Health Care Issues

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2211 The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially:

  • - the freedom to establish a family, have children, and bring them up in keeping with the family's own moral and religious convictions;
  • - the protection of the stability of the marriage bond and the institution of the family;
  • - the freedom to profess one's faith, to hand it on, and raise one's children in it, with the necessary means and institutions;
  • - the right to private property, to free enterprise, to obtain work and housing, and the right to emigrate;
  • - in keeping with the country's institutions, the right to medical care, assistance for the aged, and family benefits;
  • - the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc.;
  • - the freedom to form associations with other families and so to have representation before civil authority.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 166

The demands of the common good are dependent on the social conditions of each historical period and are strictly connected to respect for and the integral promotion of the person and his fundamental rights. These demands concern above all the commitment to peace, the organization of the State's powers, a sound juridical system, the protection of the environment, and the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation, basic health care, the freedom of communication and expression, and the protection of religious freedom.

Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in Veritate 43

A link has often been noted between claims to a "right to excess", and even to transgression and vice, within affluent societies, and the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and on the outskirts of large metropolitan centres. The link consists in this: individual rights, when detached from a framework of duties which grants them their full meaning, can run wild, leading to an escalation of demands which is effectively unlimited and indiscriminate ... The sharing of reciprocal duties is a more powerful incentive to action than the mere assertion of rights.

Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the New Ambassador of the United States (2 October 2009)

. . . Multilateralism, for its part, should not be restricted to purely economic and political questions; rather, it should find expression in a resolve to address the whole spectrum of issues linked to the future of humanity and the promotion of human dignity, including secure access to food and water, basic health care, just policies governing commerce and immigration, particularly where families are concerned, climate control and care for the environment, and the elimination of the scourge of nuclear weapons. . . .

Genuine progress, as the Church’s social teaching insists, must be integral and humane; it cannot prescind from the truth about human beings and must always be directed to their authentic good. In a word, fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom and real development. For her part the Church in the United States wishes to contribute to the discussion of the weighty ethical and social questions shaping America’s future by proposing respectful and reasonable arguments grounded in the natural law and confirmed by the perspective of faith. Religious vision and religious imagination do not straiten but enrich political and ethical discourse, and the religions, precisely because they deal with the ultimate destiny of every man and woman, are called to be a prophetic force for human liberation and development throughout the world, particularly in areas torn by hostility and conflict.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (5th Edition) 11

A just health care system will be concerned both with promoting equity of care—to assure that the right of each person to basic health care is respected—and with promoting the good health of all in the community. The responsible stewardship of health care resources can be accomplished best in dialogue with people from all levels of society, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity and with respect for the moral principles that guide institutions and persons.

U.S.C.C.B., Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 80

Affordable and accessible health care is an essential safeguard of human life and a fundamental human right. Despite an increase in the number of people insured, millions of Americans still lack health care coverage. Health care coverage remains an urgent national priority. The nation’s health care system needs to be rooted in values that respect human dignity, protect human life, respect the principle of subsidiarity, and meet the needs of the poor and uninsured, especially born and unborn children, pregnant women, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations. Employers, including religious groups and family-owned businesses, should be able to provide health care without compromising their moral or religious convictions, and individuals should be able to purchase health care that accords with their faith.

Forming Consciences 64

Our 1998 statement, Living the Gospel of Life, declares, "Abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human life and dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental good and the condition for all others" (no. 5). Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed. Cloning and destruction of human embryos for research or even for potential cures are always wrong. The purposeful taking of human life by assisted suicide and euthanasia is not an act of mercy, but an unjustifiable assault on human life. Genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks are always wrong.

Forming Consciences 65

Laws that legitimize any of these practices are profoundly unjust and immoral. Our Conference supports laws and policies to protect human life to the maximum degree possible, including constitutional protection for the unborn and legislative efforts to end abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. We also promote a culture of life by supporting laws and programs that encourage childbirth and adoption over abortion and by addressing poverty, providing health care, and offering other assistance to pregnant women, children, and families

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