The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Life is More than a Single-Issue. It’s THE Issue.

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Throughout this marathon that has been the election, several have made a variation of the comment, “Abortion is a life issue, but it’s not the only life issue.”  Usually, the next several sentences and paragraphs go into a clever discussion of how healthcare, poverty, and the war in Darfur are monumental life issues and that “good Christians” ought to care about such things at least as much, if not more, than whether or not Roe v. Wade is overturned (the implication being that “good Christians” think otherwise, of course).  

The latest in this mantra comes locally, from Rev. John R. Davis, a presbyterian minister right here in Charleston, WV.  Rev. Davis recounts the story of the miracle (though he doesn’t think so) of his daughter’s birth.  How she was able to receive steroid treatment and, because of that good healthcare provision, her prematurity resulted in a healthy child.  He contrasts that with another family in the same hospital, facing eerily similar circumstances, but with completely opposite results.  Because those parents had no health insurance, they did not receive the same level of prenatal care, nor did they get the life saving steroid treatments that his daughter did.  Tragically, the friend’s child died at birth.  Lewis concludes:

Those who make the “Sanctity of Human Life” reducible to a single issue have much more that they may wish to weigh. While there is debate as to when life begins, whether at conception or at some other time between conception and birth, there is no debate that Ray and his siblings were alive, that they were conscious, and that they were able to feel pain. There really is no debate that holding life as holy means wanting for each and every mother and child to have the same level of health care as my wife and daughter received. And there really is no debating the fact that today, in America, all women and children are not all given the same level of care.

Respectfully, Rev. Davis, I must disagree.  While we could debate much about whether or not we want to believe when life begins, we know it begins at conception.  When a sperm and egg combine, you do not get broccoli; you get a human life.  We might also disagree at your implicit argument that those pre-born children feel no pain during an abortion procedure.  In fact, in watching the pre-born facing a needle or saline solution, we see images of these children screaming silently in pain.  Do you really dare presume that because one tastes the oxygen of a delivery room and one does not their position ought dictate the level of healthcare offered to them?  I truly hope not.

Yet, I understand that Rev. Davis’ point is that healthcare is needed, for all.  I could not agree more.  Indeed, better prenatal care ought to be offered.  We ought to explore ways in which we can extend good, life-saving healthcare to people like “Ray’s” family.  In fact, I would issue a challenge for churches: solve the healthcare dilemma be living out the book of James to those in your community.  What are victims of little healthcare but the modern-day widows and orphans?  

Rev. Davis’ final thought is utterly confusing:

It is clear to me that there are other issues to think about when we put forth the “Sanctity of Human Life” as the primary loyalty informing our choices for elected officials. Health care for all is a “Sanctity of Human Life” issue. I think of Ray, his mother and his father as I listen to the pundits. Warfare is also a “Sanctity of Human Life” issue. Children and their parents are dying in Iraq because there was no more imaginative solution explored to the problem of Saddam Hussein than to take up arms and kill. Poverty, whether here or abroad, is a “Sanctity of Human Life” issue.

So, yes, I am a Christian. And yes, I believe that human life is sacred. That is why issues of peacemaking, health care and poverty are the ones which will inform my vote during this election.

Rev. Davis, you just made the mistake you assume those of us who believe the sanctity of human life is the greatest issue informing our election decisions make: packing a variety of issues into a single issue – life.  You boiled down poverty, healthcare, and war into a single issue: life.  Why can’t we do that?

In fact, when we declare that life is “the” issue, we mean just that.  We do no limit our meaning merely to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we mean:

  • Everyone should get the opportunity to receive healthcare.  Meaning, the pre-born ought to be allowed to understand what an HMO is before facing the business end of a needle.
  • Every human being ought to receive life-saving treatment.  That includes those children who are the victim of a botched abortion.
  • Human begins reproduce human beings.  Human beings have the human right to live, to not be experimented upon, and to receive care for their health, not death.
  • The pre-born are not potentially humans, they are humans with vast potential.  That they are delivered 2/3’s and then euthanized is a violation of one’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And, there are many more.  Rev. Davis, I’ve agree with you on the need to pursue new (not re-tooled, socialist style) methods for extending healthcare for the pre-born.  Will you agree with me that we ought to afford the pre-born with the number one rule in medicine, “First, do no harm.”?

At a minimum, “Ray” was afforded the opportunity to live outside the womb.  Some politicians and vocal, radical interest groups would disagree that he should.  If we cannot trust politicians to provide for the health of children in the womb, why should we trust them to care for their health outside the womb?

It reminds me of the asinine argument of Tony Campolo in a recent blog post:

Consider these questions:  If 10 children are drowning in a swimming pool, and you can only save six of them, should you save the six?  Or, should you wait until help arrives that can save them all, even if you know that the six you could save will be lost in the meantime?

As someone commented to Campolo’s comment: drowning is often accidental.  Abortion is not.  Purposely drowning someone is illegal.  Abortion is not.  

Look, the lack of healthcare that may or may not be rampant in the United States, the poverty that is rampant throughout the world, the religious persecution that is ongoing, wars and rumors of wars – those are incredibly important issues, without question.  But, do you notice the one thing every single one of them have in common?  Life.  The poor breath, the sick’s heart beats, soldiers bleed, victims of persecution (and their persecutors) have vital signs.  We must work on reducing roadblocks to healthcare, avoiding war, and holding the persecutors accountable.  But that begins with an unabashed commitment to life.

Consider this: if the 50 million pre-born victims had been given the opportunity to become doctors, peacemakers, or lawyers for religious liberty, would the world be the same today?

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Written by Jeremy Dys

November 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Life

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] The Family Voice Blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia has this post that concludes: Look, the lack of healthcare that may or may not be rampant in the United States, the poverty that is rampant throughout the world, the religious persecution that is ongoing, wars and rumors of wars – those are incredibly important issues, without question.  But, do you notice the one thing every single one of them have in common?  Life.  The poor breath, the sick’s heart beats, soldiers bleed, victims of persecution (and their persecutors) have vital signs.  We must work on reducing roadblocks to healthcare, avoiding war, and holding the persecutors accountable.  But that begins with an unabashed commitment to life. […]


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