A unifying approach to health care
Prolife and social justice principles are integral and related components of Catholic social teaching. Life & Family Educational Trust gets the message. Its newest endeavor, a faith-centered direct primary care clinic, offers an example of how a commitment to upholding human dignity is reflected in both concern for the unborn as well as concern for those unable to afford access to health care.
Life & Family Medical Clinic plans to open early next year, sharing a building in Bettendorf with Women’s Choice Center, which provides support for pregnant women, new parents and their families. Both are prolife ministries of Life & Family Educational Trust.
The new clinic will be among a growing number of direct primary care clinics in the U.S., a subscriber-based model of health care. Members pay a monthly fee (rather than depend on insurance coverage) for their primary care. Life & Family Medical Clinic will also adhere to all life-affirming mandates of the Catholic Church — including protection of the unborn, natural family planning and care for persons unable to obtain needed care elsewhere.
Many of the pregnant women who enter the Women’s Choice Center struggle to make ends meet and worry about how they will be able to care for their unborn child. They may not have insurance and it may take a frustratingly long time to acquire it. From the moment they confirm their pregnancy, they need primary care assistance. Life & Family Medical Clinic may be the place they turn to for help.
Clearly, Life & Family Educational Trust has been impacted by the vulnerable persons that the Women’s Choice Center serves — mothers-to-be and the babies in their womb. Our church teaches that we value and protect every life — from womb to tomb.
“We are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan states in the U.S. bishops’ Respect Life Month letter for October 2018. Protection includes ensuring that vulnerable mothers-to-be have their basic health care needs met. Direct primary care doesn’t require that a portion of members’ subscription fees go toward providing health care to persons unable to pay, but doing so meets the expectation of the Christ we profess to follow.
“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, ‘Good-bye and good luck. Keep warm and well fed,’ but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that. So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless (James 2:12-17).”
In his Catholic Health Care column in this week’s paper, Dr. Tim Millea tells of the early church’s commitment to provide care to the sick, orphans, widows, the unemployed and religious pilgrims. The dignity and sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death was paramount in the early church and remains so today.
We need to be reminded of and recover the early church’s teaching on what is required of Christ’s followers. Read the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John. Take a look at the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, articulated on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website (https://tinyurl.com/h57h77f). Visit the Iowa Catholic Conference website (iowacatholicconference.org) to learn about issues that impact Catholics in Iowa specifically and people of faith everywhere. Have a face to face encounter with some of the people who benefit from the pro-life organizations that minister within the communities in our diocese.
Life & Family Educational Trust shows us how we can walk hand in hand as advocates of Catholic social teaching that calls us to uphold the dignity of every person. Pray that we “Make our work today benefit our brothers and sisters, that with them and for them we may build an earthly city, pleasing to you (Monday, Morning Prayer Week III Intercessions).”
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor