Letter to the Editor: Since Miller-Lange debate sounds unlikely, here are questions that might have been asked


Mary Miller, left, and Paul Lange

The League of Women Voters, I am told, had planned to sponsor a debate between Paul Lange, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative in the Illinois 15th Congressional District, and Mary Miller, the Republican candidate for that office. Miller apparently refuses to debate Lange.

I would like to propose questions that each candidate might have been asked. These are questions that are inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, a series of 14 or 15 encyclicals (letters) from seven popes, beginning with Pope Leo XIII (1891) up to the present Pope Francis. Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical titled “Caritas in Veritate,” would be a good place to start reading. All these letters are available on the Vatican website.

Pope Pius XI described in 1931 what he called the “principle of subsidiarity.” This principle describes two extremes: the socialist extreme, where the government takes over everything, and the capitalist extreme, where the government does nothing. The ideal is to find the middle ground: when a non-government agency does not have the resources to deal with a social need, a government agency should step in to deal with that need.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, opened the door last summer for states to enact laws making abortion illegal. When abortion is illegal, children are born who would otherwise have been aborted. I regard abortion as a tragic event, as do many of the women and their male partners who choose to abort. Equally tragic is what happens when parents give birth but do not have the resources to care for their children.

My questions deal with how non-government agencies will provide for the needs of children and their mothers and fathers, because the Dobbs decision will increase the number of such children..

Here are my questions:

How many additional children in this congressional district will be born in 2023 as the result of the Supreme Court decision?

What does a year of child support cost? What are the likely one-year medical expenses for a woman and her newborn child?

What is the annual income that a single woman or man needs to support a child? What percent of single parents in this district have such an income? What percent of married parents have such an income?

What circumstances make it more likely that a woman will give birth without having the resources to support an additional child?

What happens to a child born to a parent who does not have adequate financial resources? In the first year of life? In the first five years of life? In the first 18 years?

If a woman experiencing a surprise pregnancy belongs to your church, how much support could she expect from your church in raising her child?

Will your church help support children born to parents who are not members of your church?

Name three private organizations besides churches that will support children born in this congressional district because of the Dobbs decision. How much support will such organizations provide?

If private organizations seem unlikely to support parents who give birth without adequate financial means, will you vote for government proposals to provide that support?

Father Joe Zimmerman, OFM
Holy Cross Friary
724 N. 20th
Quincy, IL 62301

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