President Obama Attacks a Woman’s Right to Choose…to Stay Home with Her Kids

You know a society has its priorities backwards when it celebrates what is unnatural (a mother’s choice to dismember her unborn children) and criticizes what is natural (a mother’s choice to raise her children).

This week, the president of the United States took another swipe at mothers who choose to stay home with their children.

“…and sometimes someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

In recent years, the Democratic Party has built its platform on women’s issues. In theory, the emphasis on “choice” would imply equal respect for the working mom and the stay-at-home mom. Yet in practice, liberal attitudes and policies are profoundly anti-family. (And why wouldn’t they be? Broken families = more Democrat votes. Single women are far more likely to vote Democrat than married women.)

Imagine the public outcry if a conservative politician had suggested that mothers entering the workforce is “not a choice we want Americans to make”.

Progressives claim to value tolerance and diversity, yet in practice they have little tolerance for opinions different than their own. What progressives do care about is collectivism, and collectivism requires conformity, and conformity requires indoctrinating children. Hence the attacks on stay-at-home moms, and the attacks on homeschooling, and the push for enrolling children in public daycare programs and preschools. Melissa Harris-Perry explains:

“Primum non Nocere” and the Affordable Care Act

A typical physician begins her career as a thirty-year-old with six figures of debt. While her peers have spent the last decade accumulating income and work experience, she’s been pulling all-nighters in the library – living on coffee, Ramen noodles, and student loans. She enjoys what she does, but the hours are brutal. After 8+ years of post-secondary education (plus another 3-6 years of residency) and tremendous personal and financial sacrifice, she has finally scaled the summit. She’s a doctor. In the meantime, changes in the U.S. healthcare system leave her feeling more like a glorified bureaucrat – trying to navigate the mountains of paperwork and ever-changing federal guidelines that stand between herself and her patients.

Most of the medical students and young physicians that I interact with are growing increasingly disillusioned with the future of our profession. The outlook is especially bleak for those considering primary care – the dwindling supply of “front line” doctors expected to accommodate an exploding demand for office visits. In their great wisdom, the architects of Obamacare sought to extend health insurance to 32 million new Americans without taking any steps to increase the number of practicing physicians.

I'm no economist, but this doesn't look like a recipe for "affordable healthcare".

I’m no economist, but this doesn’t look like a recipe for “affordable healthcare”.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act are quick to point out that the law was endorsed by the American Medical Association. What they won’t tell you is that only 15% of America’s physicians are members of the AMA (compared with 85% of American’s dentists who belong to the ADA). In fact, individual physicians oppose the Affordable Care Act by a wide margin, and believe it will ultimately increase the cost of healthcare.

In a recent interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews (may the thrill run ever up his leg), the president characteristically deflected blame for the Obamacare website debacle. Yet along with the usual finger-pointing at House Republicans, he actually suggested that the problem might lie with overly bloated government agencies, “some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

"If you like your health care plan..."

“If you like your health care plan…”

This kind of schizophrenic assessment – blaming, in the same breath, both government bureaucracy and those who opposed the law’s reliance on government bureaucracy – seems strangely befitting. The Affordable Care Act is a stamp collection of such paradoxes.

Most of us in the medical field aren’t policy wonks. Our primary interest is fixing sick people – preferably with as little interference from third parties as possible. There are, however, a number of sensible and liberty-minded proposals that receive widespread head-bobbing in hospital break rooms. Physicians are generally receptive to the very solutions that were conspicuously absent from the ACA: tort reform, health savings accounts, conscience protections for healthcare providers, and market-based reforms to Medicare and Medicaid. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, proposed some very workable (but largely ignored) reforms back in 2009.

Returning control of medical decisions to patients and their doctors would go a long way toward controlling costs and reversing the damage done by the ACA. The U.S. healthcare system has a fever, and the only prescription is less government.

Eric Metaxas on Phoney Religion vs. Real Faith

On February 2, 2012, Eric Metaxas delivered the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast. I had recently finished reading Metaxas’s excellent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so I decided to watch a replay of the speech a few days later. And I was impressed.

As I watched Metaxas deliver this speech – only a few feet away from where President Obama sat with the first lady – I couldn’t help but think of the prophet Nathan rebuking King David in 2 Samuel 12.

C-SPAN 3 doesn’t get much more edge-of-your-seat than this, folks. If you don’t have time to watch the full 30 minutes, I’ve collected some highlights below:

“There were plenty of churchgoers in England in the day of Wilberforce, and everybody in that day seemed to have no problem with the slave trade, or slavery…England paid lip-service to religion in those days. Everybody said, “Oh, I’m a Christian. I’m English. We’re Christians.” But they really seemed to think, most of them, that the slave trade was a fine thing. So keep in mind that when someone says, “I am a Christian,” it might mean absolutely nothing

[Wilberforce] fought politically. He fought hard. And the only people who were really fighting with him at this point were the “fanatical Christians”…the born-again nuts – the Quakers, the Methodists – that people made fun of. They were in the trenches, because they knew they had no choice but to regard the Africans as made in the image of God, and worthy of our love and respect. Everyone else was just going with the flow.”

african slave trade

“In Wilberforce’s day, going with the flow meant supporting slavery, and that Africans are not fully human. In Bonhoeffer’s world, in Nazi Germany, it meant supporting the idea that Jews are not fully human. So who do we say is not fully human today?”

“Wilberforce somehow saw what the people in his day did not see, and we celebrate him for it. Bonhoeffer saw what others did not see, and we celebrate him for it. Now how did they see what they saw? There’s just one word that will answer that, and it’s ‘Jesus’. He opens our eyes to His ideas, which are different from our own. Which are radical.

Now personally I would say the same thing about the unborn: that apart from God we cannot see that they are persons as well. So those of us who know the unborn to be human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see that. We need to know that apart from God we would be on the other side of that divide, fighting for what we believed was right…

Today, if you have a Biblical view of sexuality, you will be demonized by those on the other side, who will call you a ‘bigot’. Jesus commands us to love those who call us bigots…to show them the love of Jesus. If you want people to treat you with dignity, treat them with dignity.”

A Pre-Election Post: Abortion and Right of Conscience

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.

Abortion

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.

See also:

Real-life examples of discrimination in healthcare

J.W. Wartick pro-life resources