I have refrained from extended comment on the health care reform bills -- not because I do not have multiple concerns about the bills, but because I recognize that committed Christians can and will disagree over the political and policy issues involved. The trip-wire for me is the issue of human life. The current bill spells disaster when it comes to abortion. I cannot remain silent in this crucial moment where the sanctity of human life is at stake.
For those readers who are in favor of the bill, I hope you'll continue to read and argue with me. That's why I write. But having read the language of the Senate bill, it's pretty clear to me that it provides federal funding for abortions, and it's precisely that language which would get enacted into law if the House passes their reconciliation package.
What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”
In short, there's a lot at stake on this bill, and there's good reason to oppose it. Health care for all is a good, and we do need to pursue it. But any action that attempts to do so that simultaneously provides funding for abortion violates the Pauline principle, doing harm that good may come.
There are few times I've encouraged direct political action through Mere-O. That's not really our thing.
Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.