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September 4, 2009

Letter: Abortion must be part of health care reform

To the editor:

Recently, Fr. John Michalowski, pastor of Mary Queen of Peace and St. Joseph Parishes in Salem, N.H., placed a flier in our church bulletin. In it, he urged us to write a letter-to-the-editor about health care reform and abortion. His flier opposed abortion as being considered a part of health care. I thought the flier contained some half-truths and hyperbole — for example, that this health care plan is an effort to implement part of FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act, which is currently nonexistent) and a taxpayer abortion industry bailout, both claims of which are wrong and misleading. So, I went to the U.S. Bishops' Web site to read the letter that they had sent to Congress on July 17.

The bishops' letter contained many ideals which, as someone raised Catholic and having attended a Catholic grammar school, I could identify with and feel proud of, like "health care that protects and respects the life and dignity of all people," "including the weakest and most vulnerable," and "truly universal and ... genuinely affordable."

The Catholic ethic on child bearing is one which is lofty and appeals to my idealistic side. It aspires to all pregnancies being wanted, to all women being maternally fit, and all fetuses being perfectly formed. These are ideals to which society should aspire.

But then, there is the real world which tugs at my pragmatic side. It is a world which is not ideal, and never will be — a world in which there can be troubled and tragic pregnancies that bring some women and their families to their breaking point, which put some women under the shadow of death, and which deliver some children so malformed that they die upon birth. We do not live in a perfect world.

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