There are a good number of reasons to speak to some of the current conversations revolving around women’s healthcare and access to affordable and needed consultation, medical procedures, and medications. There has been a lot of media coverage regarding people of faith and the “Christian” viewpoint regarding the topic. With that being said, often times it is only one particular viewpoint that is given press. The reason for that can be two-fold at best. One being that, it can seem, is the viewpoint the media seeks out when finding someone to speak to the issue as a member of the faith community. A second reason is that often times those who support the access to these services in the faith community do not speak up for one reason or another.
I own the fact that as a man I can, perhaps at best, only begin to imagine the struggles and pain decisions around many women’s healthcare and access decisions can bring. But I want to lend my voice as best I can and speak a voice shaped and formed in the experience of the stories of wrestling with issues such as this, not only on a personal level but on a professional level as well as one who listens to those stories of struggle, heartache, and grief around issues of healthcare and access. So it is for the latter of the two reasons and recent stories regarding the Affordable Care Act and the soon to open South Wind Women’s Center here in Wichita, that prompts me to speak as a Christian clergy person. Being Christian or a clergy person does not require a stance that opposes The Affordable Care Act and Universal healthcare or access to the broad coverage it provides. I believe governmental responsibility includes making sure everyone have access to the best of insurance coverage and the best healthcare possible.
For me, it is a matter of following the ministry of Jesus and the faith as best I understand. Access to the services described in these issues affects not only women but all of us and in particular “the least of these,” i.e. the poor, oppressed, excluded, marginalized, and abused.
The care of others has deep and profound roots in our faith and women and men should have access to comprehensive healthcare including reproductive healthcare and family planning services which provides for safe and expert means to provide abortion care while also working to reduce the need for abortions, and preventing unplanned pregnancies and the spread of STD’s. Consulting medical care and counseling regarding the possibility of ending a pregnancy is a heart wrenching consideration and should be left between the woman, her doctors, with the support of other family or community of faith she chooses with as much care, love, consideration, prayer, and reflection as she needs.
My prayer is that the proposals offered by our current administration are accepted and our nation can move with ahead with progress and grace, and in this particular case the women of our society have access to the comprehensive healthcare they need and deserve. My prayer is the South Wind Women’s Center in our city will carry on in offering the highest quality counseling, care, planning, and medical expertise that was once offered in our city and the current facility they occupy.
I believe my voice is not the only Christian voice in support of this important issue and for me, silence is not an option. I pray one day civil and respectful conversation might be our goal and vision for the good of all concerned and for our good city and nation.