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By Jennifer Hartline

1/2/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Catholics want proper healthcare reform but we cannot under any circumstances support any bill that encourages the destruction of children.

It's not complex.  It's simple – we cannot destroy innocent human life.  It's wrong – period.  Human life begins at conception – period.

It's not complex. It's simple – we cannot destroy innocent human life. It's wrong – period. Human life begins at conception – period.


By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (

1/2/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I guess I'm a simpleton. I listen to all this intellectual bickering about the health care legislation and public funding of abortion and I feel like one of those cartoon drawings with steam coming out my ears. People who are supposed to be pro-life, who claim to be Catholic, are trying to make the argument that it's actually anti-life and anti-Catholic to oppose this Senate bill - even though it mandates public funding of abortion - because defeating this health care reform will mean denying health care services to millions of people who don't have health care and the Church is clearly in favor of making sure everyone has access to medical care so Catholics must support this health care reform. What?!?

It seems the root of their reasoning is that in this instance, the ends justify the means. "Yeah, it's a flawed bill, and we'd really prefer it didn't fund abortion, but other than that, it's a good thing and it will help a lot of people so the needs of the many outweigh the rights of those little ones who can't vote and don't pay taxes anyway. The true pro-life position here is to pass the bill so multitudes of people will finally have the health care they deserve. Later on we can worry about dealing with the abortion issue."

That just doesn't compute for me. My simple little brain says, "Wait a minute. We're planting a rotten tree, and we seriously expect it to yield good fruit? We're starting with something that is fundamentally corrupt from the outset, and we think that over time it will get better or we'll be able to diminish the effects of the corruption?" How can something that is against life be good for life?

It's not complex. It's simple - we cannot destroy innocent human life. It's wrong - period. Human life begins at conception - period. Abortion is always immoral and gravely evil. It isn't justifiable or acceptable - it is most definitely not a choice or a right. And it certainly is not healthcare.

We should at least be able to agree on that! Yet clearly we don't, since many "Catholic" groups are doing their darnedest to make plausible-sounding arguments in favor of passing a new federal law that will mandate public funding of a grave evil. Suddenly instead of insisting that evil is evil and we cannot make deals with it, they're "overlooking" evil in order to advance the "greater good." That makes no sense spiritually or logically.

The whole tree is spoiled at the root. The fruit may look shiny and ripe and appetizing, but it is rotten. It simply can't be otherwise. You cannot plant a rotten tree and yield good fruit.

No matter how the supporters of this bill want to frame it, we simply cannot trust that it will result in better care for everyone and here's why: People who are willing to sacrifice the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society for profit, personal gain, "freedom", or power do not have benevolent intentions toward anyone. They do not have anyone's best interests at heart. When snuffing out one life solely at the discretion of another more powerful can be justified and rationalized, only the strong survive, and the weak and vulnerable are expendable. The preborn, the elderly, the disabled, and the terminally ill are "burdens" on a system that has greed and deceit at its center. (If anyone doubts that greed and deceit are at the center of our system, I would ask them whether they've heard of Harry Reid and Ben Nelson.)

If people do not look at a preborn child and see a person deserving of life and protection, then we can rightfully question whether any policy decision they make will be worthy or noble or borne of compassion. Such virtue comes from love, and love serves, creates and gives life, and life is sacred. Not most life or some life, but all. Those who refuse to acknowledge that truth are constantly spinning in circles around selfish reasoning - "My choice." Some choices just do not belong to us, no matter how hard we try to spin it.

A society that wants the betterment of its citizens will begin at the beginning - with the sanctity of all human life - and build from there. Every decision made must be to further and protect that one simple truth. A "choice" that places weaker life at the mercy of stronger life is simply not a real choice. So, back to the drawing board. When goals begin from the right place, they have a much better chance of ending up in the right place. Start from a position that says, "Each life is precious and must be protected." From there, we can figure out how to give everyone the medical care they need.

God supplies our needs when we seek Him honestly and humbly. God provides inspiration and enlightenment and perspective when our ambitions are honorable. If we are out of ideas on how to accomplish our goal of health care for everyone, I submit it's because we are not starting from the right place. I daresay most of those in power have not sought God's provision or inspiration because they surely know deep in their own hearts that their objectives are not honorable.

The sick must be tended with compassion and dignity until natural death. The elderly must not be rushed toward the grave. Both mother and child must be protected and cared for. These principles cannot be compromised or set aside or traded in for some facade of "universal care."

No matter what bill comes out of Washington this month or the next or the next, it will not serve the best interests of the American people unless those writing it and passing it are of a mind to protect every citizen equally. Right now, that's not the case and that's why this bill is a waste of paper at best, and a frightening Pandora's box at worst.

I don't know anyone - anyone - who is against reforming our healthcare system. Catholics should and do want healthcare reform, but we cannot under any circumstances support any bill that encourages the destruction of our preborn children. Any bill that mandates public funding of abortion - which the Senate bill does - is simply unacceptable and must be rejected. Woe to us all if we start calling something good which is evil. The fruit of this rotten tree will kill us.


Jennifer Hartline is a Catholic Army wife and stay-at-home mother of three precious kids who writes frequently on topics of Catholic faith and daily living. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.


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