A recent airing of Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over presented an opportunity for me to discuss Catholic health care ethics with the president of the Catholic Health Association , Sister Carol Keehan , DC. I received a great deal of messages via e-mail, Facebook and the U.S. Postal Service after my appearance on that program.
I am grateful for every one of them.However, one in particular moved me to think seriously about what is really at stake in our struggle to keep the aborting of a child out of any type of health care reform legislation. It helped me realize what an expectant mother seeking to abort her baby really wants and really needs.
So, rather than tell you my opinion, which would not be based on actual hands-on experience, I prefer to share this letter, written to Sister Carol by Lorraine Curtin, who does know exactly what such a mother thinks, feels and needs:
Dear Sister Carol Keehan,
Thank you for taking a moment to read my e-mail.
I listened to your conversation last Friday evening with Raymond Arroyo and Judie Brown. There is one aspect of your argument regarding health care for pregnant women that I would like to address. It concerns an implied generalization that free prenatal care would greatly diminish abortions in our country.
I am a volunteer consultant at a crisis pregnancy center in Columbus, Ohio. Since 2001, I have talked with hundreds of abortion-minded women concerning their pregnancy and their options. It has been my experience that women do not choose to have an abortion because of lack of prenatal care. In our state, we have a generous, free health insurance program (called Healthy Start/Healthy Families) for women without insurance. The guidelines for eligibility are well above the Medicaid guidelines given by the federal government. In fact, any women in our state ineligible for state insurance can receive quality prenatal care for free (or at a substantially reduced rate) because there are other programs available to these women through grant money.
My experience has been that women choose abortion because they do not want to be pregnant. This might sound overly simplified, but let me explain. Many teens and adults are engaging in premarital sex. Most of them do not want children with that partner or at that moment in their life. Consequently, when they do get pregnant, they seek an abortion. Since abortion is legal and easy to acquire, it is a choice so often made. Many women choose to abort in the first trimester because they are not showing yet. Trust me, if all they needed were health care, we would have very few abortions in our state. (We have approximately 31,000 elective abortions each year.)
I can state at least 10 reasons that are given as to why they choose an abortion (notice that health care is not on the list):
1. Birth control failed – pill, patch, shot, condom
2. Wants to finish high school/college – baby messes up their future plans
3. No longer in a relationship with the father of the baby
4. Parents would be unsupportive – afraid of what they might think – doesn’t want
them to find out.
5. Has enough kids
6. Pregnant through an extramarital affair
7. Not ready to parent – no particular reason given
8. Does not know who the father is – casual sex (hooking up) – multiple partners
9. Pressure from someone else to abort (family, boyfriend, employer)
10. Sex is purely recreational – “I never thought I’d get pregnant!”
Women never tell us, “Gee, I wouldn’t have an abortion if I could get free health care.” They know they can get free health care. It’s not about health care – it’s about the devaluing of human life in our culture, and most of the responsibility lies in the fact that abortions have been legal since 1973 [emphasis added]. Please do not be duped into this lie about abortion and health care. The only way to stop it is to make it illegal and teach “abstinence-only” in our homes, our churches and our schools.
Now I must say that some of the poorest of the poor do not get abortions, because they cannot pay for them (a first-trimester abortion runs about $350 in our city). So, if health care passes that includes free abortions (a.k.a. family planning services), then even these women will succumb to the culture of death.
If you have any independent studies (not by Planned Parenthood) that corroborate your claim, please send them to me, so that I can read them.
If abortion were illegal, then the choice to abort would change to the choice of an adoption and occasionally to parenting. In our current climate, abortion is an “easy” option for now (or so they think!) because “no one will know that I was ever pregnant.”
If it were just as “simple” as giving them free health care, there would be no use for crisis pregnancy centers. I would happily give up my position here if it were all true, but I know better. I encourage you to visit a crisis center in your state and talk one-on-one with the consultants for more in-depth conversation.
There it is, from an expert. This woman has given us a window into the world of the expectant mother who does not wish to be the mother of a living child. I would hasten to add that most of these mothers do not consider themselves to be the mother of a preborn child, but prefer to think of themselves as a woman with a problem requiring a quick solution. I also believe that this counselor is correct to point out that if abortion is covered in any health care “reform” plan, abortion numbers will go through the roof. So why hasn’t this been made clear?
First and foremost, pro-life America is making the case, and we are not going to shut up. And it is my opinion that, after all these weeks of debate, perhaps the truth is sinking in. Perhaps Americans are finally beginning to think beyond the Obamacare marketing phrases, gobbledygook and false promises making their way through town-hall meetings and other such venues.
On this subject – the facts about abortion-minded mothers – it is my sincere hope that people across this nation will spread the words of this wise pro-life pregnancy counselor, and help their ministers, priests, bishops and others see that Obamacare is going to increase the killing of the preborn, not ameliorate the situation.
President Obama says abortion is “heart-wrenching,” and yet he advocates it. We say abortion is murder and it’s time for America to listen.
Please help us spread this word.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OUR READERS
Catholic Exchange is free—but it is not free to produce. Advertising revenue covers only a fraction of the cost to generate reliably Catholic commentary and news, inspiring videos, a selection of the best Catholic blogs, and daily meditations and prayers.
To give us the strength and stability we need, Catholic Exchange is turning to you—our loyal reader—and asking you to become a monthly contributor.
Whether you can give $5 or $25, $50 or $100 each month, please leave something behind so we can continue—and strengthen—this important apostolate.
We are deeply grateful for one-time gifts, but we encourage you to choose “Monthly” on the drop-down menu. Your support will ensure that Catholic Exchange will be here during this most critical moment for the Church and America.