Saturday, December 19, 2009

On unwed mothers, universal health care, and choice

Or, Sing of Mary, Pregnant and Uninsured

Okay, so I will never not be entertained by the fact that Chuck Norris (who has two speeds--walk and kill) has a column at WorldNet Daily. I believe that everyone is entitled to a voice, and I like the fact that Chuck Norris (who once shot a German fighter plane down with his finger by yelling "Bang") not only has his but has it endorsed by the fine and reasonable folks at WorldNet Daily. If there is anyone whose word should not only be considered but should, in fact, be law, it's Chuck Norris (who doesn't shower--he only takes blood baths).

This week, in honor of Christmas, Chuck (who does not sleep--he waits) takes on the question that's been on everyone's mind: What if the Virgin Mary had had Obamacare?
...[A]s we near the eve of another Christmas, I wonder: What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington’s wise men and women! Will Obamacare morph into Herodcare for the unborn?

It's a reasonable question, of course. There are women all over the country who do end up giving birth simply because they lack the resources to terminate their pregnancy early on. And of the women who do manage to have abortions, whether by obstetrician or by coat hanger, any might have been carrying the next Einstein (or the next Hitler) or the next Fleming (or the next John Wayne Gacy) or the next Shakespeare (or the next John Stamos). So what if the Blessed Virgin had had full access to the range of medical services available to pregnant teenagers?

I seem to have a book here that talks a lot about Mary when she was pregnant. Let's open it up, shall we?

First, we have to consider the image of an unwed girl, fourteenish, who's sitting in her room in Nazareth, hand-weaving a nuptial garment and reading Twilight when a freaking angel comes down and says (Luke 1:28-38),
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Holy crap! Mary thinks. What is up? But the angel says,
"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end... The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

which one could imagine is a pretty intimidating thing to hear from an angel. And yet faced with the heavy burden of gestating and delivering the son of the Almighty, this 14-year-old says,

"I am the Lord's servant... May it be to me as you have said.

Damn. Not exactly the words of a girl who's going to get rid of it using federal tax dollars later. (Also, fairly ballsy words for a girl who's going to be discussed as a mild little virgin for the rest of her life, but that's another post for another time.)

Now, Chuck (who once ate three 72-ounce steaks in one hour--and spent the first 45 minutes having sex with his waitress) raises the entirely legitimate subject of the ostracism and persecution that would likely accompany her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. And the Bible does say that Joseph's initial plan was to divorce her. However (Matthew 1:20-25),
after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

So it sounds like Joseph, too, was on board with God's plan and fairly excited about the prospect of being stepdad to the savior of the world. And we can also consider the fact that, had she changed her mind, even in that time Mary would have had several (not necessarily safe) options for terminating the pregnancy had she so chosen. So it sounds like Mary’s access to abortion coverage would have been pretty moot anyway, making Chuck’s (who once ate a whole cake before his friends told him there was a stripper in it) “what if Mary had been covered by Obamacare” about as valid a question as “what if the three wise men were actually space aliens.”

But that's not the real question. What Chuck (who can, in fact, believe it's not butter) entirely misses is that the wondrous thing about Christmas wasn't that Mary got knocked up and, for lack of health insurance, went ahead and had the baby. She was young and healthy and had the support of a fiance who was (with some angelic prompting) willing to stay with her and help her. The wondrous thing was that when Mary and Joseph were faced with such a formidable and awesome responsibility, they saw it as a gift from God and wanted it very much. Would that every child be conceived under such circumstances and that every pregnant woman have those options. And would that, in modern times, we are able to provide women like Mary all of the help and options they need.

No comments: