Include Children in the Womb in National Health Care Reform


Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - During the last Presidential campaign then candidate Hilary Clinton offered a public policy “trial balloon”, the idea of giving $5,000 to every child born in America. She wanted to use the bonds help to ensure College tuition funding for every American child. The response to this proposal came swiftly.Sadly, few of the negative responses from Pro-Life people addressed the root inequity, the timeline for qualification. The bonds were proposed only for children who survived until birth. In this age of abortion on demand that is increasingly difficult. Yet, the child in the womb is one of us, clearly a human person and our first neighbor. We all know it is unjust to kill our neighbor.

Some Pro-Life Christians joined the ranks of those questioning the propriety of having the Federal Government enact such a new “entitlement” program. This was not the first time that Democrats proposed the idea of treating children, (though again only those outside of the womb), as our first neighbors by trying to expand their ability to participate in the economy.Back during the heated debate concerning proposals to personalize Social Security (called “privatization” by most opponents in an effort to make it sound selfish), which reached a crescendo at the beginning of the second term of the Bush administration, some in the Democratic party responded to the debate by suggesting the setting up of personal accounts for newborns.

I wrote an article during the last Presidential campaign suggesting that the “baby bond” proposal deserved serious discussion. I asked my fellow Pro-life citizens not to quickly dismiss the idea. Anyone who has read my writings knows that I am not a fan of big government. I am well aware of its tendency toward inefficiency and waste, as well as the potential for abuse by those in control. History is replete with the abuse of power at the hands of regimes given centralized unchecked power, both “left and “right”. As a Catholic Christian, I prefer the application of the social ordering principle found within Christian social teaching called subsidiarity. The principle of subsidiarity asserts that government is “good”, in a two fold sense; when it is closest to those being governed and when it reflects what is truly good, in other words, what is moral.

Subsidiarity is essential to the proper policy application of our obligations in solidarity to one another and, in particular to the poor. Pope Benedict XVI gave us a lesson on the relationship between solidarity and subsidiarity in his recent encyclical letter entitled “Charity in truth”. The problem is that too many Catholics do not first inform their evaluation of public policy issues from the truths and principles found in the social teaching of the Church.They have not developed a hierarchy of goods and values in political, economic and social issues. Good Catholics can disagree on the manner of fulfilling our obligations in solidarity and the proper structuring of government in order to ensure the application of subsidiarity. However, good Catholics CANNOT disagree on the dignity of every human person from conception, throughout life and until natural death.

We now face an important public policy discussion, how to expand health care coverage to more people and include the poor. Once again I experience some Pro-Life Catholics failing to first consider the hierarchy of truths, goods and values offered by the Church in her Social Doctrine in addressing the current proposals. Instead, some are first identifying themselves as “conservatives”, “neo-conservatives” or even “liberals” or “progressives.” There is room for disagreement over how health care should be reformed. Good Catholics could find themselves in opposition to one another on the role of the Federal government, the State Government, the local Government or even any government at all. We need a discussion on the primacy of the first government, the family, and the essential place of mediating structures as well as private enterprise in good governance. However, the first issue we must insist upon is respect for the dignity of every human person, including our first neighbors in the womb. Abortion is not health care, period.

I suggest to President Obama a new framework for a robust debate during these days of the Congressional August recess. I invite the current administration to include Children in the womb in any reform of Health Care. That’s right; expand the program to include our first neighbors. A child born as young as twenty one weeks old now survives outside of the first home of the womb. We intervene regularly in the womb with wondrous surgical procedures in order to help our young friends and neighbors. These procedures will probably be covered under any health care reform. We prosecute people who, in the commission of a crime, kill a pregnant mother and her child for two murders. Look, let’s be really honest, abortion is a form of feticide. We all know it, we selectively prosecute. The rhetoric of “choice” is simply a subterfuge. We all know when human life begins. Medical science has confirmed what the Natural Law and our conscience has told us all along.

In the current abortion on demand culture the child has no choice at all. Her fundamental right to life and her freedom to be born is denied as a matter of positive law. Her right to join our National family has been usurped by a fundamental injustice. This fundamental injustice is rarely forthrightly addressed by Democratic or Republican candidates. Every child in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers’ womb, is currently treated as property to be disposed of at will by someone stronger. This is a new form of slavery and it is unjust. It is why I had to leave the Democratic Party after they silenced the last true champion of all the poor, Governor Bob Casey, at their nominating convention because he called his party to hear the cry of those whom Blessed Teresa of Calcutta rightly called, the “poorest of the poor”, children in the womb. They have no voice but ours.

Just as I would not mock Mrs. Clinton in her baby bond proposal, I will not join the ranks of those who oppose the current Health Care Reform proposal by parroting the conservatives, the libertarians, or any other political opponents. Instead, I raise a new proposal for the National discussion; include children in the womb in the coverage of any Health Care Reform Plan.If the administration is sincere in including as many persons as possible in the Reform of Health Care they should be willing to do so. Mr. President, include Children in the Womb in National Health Care Reform.