Something is happening to the heart of America. A new survey by the Pew Research on Religion and Public Life says something very interesting about how we view the issue of the sanctity of human life.
The new data from the Pew Research reveals that most American think the topic of abortion is completely a moral issue. But when it comes to deeper issues like embryonic stem cell research or in vitro fertilization, Americans don't see with the same kind of moral clarity.
According to Pew, about a quarter of Americans (23 percent) say they don't think that having an abortion is a moral issue. Yet about 36 percent don't consider embryonic stem cell research to be a moral issue. Sadly, about 42 percent think that stem cell research doesn't involve human embryos.
Forty-nine percent think abortion is morally wrong but only 12 percent believe in vitro fertilization is immoral and 22 percent think the same about embryonic stem cell research. Clearly, there is a kind of moral disconnect on why these issues are not only problematic, but immoral.
This moral confusion easily translates into even great ambiguity when it comes to public policy. It also explains why we have members from both parties in Congress who both support and deny legislative proposals that enhance funding for embryonic stem cell research.
But consider abortion, where the strongest area of moral clarity can be seen, and note that more and more Americans are starting to find the idea of abortion morally repugnant.
When the news was announced recently that Planned Parenthood Federation of America had won a grant of $655,192, reaction was swift. Clinics in Nebraska, New Hampshire, Iowa, Arkansas, Montana and Oklahoma will be the recipients of tax dollars to help "educate" people on the new health care law.
It should be noted that groups had to bid for these grants as navigators. One hundred five organizations tried to get these federal dollars and the federal government spent over $65 million to get people to sign up as navigators.
The Department of Health and Human Services notes," "Navigators are trained to provide unbiased information in a culturally competent manner to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program."
Does anyone really think that Planned Parenthood can be unbiased? Planned Parenthood has already received $542.4 million in "government health services grants and reimbursements," including "payments from Medicaid managed care plans."
So here is the conundrum. More and more Americans find abortion to be morally repugnant, yet our government keeps giving more and more money to Planned Parenthood. What a cultural disconnect!
While currently Americans collectively lack clarity on more sophisticated human life issues like IVF and embryonic stem cell research, we are moving toward a position of moral certitude on the issue of abortion.
This is a crucial point in history where clear voices of descent must be heard in defense of those little voices we cannot yet hear. The wind is at our back and truth fills our sails.