As a general rule, I try to avoid using this blog as an outlet for my political beliefs.
Then again, there’s a presidential election taking place in two weeks. Which is kind of a big deal.
Rather than launching into a full-blown endorsement of an individual candidate, I want to take this opportunity to talk about two specific issues, and why they determine how I vote.
Without question, this is the most pressing moral issue of our time.
About 1.2 million abortions are performed in the United States each year – approximately equal to the total number of American deaths in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, and WWII combined.
I’ve written before on the question of when life begins, so I won’t rehash that here. For Christians, however, the answer ought to be abundantly clear. I might catch some flak for this, but I frankly don’t understand how a professing Christian can possibly support a political candidate who views the ongoing genocide of the unborn as morally permissible.
So speaking to my fellow believers: If a candidate were actively and enthusiastically supportive of murdering 1.2 million schoolchildren each year, would you vote for him simply because you agreed with his economic policies? If you believe that God values the life of a 7-year-old more than the life of an unborn child, can you provide any evidence – Scriptural or otherwise – to support that position? I’m sincerely open to discussing this in the comment section.
Right of Conscience
This issue is sometimes overlooked, but it goes hand-in-hand with abortion. As a future physician, it affects me personally.
“Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” -James Madison
Only a month after taking office, President Obama announced that he would be rescinding HHS regulations protecting the conscience rights of healthcare workers:
“[Specific publicly-funded entities may not] discriminate in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of any physician or other health care personnel because he performed or assisted in the performance of a lawful sterilization procedure or abortion, because he refused to perform or assist in the performance of such a procedure or abortion on the grounds that his performance or assistance in the performance of the procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions, or because of his religious beliefs or moral convictions respecting sterilization procedures or abortions…”
In April 2009, these rules were officially eliminated. Then, in 2011, the administration approved the now-infamous HHS contraception mandate, requiring employer-provided insurance plans to cover birth control and early-term abortion drugs…regardless of the provider’s religious objections. (As an aside, I highly recommend R.J. Snell’s article, “The Contraception Mandate and Secular Discourse”.)
Other recent attacks have centered around the Weldon Amendment (2004), which prohibits federally funded agencies from discriminating against health care providers who refuse to provide, pay for, provide coverage for, or refer for abortions.
Additionally, a 2009 online survey of 2,865 faith-based healthcare professionals found that:
- 39% of faith-based healthcare professionals have “experienced pressure from or discrimination by faculty or administrators based on [their] moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.”
- 20% of faith-based medical students say they are “not pursuing a career in Obstetrics or Gynecology” because of perceived discrimination and coercion in that field.
- 12% of faith-based healthcare professionals have “been pressured to perform a procedure to which [they] had moral, ethical, or religious objections.”
- 91% of faith-based physicians agreed with the statement, “I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience.”
So aside from the clear injustice of legalized abortion, my interest in this election is based on a desire to learn and practice medicine without being pressured to violate my moral convictions. Not to belittle the importance of other social, economic, and foreign policy issues, but these will be my overriding concerns in the ballot box.