempt to portray those that object to this part of the plan as religious extremists or Catholics. Indeed seven states that are secular and have no religious affiliations also object to the plan and have filed federal lawsuits.
We desperately need a national healthcare insurance of some type. If it fails, pediatrics (children) and women (obstetric and gynecologic care) will be deprived of a safety net of necessary healthcare services. To be affordable, the plan must be limited to elements of coverage that are essential for singles, mothers, their children and their families. Certainly the inclusion of sterilizations, contraception and abortifacients fails to pass a standard of “necessity” that justifies being included in an already bloated unaffordable healthcare bill.
Indeed Obama is killing the goose by insisting that she lay golden eggs. One has to ask the question: Was this bill purposely designed in a form that is unworkable?
Obstetrics and gynecological care have been an essential part of Catholic hospitals doing their charitable work for over a century. Childbed fever was a common cause of maternal deaths. These hospitals were at the forefront in eliminating this cause of maternal mortality. They have led in the provision and advancement of these services including care of the children (pediatrics). As a physician I have witnessed the difficulties of dealing with hysterectomies as a method of sterilization, and psychiatric problems as a justification for mid-stage abortions. The emergency rooms of these same hospitals have treated women who were victims of illegal septic abortions. I have had to treat and see women die from septicemia resulting from criminal abortions. Catholic institutions, while not condoning these conditions, have provided treatment and referrals for these patients.
After having been a part of the moral and religious dilemma that these tragic circumstances and events presented, I came to realize that Catholicism is an article of faith. Since this country is not a theocracy, Roe verses Wade leading to legalization of abortions seemed appropriate in a secular society. The role of religious institutions then becomes one of conversion to the religious tenet.
In regard to the notion that contraception, sterilization and abortions are a necessary component of a healthcare policy, consider the following facts. In biology, students are taught that reproduction is an essential component of the survival of any living species. Indeed all of the above procedures represent the antithesis in that they provide the tools for the extermination of the species. Except for primates, the role of sexual activity centers on that particular necessary function – reproduction of the species. Homo sapiens (man) has taken a different evolutionary turn. Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, the vast majority of human sexual activity, perhaps more than 99 percent, is for the purposes of fun and enjoyment.
When that relationship is directed toward conception and reproduction, there is absolutely no need for contraception and abortion. Indeed contraception and abortion destroys the reproductive capacity of a species and produces a society unbalanced in the direction of excessive proportion of elderly.
Although the primary role of sexual relations in our society is one of fun and joy – are sexual relations essential for good health? The answer is somewhat obscure and perhaps debatable. Nevertheless octogenarian Mother Angelica of EWTN is an active vital member of society even at her advanced age. And so too are many other celibate members of the clergy. Therefore I believe that sterilization, contraception and abortion have absolutely no justification for being included in an unaffordable healthcare package.
If mommy, daddy and singles insist on having a “fun package” included in a government healthcare insurance plan that fails due to cost, how do we explain this to the underserved and the unprotected children?
There is another group that should take pause on the issue of abortion and give at least a little respect to those they consider religious fanatics. That group is the National Organization of Women (NOW). Although I respect their role in a secular society, I would like to remind NOW that according to the United Nations over 200 million girls are missing from the world population. This number exceeds the entire female population of the United States and Canada – all destroyed in utero. Is this not a silent faceless holocaust? Is this not an egregious disruption of the balance of nature? Is this not an issue that should be seriously addressed by ethicists and religious groups including Catholics?
Any healthcare legislation that covers abortion and reproductive services will include sonograms as is the case in legislation being argued in Virginia. It is well known and established that sonograms are frequently used as a means of genocide in which males are allowed to live and females are aborted. This occurs not only in India and China, but also in the US and Canada. How does one explain the concept that “abortion rights” serve the rights of females that are selectively destroyed due to their gender?
So in summary, healthcare legislation that includes coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortion is at best paying for other people’s fun and at worst supporting gender related genocide.
My friends, Jim Surber is not of the era of Mark Twain or Clarence Darrow in his political thinking. He is not a Franklin Delano Roosevelt “New Deal” Democrat (FDR stated that “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service…I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the public sector…A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government.”)
Indeed Jim, my friend (seriously), is a “new” New Deal Democrat - one that sees no bottom to the government’s purse and its ability to support government employees who are already paid more that 40 percent above their private counterparts. The “new” New Deal Democrats see sexual fun as a healthcare “need” – not realizing that these policies are the “Grecian Formula” for reducing the United States to a level of financial insolvency.
Charles E. Reier, MD is a citizen columnist. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.