Health-Care Distortions

A law has been proposed in Congress that no woman be forced to have an abortion. Yet, Catholic bishops like … Continued

A law has been proposed in Congress that no woman be forced to have an abortion. Yet, Catholic bishops like Charles Chaput of Denver and lay organizations like the Catholic League have condemned this piece of legislation. Would it be logical, therefore, to conclude that because they oppose this legislation, they are promoting government-ordered abortions? After all, if you are against a law that protects a woman’s right NOT to have an abortion, are you not advocating that it be visited upon her?

This logic is skewed, of course. The legislation that clearly states a woman’s right NOT to have an abortion is the often-proposed, never passed, Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA= S. 1173 of the 110th Congress), which includes this line: “Every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child.” However, the legislation
goes on to state: Section 4:a reads: “It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman”

When you read the full text, the reason for the opposition from Archbishop Chaput and the Catholic League becomes clear. Despite wording favorable to child bearing, the legislation is intended to advance the right to have an abortion. Archbishop Chaput and the Catholic League champion a cause incumbent on all conscientious Catholics. Note as well that President Barack Obama has distanced himself from FOCA.

I bring this up to point to another problem: Washington suffers from bitter cultural and ideological wars that depend upon distortion, hatred, and downright lies to energize a radical base, whether extreme right or left. It is now fashionable to entitle bills as “The Patriot Act” or “The No Child Left Behind Act” or “Freedom of Choice Act” implying that anyone opposing such legislation is unpatriotic or in favor of children being left behind or against freedom.

It is absolutely factual that the FOCA wording begins by insuring the right of women to bear children without government interference. But it is a distortion to suggest – based on one sentence taken out of context – that Catholics favor abortions because they oppose the rest of the bill. The logic does not hold. Yet, as suggested above, this is the same sort of dastardly political tactic that can twist the position of even bishops and Catholic organizations.

Given the treachery in political waters, it is amazing to me that both Archbishop Chaput and the Catholic League indulge in the same sort of distortions in order to wrap with Catholic doctrine their rejection of the health-care reforms promoted by President Obama, the Democratic Party and a majority of Catholic America.

The outspoken Archbishop of Denver recently denounced The London Tablet, a famous Catholic publication, accusing European Catholics of “unhelpful and badly informed opinions” about U.S. health-care reform. After demeaning the intelligence of the Tablet, the Archbishop concluded:

“No system that allows or helps fund — no matter how subtly or indirectly — the killing of unborn children, or discrimination against the elderly and persons with special needs, can bill itself as ‘common ground.’ Doing so is a lie.”

What’s lacking in this platitude is the logic of application: the health-care reform that is being considered in Congress has no provision for the “killing of unborn children” or “discrimination against the elderly…” One hears the echo of Sarah Palin’s “death panels” in the archbishop’s spurious description of current health care legislation.

The Catholic League delivers the epithet of “liar” to President Obama – a popular, if rude one. The denunciation is based on the logic that to reject an amendment by a bitter Republican foe of health-care reform is to favor government-funded abortions. Supposedly, Democrats treat abortion and appendectomies exactly the same. Even the clear and continued repudiation of abortion provisions by President Obama, Congress or even the left-leaning NARAL are dismissed as lies. Not exactly the basis for serious thinking.

I know that these strong dissenting opinions are important parts of a diverse Catholic America, but defending Catholic teaching with half-truths, spinning, and claims that everyone else is lying becomes unconvincing logic. Beware the boomerang on the conservative cause.

About

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York.
  • usapdx

    I WHOULD LIKE TO READ THE BISHOP’S VIEW ON THE CASE IN BRAZIL OF MARCH,2009 OF THE 80 POUND, NINE YEAR OLD GIRL THAT WAS FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT WITH TWINS BY HER STEP FATHER. AFTER THE ABORTION,THE ARCHBISHOP EXCOMMUNICATED THE MOTHER OF THE LITTLE GIRL AND THE TWO DOCTORS. THE PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL SPOKE OUT ON THIS BISHOP’S ACTIONS. THE VATICAN PRELATE WAS IN FAVOR OF THE ABORTION BUT LATER THE VATICAN CHANGED IT’S VIEWS OF THIS CASE AND THEN AGAIN. THE ARCHBISHOP RESIGNED IN JULY,2009. THIS CASE WAS IN THE NEW YORK TIMES AS WELL AS OTHER PAPERS. PLEASE NOTE THAT CANON 1398, CANON 1323, AND CANON 1325 HAVE NO AGE LIMITS. AS A PARENT,WHAT WHOULD YOU DO?

  • coloradodog

    Rather than ignoring what a bill says even if they would agree with it and then protesting it, Catholic Bishops like Charles Chaput of Denver and the hateful, old, ranting Tom-red-faced-Donahue of the O’Reilly Catholic League could better spend a little time focusing on the already born children who continue to be sexually abused by their clergy.Catholics who deny, hide, aid, abet and otherwise try to snivel out of their responsibility over this (usually by saying, in a shrill adolescent voice, “Other people do it, too”) are no more “the Brothers of Christ” than Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy. May the karma of those who protect pedophile priests be that they are brutally raped by their clergy in their next life. 14 would be a good age – it was young enough to terrorize me pretty well. The only difference for me was the priest was not part of my clergy – I was visiting CYA with my Catholic friend because young Catholics and Protestants had to stick together in oppressive, intolerant Mormon Utah.Catholics who continue to look the other way at this problem and don’t start throwing a few hundred pedophile priests in prison have zero credibility or right to preach to the rest of us about abortion or any other moral issue. Or, is it maybe they oppose abortion so there will be a larger crop of young boys for the pleasure of their otherwise celibate clergy?

  • ccnl1

    Once again some thoughts about abortion: Abortion boils down to one simple question, when does human life begin? And one paramount observation/law: There is basic human morality that goes beyond the OT and NT. A fetus dies without nourishment. A baby dies without nourishment. I see no difference.It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. “Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, birth control pills, condoms (see the recent Pew studies) and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having an STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to me!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???Hmmm, so a growing baby is considered by some to be nothing more than an infection? Talk about having no respect for life!!!!! And Nature or Nature’s God is the #1 taker of everyone’s life. That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience your life??? We constantly battle the forces of nature. We do not succumb to these forces by eliminating defenseless children!!!!!

  • Hallaluya

    Oooooppps.Mr. [ATTORNEY?] Anthony Arroyo & CO.,;Please STOP “FOCA”ng-Around w/SECULAr Biz, especially LAW for “The People” & by the ‘People; not CONGREGANT (Tithe payers) instead of TAX-Payers!Stop ‘translating”interpreting’ the “SECULAR” [MORAL] Rules of LAW”S, is if Ye [a licensed Jealous Theogian] are translating Ye (not our) JUDEO-abe-CHRISTO [NT] BIBLE, aka “MASORAH” {of the BASORAH]!Happy Every Day fellow N.Y.’r!

  • tony55398

    In the passage where Christ saw all the Kingdoms of the world He was tempted by Satan to rule by governmental law and force if necessary, this He rejected. Government cannot solve the immoral sin of this world, only Christ by Love through His Church can do this. Government is to take care of man’s material welfare, Christ, through His Church the spiritual. Give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, give to God what belongs to God and ultimately the spiritual will guide the material, only Love can change the heart of man, the mothers and the fathers.

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