Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pro-life, or afraid of death?

The lastest entry into the book of lurid "pro-life" hyperbole is this from a conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville: "A living will can kill a person." Citing the case of Terri Schiavo, who incidentally did not have a living will, Deborah Sturm, a registered nurse and member of National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, argued that secular living wills "are advocated by those who support euthanasia [and] have a general presumption for death."

I have to ask this of "pro-life" folks like Sturm: Are you really pro-life, or are you just afraid of death? Living wills don't "presume death," but they certainly acknowledge it as a possibility. Does it ever occur to us that in some situations people should be allowed to die in peace, even that it is abusive to cling to them, binding their bodies with unimaginable machines and tubes? We do, after all, live in hope of the resurrection, and none of us can avoid death.

Of course, if we were all really "pro-life," we'd focus less on the hard cases like Terri's and more on the 45 million people in our country without health insurance and on the hundreds of millions worldwide that go without basic medical care. We could mobilize the 65 million U.S. Catholics to agitate for universal health care, nutrition programs for pregnant and nursing mothers and their children, for a health care system that intervenes before chronic conditions require emergency care. But I have yet to hear any pro-life speaker suggest such a thing. The last guy I heard from National Right to Life preferred to focus on "home abortion kits" being pushed by "frenzy-eyed feminists" in the developing world. Boy, that really contributes to the conversation.

Of course, focusing on health care would cost us something--higher taxes, greater focus on the common good. The current pro-life focus on abortion and euthanasia costs the majority nothing--except of course the real heroes who dedicate their lives and resources to caring for the chronically disabled, who carry pregnancies to term when it would be easier to abort, who teach us how to die with real dignity. That's right, nothing. Instead, it lets us ride the moral high horse while not having to sacrifice anything.


At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should start giving gifts on the Epiphany instead of Christmas. Then Walmart could have signs that said "Happy Epiphany" Love DAD

At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anna said...

Terri Schiavo was not dying. She was disabled; she had a feeding tube, yes, she ate in another way. She was mudered. Brutally. My brother is brain damaged also. My mother cares for him by herself. We understand the meaning of sacrafice.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger CtotheL said...

Anna, your mom is one of those heroes I was talking about.


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