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"Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," Revisited

Schweddy

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Source: The Human Life review

[font=Times New Roman,Serif][font=Times New Roman,Serif]Sam Brownback senator from Kansas

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[/font]On Saturday, June 5, 2004, President Ronald Reagan was called into eternity. The depth of America's emotional outpouring in tribute to him was testimony to his character, and to the esteem in which his countrymen held him. Sadness naturally accompanies the passing of a loved one, but the time for weeping passes. We will always miss the Gipper, but we needn't look far to see the impact he left on this country. Reagan may have taken leave of this life, but he has left us his legacy. That legacy was one of bold achievement in domestic, foreign, and social policy. Its unifying theme was a tremendous respect for each and every human life-wherever it lived, at whatever stage of development it had reached. This sensibility prompted Reagan to insist that the Soviet Empire was evil, and to demand of a new Soviet leader that he "tear down this wall"; it also led him to proclaim that "until and unless someone can establish that the unborn child is not a living human being, then that child is already protected by the Constitution, which guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all of us."

On January 14, 1988, Reagan made a simple yet profound presidential declaration of "the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death." Reagan articulated this principle-the Reagan Cultural Doctrine-throughout his years in the White House. He did so most notably in the spring of 1983 when-in a rare gesture for a sitting U.S. president-he submitted a soul-stirring policy essay to an intellectual journal. The article was "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," and it appeared in the Human Life Review.

The essay was typical of Reagan: clear, cogent, and filled with plain common sense. Essentially, Reagan argued that abortion violates human rights, and that it has a harmful effect on all people, not just its immediate victims. He noted that medical science, Western ethics, history, and the opinion of the American public are all on the side of life-as witnessed by their opposition to infanticide, which is closely linked with abortion. He appealed to Americans' support of human rights for all, whether born healthy or handicapped. He urged us to be souls of prayer, to work for positive change in society, and never to lose heart.

Twenty-one years later, and 31 years after Roe v. Wade, we need to revisit "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation." We need to reflect on whether we are closer to-or further away from-having a culture of life. Perhaps most important, we need to contemplate what personal and legislative steps we must take to draw out the best in the freedom-loving, life-loving American spirit.

America retains her greatness and her goodness because a tremendous respect for every life continues to undergird our guiding principles. Reagan appealed to this respect for life-this culture of life-and the highest ideals in us all. It is to these ideals that we must urgently appeal today. Certainly, our culture may appear a little shaky right now-from same-sex unions in Massachusetts and San Francisco, to a comeback of eugenics, to abortion providers who give no thought to the pain of an unborn child. In fact, however, we are better than this. America's culture is better than this.

We have previously waged great cultural battles in America, and in these battles Divine Providence has led the way to tremendous victories, such as the abolition of slavery and deliverance from tyranny. True, victory is not for the faint-hearted-but America has proven herself, time and again, the home of the brave.


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I suspect since congress is now GOP, that this will indeed be revisited.
 
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