February 25, 2012

Health Care, Religion, and Politics
This article appeared in the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader on March 2, 2012, page 3B

Read/Post Comments (3)

The recent debate over the Affordable Health Care Act affirms the truism: “if you can name a thing and it sticks, you own it.” The laughably inappropriate observation attributed to Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, in the Springfield News-Leader (2/15/12) illustrates this truism well: “Blunt suggested that his critics were trying to twist the debate, making it about birth control and women’s health care when it should be about religious freedom.” Actually the legislation is “about” women’s reproductive health care; the language is quite clear. But some groups are “naming it” as an infringement of their “religious freedom” because they oppose women’s reproductive health care for religious reasons.

     In the mind of some it is a matter of faith to deny women reproductive health care. For others it is a matter of political opportunism. There are others, however, who are able to find a reasonable middle path. Even Catholic institutions are not unanimous in rejecting the Obama administration’s compromise proposal. The compromise proposal is a reasonable good faith effort to accommodate the beliefs of all Americans. The intent of the proposal is to secure adequate reproductive health care for women while providing a reasonable accommodation for those who don’t want to pay for such care for religious reasons. By rejecting the wisdom of the compromise, the “nay-sayers” are attempting to impose their religious ideas (sectarian faith over human welfare) on others who do not share their severe sectarian views. If this story is about limiting religious freedom, Mr. Blunt, it is also about limiting the freedom from religion on the part of those who do not share such severe sectarian views. Denying women reproductive health care in the name of God is an oxymoron.

Charles W. Hedrick
Professor Emeritus
Missouri State University

Posted by Charles Hedrick at 6:14pm

Well said. Thank you. I found your blog via your wife’s post on FB and Senator Blunt’s Energy/Oil topic. Please thank her for including this. I wish there were a way I could share your post as a FB link.
Posted by Mary Goth on 2/28/2012 at 6:15pm

I agree completely. Thanks for stating it so well. Martha Hatt (MC 1955)
Posted by Martha Hatt on 2/26/2012 at 9:19pm

Hey, Dr. Hedrick,

On my own blog recently, I actually wrote on this issue from a Catholic perspective:
Wirey Thoughts on Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics

In general, I think that institutions that do not take tax payer money should be given an exception. But I can still see where a problem where a non-Catholic pregnant woman has a medical emergency, a Catholic hospital is the only place for her to go to, and the doctors recommend an abortion.
Posted by Cody Hayes on 2/26/2012 at 5:24pm