Poor women’s health as ‘political bargaining chip’

Poor women’s health as ‘political bargaining chip’ February 6, 2012

William D. Lindsey is not pleased that his church’s leaders are rallying all their political power in order to avoid providing health care to women:

I’m well aware that Planned Parenthood does also provide abortion services in some areas. I’m also well aware that the vast bulk of the services Planned Parenthood provides are not abortions, and many Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the U.S. do not provide abortion services at all. If [supporters of the bishops] wish, as I assume they do — and as I myself do — to see abortions diminished, then I am unclear about precisely how we’re pursuing that end on which we all agree by seeking to have Planned Parenthood defunded and shut down.

… I must part company with Catholic centrists who make common cause with the religious and political right vis-a-vis these issues because my own Catholic pro-life ethic forbids me to use the provision of health care to poor women as a political bargaining chip to score anti-abortion points. I also conclude that I do not see abortion per se as the defining characteristic of a Catholic or a pro-life Catholic.

I see being pro-life across the board and consistently as the defining characteristic of a pro-life Catholic. And so as a pro-life Catholic, I find it incomprehensible — I find it outrageous and shameful — that my church’s leaders are willing to ally themselves with political leaders whose goals are in no sense at all pro-life, except that these political leaders continue to promise to outlaw abortion if they’re elected. (But they haven’t done so when elected and given a chance to move in that direction.)

In short, I refuse to be herded where the bishops, the political and religious right, and centrist Catholic media spokespersons like Zagano and Clarke wish to herd me. I refuse to be herded onto the Catholic tribal reserve designated for me by their definition of Catholicism, for which opposing abortion at all costs is a defining characteristic of a true Catholic. I refuse to be so herded because I’m a pro-life Catholic.

At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner provides my favorite headline of the day: “OB/GYN Corrects Bishop’s False Claim About How Contraceptives Work.”

Mr. Dolan? About your son Timmy — the archbishop and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? It’s time to have that little talk. He’s a bit confused about how this works.

At least I hope he’s confused. Because if the archbishop is not confused, then the archbishop is lying. …

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