President Bush and others talk about promoting a “culture of life.” The term is often used in terms of framing the abortion issue. Bush addressed anti-abortion marchers (January 24, 2005) saying that “even the unwanted have worth.”
“We’re also moving ahead in terms of medicine and research to make sure the gifts of science are consistent with our highest values of freedom, equality, family and human dignity,” Bush said. “We will not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it.”
Bush also told the protesters that they will eventually prevail, if only because of what he described as the justness of their cause. “I encourage you to take warmth and comfort from our history, which tells us that a movement that appeals to the noblest and most generous instincts of our fellow Americans — and that is based on a sacred promise enshrined in our founding document that this movement will not fail,” Bush said.
The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues. Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected – and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.
Noble sentiments, and I have added emphasis to some of them.
My question: how many people would have to die in the course of a year because they don’t have health insurance before we begin to think about covering more Americans?
If 50 people a year died because they did not have health insurance, would we remember the ideal that “we will not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it?”
What if 365 people died a year because they didn’t have health insurance? If one person died every day for lack of health insurance, would we be pushed to recall “our highest values” that include “human dignity?”
What if ten times that many died every year because they didn’t have health insurance? How many heart-broken family members will that add up to if 3,650 people a year die unnecessarily? Would we begin to think about promoting society and laws that have presumption for life?
How many would it take for us to heed the President’s words, “It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected?”
Every year about 18,000 Americans younger than 65 die only because they don’t have health insurance. Fifty people will die today because they don’t have health insurance. Preventable deaths that leave behind heart-broken parents, grieving widows, children without moms or dads.
Does this represent the kind of people we want to be?
Three years ago, 41 million Americans did not have health insurance. Now, more than 46 million people – including 8 million children – do not have health insurance.