Stopping Intentional Blindness
By Theresa Notare
September 4, 2009
It seems I’m constantly at the eye doctor monitoring my poor eyesight. This life-long condition has caused me to reflect on other ways I have been short-sighted or blind. As I struggle to have clear vision in my life, I have to contend not only with my own faults, but also with false cultural messages that promise easy answers to all our desires:
“Want sexual freedom? Use contraception.”
“Want a relationship without the hassle of commitment? Live together.”
“Want a baby with your own genes even though you are 45? Pay a surrogate-mother to do it for you.”
“Don’t want to be pregnant right now? Get an abortion.”
False cultural messages are repeated so much that eventually they take up residence in our interior homes, causing us to think that they are okay. One of the more insidious things false messages can do is to masquerade as necessary parts of basically good things, for example, that “women’s healthcare includes access to abortion.” Let’s talk about this last point.
Civil law is the great educator of a people. If something is legal, many of us presume it must also be good. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion was a constitutional right, it taught that the human being in the womb is of no value. The pre-born person was, in fact, “disposable.” Roe v. Wade led many people to miss the humanity of children who are aborted. The horror that abortion initially signaled to the majority of people in 1973 slowly eroded over time. Today, some people can’t understand why there is a fuss over abortion’s legality. A type of social blindness has occurred.
A similar phenomenon is poised to happen with regard to health care. In the public debate over much-needed health care reform, the lie that abortion is a “needed medical procedure” and “part of woman’s reproductive health care” is being promoted by many legislators. However, abortion is not health care. It is the intentional killing of a pre-born person, of someone who deserves to be seen as a patient and not a disease.
The health care profession exists to care for people—all people no matter their size, social status, economic bracket, race, ethnicity, or level of physical or mental capacity. Abortion advocates sometimes complain that abortion practice is stigmatized and practitioners are shunned by other physicians. There’s a reason for that: killing is not health care. If American law enshrines abortion as a standard practice in health care, it will forever change the identity of that healing profession and further blind Americans to the humanity of the preborn person.
As followers of Jesus we should see as Jesus sees, recognizing God’s image in our brothers and sisters. Since we have been given this clear vision, we must take action—protect the vulnerable, support health care professionals, and hold them true to their noble call to heal when possible and always to provide care. We must also make our voices heard. Learn more about health care reform at www.usccb.org/healthcare.Visit www.usccb.org/prolife and choose “Action Alert! Health Care Reform” to send an e-mail to Congress. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or call the local offices of your representative and senators. Contact information can be found on Members' web sites at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. Act now, urging our elected representatives to promote life-affirming health care, not abortion. Let’s not be blind to the good we can do!
Theresa Notare, PhD, is the Assistant Director of the Natural Family Planning Program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC.