Glenn Beck has received a lot of attention for his inflammatory rhetoric lately. Recently, he shared a personal story about his daughter who has cerebral palsy, which gets to the heart of his fears about health-care reform:
They [the government] will say exactly what doctors said about my 21-year-old daughter: "She may not really have a quality of life. She may not walk or talk or feed herself. But then again miracles happen." The "then again, miracles happen" part of that will be left out of the conversation. And I will not be able to see my daughter's 21st birthday, where I can reflect with her how miracles do happen. Because really, as I was told at the beginning of her life: Well, what kind of quality of life is she going to really have? I don't know, but that's for God to decide, not the government. -The Glenn Beck Program, 8/6/2009
His predictions that health-care reform would lead to government bureaucrats euthanizing people like his daughter are dead wrong, but we agree with Glenn on this point: God is the giver of life. However, what Glenn fails to realize is that lack of affordable, accessible health care is one of the reasons that people choose to terminate difficult pregnancies.
Consider two very close friends of the Sojourners family who recently found out that their unborn baby daughter has a brain tumor. To protect their privacy, we'll call her Milagro - meaning "Miracle" - or Mila, for short.
The tumor is the same size as her brain and is causing a build-up of fluid and the enlargement of her head. Significant brain damage is near certain. She's been given a 15 percent chance of survival and then only with a severely impaired quality of life. And yet, they've been told what Glenn's doctors told him: "miracles happen."
Mila will likely be delivered in December. With their current coverage, premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs for a complicated pregnancy will cost 20 percent of their modest income. But if their total bills exceed $250,000, they must pay all additional expenses. It's unclear how likely this is, but multiple brain surgeries and the additional care Mila may need could spell deep financial trouble.
But their worries don't stop there. Our friends receive their insurance through the mother's university. After she completes her Ph.D. this spring, her coverage will end in August. After that, with the possibility of Mila's severe pre-existing conditions, they may not be able to get any coverage at all.
Our friends do not fear a future where a government bureaucracy forces them to kill their child. Doctors in the current system have already suggested abortion. Their fear is much more immediate: If by some miracle their child survives beyond the womb, will they be able to afford the care she'll need once the insurance coverage ends?
Contrary to Glenn's fears, nothing in any of the proposed legislation would take away the right of a parent to carry her child to term. Nothing in any of the current legislation would deny life-saving treatment to anyone in need.
Those painful decisions would still be left to the families, and ultimately, yes, to God - just like the choices Beck had with his daughter Mary. It's our current system that does not ensure that families have all the care they need - before or after the birth of a child.
All of the reform proposals being debated include provisions to cap out-of-pocket expenses, end exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and eliminate limits like our friends' annual $250,000 cap on coverage - removing the financial pressures that currently lead many families to terminate difficult pregnancies.
Tell Glenn Beck that health-care reform is pro-life - consistently pro-life.
Lately, Glenn has repeatedly asked his listeners for prayer:
I'm fighting for you and me, my children, your children. I would ask you for one thing. Please, keep me in your prayers, keep my staff in your prayers, for safety, for wisdom, please. -The Glenn Beck Program, 9/8/2009
It should be no surprise that we strongly disagree with many of Glenn's views, but we too believe in a God far greater than all of us. So on this point, let's take Glenn at his word and pray for him to have wisdom as he speaks out on these issues.
Tell Glenn you're praying for him - that he'll choose hope over fear.
Pray that stories like Mila's will help convince Glenn that his fears of a government takeover are dangerous distractions compared to the real-life suffering that Americans are experiencing right now.
Campaigns by other groups have shown that targeting Glenn's advertisers gets real results, so we're including them in this message in order to hold him accountable for his words.
And please pray for our friends' unborn daughter - that Mila, like Glenn's now 21-year-old daughter Mary, will grow up to be a miracle who lives a long and blessed life, regardless of what happens with health-care reform.
There is a form letter that you can send in response, but I wanted to write my own letter - so here is what I shared.
Dear Mr. Beck,
I'm sure that you are going to be getting lots of these emails -
Sojourners has a pretty wide base... so let me say something
You, Mr. Beck, are in my prayers. Your family is in my prayers.
Your show is in my prayers. Because you do have a voice and a
story to tell. You have witnessed a miracle and because of this
great country that we live in that care was available to your
I hear that you are afraid that someone in your same situation
will be told no, there is no miracle possible. I hear that you
are concerned the proposed legislation will deny people and
weaken our care.
I disagree. From what I have read there is nothing in this
legislation that will hurt families like yours that are praying
for a miracle, but in fact, it will help them to face the future
a little less afraid.
I'm sure that you will read the story of Mila (I hope you read
her story), but I have another story that I want to tell you
about. It's about a couple of pastors and their own miracle
I'm just going to include the link, and let her tell her story
in her own words.
You and I probably don't agree on a lot of political positions.
But my parents watch your show. You have a pulpit of your own -
a position where people hear what you have to say.
What I fear is that you are leading people astray and are
actually going to work to hurt people like your daughter and
Mila and Becca who need help the most.
The way that I read the legislation, all of the reform proposals
being debated include provisions to cap out-of-pocket expenses,
end exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and eliminate
coverage limits - removing the financial pressures that
currently lead many families to terminate difficult pregnancies.
It keeps the hope alive and the possibility open for pursuing
treatments and surgeries, because there is not the risk that
bankrupcy might take over if one more surgery is needed.
Families need this kind of protection. Health care reform will
provide that. No, not every aspect of the bills are perfect.
There is a lot still to work on. But instead of just tearing
down the whole thing, think about your own family. Think about
the protection that they need. Think about the millions of
Americans who find themselves in those places where they need a
miracle. They are just as likely to hear "no" from an insurance
company. They are more likely to be dropped from insurance with
the system as we have it now. We need something to change.
Please stand up and at least support the parts of the bill that
protect families and protect those miracle children among us.
My prayers are with you and your family.