Health care is dominating the headlines today. It doesn’t matter where you go for your news–we are being bombarded with CBO analyses, political posturing, and finger pointing. Those on the left are attempting to maintain perceived gains while those on the right attempt to completely deconstruct much of the last eight years as they seek to make their own gains.

This type of back and forth makes for good political theatre, but I am afraid that this chase ultimately neglects those directly affected by the policies that are implemented in Washington.

When we live in a perpetual campaign season, we become spectators in an arena waiting for the next bold move from one side or the other.

That being said, it would be unfair of me to place all the blame on politicians when we are just as guilty. Cable news outlets are seeing massive ratings, my social media feed is full of pontifications, and many of our conversations are loaded with political speak as we run to our political corners to make the next great point and notch our next big win.

We love the fight, the chase, and the perpetual campaigning as much as the campaigner does.

This is what our discourse has become or maybe it is what is has always been. Either way, it is the antithesis to civility. Policies made in a vacuum may create great talking points, but they struggle to address actual issues at hand.

It is not lost on me that my musings today may be viewed simply as just another hot take on health care. That, however, is not my motive. Instead, I would like to offer what HOPE Resource Center, the pregnancy resource center I run, plans to do regardless of what decision is ultimately made in the arena that is D.C.

Our plan is simple. We will go to work. We will open our doors Monday through Friday seeking to serve the men and women of this city. We will provide pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing and treatments, parenting education, and material assistance.

We will provide all of these services at no cost.

Politicians, lobbyists, and analysts will ultimately come up with a health care policy that is voted on and implemented. Some will see this policy as an end of a productive era, while others celebrate a move into a new era. I certainly have my opinions on this, but those can be saved for another day or maybe a conversation over coffee.

The point I want to make today is that regardless of what is eventually drafted and made into law, we at HOPE will continue to serve the way we have since 1997. We didn’t charge our patients or their insurance carriers then and we won’t charge them now. 

During our 20 years, HOPE has seen politics in Tennessee and Washington change hands as Democrats and Republicans each enjoyed full control. We, of course, care about decisions being made in the Capitol, but we do not put our hope in those decisions.

I don’t want my words to be misconstrued today. I support pro-life judges, legislation, and legislators. I desire for our leaders to see the value in life. I, however, am not content with those things. I believe that politics are downstream from culture. Culture is in the driver’s seat.

This means I must engage, certainly, at a political level, but it cannot stop there. This is why we do what we do at HOPE. This is why we provide upwards of $600,000 worth of services currently and will soon see those services expanded to well-women visits. This is why I speak at churches, recruit volunteers, and partner with businesses.

We believe that our impact in this city will see a trajectory change on the issue of life that, I pray, will eventually make its way to Capitol Hill.

Today, somewhere in D.C., a meeting is taking place and lines are being drawn. Legislation is being crafted and decisions are being made. I can’t do much about the direction of those meetings, but I can make sure that a young woman facing some very difficult circumstances in our city has a safe place to go, full of eager medical professionals ready and willing to serve her in her time of need.

This is why we get up every morning. For the thousands we have served and the thousands of lives saved because of that service.

Andrew Wood

Andrew serves as the Executive Director of Hope Resource Center, one of the largest pregnancy centers in the Southeast, located in Knoxville, TN. When he is not discussing and promoting life issues he is at home with his wife, Erin, and their three kids, Gavin, Summer, and Evelyn.