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Abortion Wars , Health care and Private Enterprise

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What happens when you mix the Abortion Wars and Health Care reform? You get to see the impossibility of ever using moral absolutist reasoning to sort out public policy, especially Health care reform

Over at my regular Blog,
Most have been misled into believing that a public option will result in mandatory and taxpayer funded abortions. FOX News and others driving the Astroturf teabagging town hall meetings are not entirely responsible for this appalling lie. My uncle's wife unwittingly revealed that fundamentalist Christian ministers play no small role in spreading the taxpayer funded abortion myth.

Given the source of this comment, I knew that the poster was both since and genuinely concerned. His challenge was this:
Are you against taxpayer funded abortions because

a) abortions of all kinds, regardless of funding, because abortion is immoral and wrong, or

b) if taxpayer funded abortions were included in health care reform, it would cause already-dwindling public opinion to diminish even more?

Do we stand on principle or political expediency on this issue here?

Where they got the impression that I was categorically against taxpayer funded abortions, I don't know. It is a feature of the Abortion Wars that the fiercest partisans channel the thoughts of others, without benefit of much dialogue. But the comment came back to me when I read this in the news:

Some Catholic Bishops Assail Health Plan

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been lobbying for three decades for the federal government to provide universal health insurance, especially for the poor. Now, as President Obama tries to rally Roman Catholics and other religious voters around his proposals to do just that, a growing number of bishops are speaking out against it.

The Catholic Church bishops have been in the forefront of the Abortion Wars for a long time. At some point, they allied themselves with the Republican Party on the basis of this issue. Meanwhile, they continued to point out the injustices visited upon America's poor and especially her children. But in the hierarchy of their political calculus, being against Abortion's trumped everything else.

I had a friend who had voted Democratic for most of his adult life, as far as I knew, until the 1984 Presidential election. His wife approached me at a social function and announced , apologetically, that they could no longer vote Democratic. The reason was abortions. Taking his faith seriously, he felt he had no choice, and that is the tragedy.
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For in the end, what did that calculation, made by millions of Catholics and like minded citizens cost us? Twenty plus years of Republican ascendancy later, what is the balance sheet ?

Let me share my answer to the poster on Facebook:

As to your questions, it is high time we stop holding the well being of 43 million uninsured Americans, of which 6.8 million are children, hostage to the insolvable problem of whether or not a woman, her doctor and any other trusted advisor - spiritual or otherwise- can decide under what conditions she may or maybe not seek an abortion.
Such "moral absolutism" has given us both one of the highest abortion rates in the industrialized world AND the one of the highest infant mortality rates at the same time.

Which is more moral , killing a bill that would do nothing to change abortion laws( already in place ) or passing one that would help meet our moral obligations to poor children and OF MOTHERS TO BE in the form of prenatal care? How do you parse these competing moral claims?
I would submit good people can honestly disagree

But the embrace of the Republican Party had other poisonous consequences as well within the Church. The same article contained this comment:
Some Catholic Bishops Assail Health Plan
"The Catholic Church does not teach that government should directly provide health care," Bishop Nickless of Sioux City wrote, adding, "Any legislation that undermines the vitality of the private sector is suspect."

I ran into a group of Catholic Free Marketers during the Reagan years from a group called the Acton Institute. Their vision of a just society was straight out of Adam Smith on steroids. I also learned that they had been invited to teach about economic issues to seminarians in my neck of the woods. I literally wanted to throw up. I see in the good bishop's comments that their message was received loud and clear, and uncritically.
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The institutional church, as opposed to the believers in the pews, must always dress up their positions in some fancy philosophical rhetoric.The Acton institute, part of the widespread conservative think tank armada that sprang up after 1964 knew this well. They discovered, among papal writings, the rule of Subsidiary.

link Decisions are made as close as possible to the area of activity to ensure that the local environment and circumstances (cultural, social, political, etc.) are taken into consideration

How do you get to Bishop Nickless' deification of private property from this starting point? Easy, private initiative is closer to the people involved in any exchange then government action, thus private enterprise is sacred and presumptively superior to public action on health care.

On the basis of such bloodless pretzel logic we are to decide the fate of the uninsured?

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