Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • Myers

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 1:00 am

Taking stand for life must be meaningful

Dr. Scott Nagel Myers

As a pediatric oncologist, my life's work is dedicated to changing outcomes – curing children of cancer, including those diseases once thought incurable. One does not have to think hard or long to understand and empathize with the perspective of the patient. It is the end result that matters; neither good effort nor favorable intent are enough.

When I was a professor at Georgetown University Hospital, our Jesuit motto was “cura personalis,” which refers to curing (and caring for) the needs of the whole person. One such person was a teenager who was diagnosed with a malignant tumor during a pregnancy.

She elected to forgo treatment until after the baby was born, praying that he would be born and she could survive to later receive successful treatment. He was, and she did. Her perspective on the value of unborn life is one that I value. Others not so much.

Tim Smith recently interrupted a reporter to share his unsolicited perspective on the pro-life movement. But a simple review of the Constitution clearly indicates that the local mayor has absolutely no influence over abortion policy, practice – or changing outcomes. What's next? Will he interrupt a discussion on Public Works project to tell us his thoughts on the newly proposed Space Force?

Stated plainly, the character of a local leader is predicated upon the understanding of serenity: the wisdom to understand what issues can be changed at the local level and which are not within the reach of a Fort Wayne mayor. The bold proclamation of intent to advance issues which one cannot change is arguably the definition of a demagogue.

For too long, pro-life voters have supported politicians who pay lip service to their convictions while quietly doing nothing. And although the explanations behind changing abortion outcomes are certainly multifactorial, it is interesting that federal data demonstrates that the relative rate of change has been most negative (i.e., fewer abortions) during years of Democratic presidencies.

My point is simply that the pro-life movement should focus on results. And there is no more meek pursuit of such results than to boast of pro-life conviction while running for the wrong office.

By contrast, John Crawford has clearly articulated a plan to reduce morbidity and mortality in the city of Fort Wayne through such feasible objectives as reducing crime, reducing street drug burden, increasing treatment for addiction and mental health needs, and indirectly improving access to health care and healthy living through economic improvements.

Further, it would behoove us to remember that the best predictor of future leadership is past leadership. As a city councilman, Dr. Crawford experienced the burden of “accumulating enemies” (his words) through such bold public health efforts as banning smoking in public Fort Wayne venues. What did Mr. Smith contribute to life as a corporate insurance employee?

Perhaps most important to the consideration of mayoral character is that Dr. Crawford is focused on changing outcomes, applying all of his effort to those local issues which a mayor can feasibly master. This is the local definition of what it means to be “pro-life.”

Dr. Scott Nagel Myers of Fort Wayne is a pediatric oncologist.