By Carol Tobias, NRLC President
Editor’s note. This first appeared in the Winter 2013 edition of National Right to Life News. If you are not a subscriber, please call us at 202-626-8828.
As the right-to-life movement enters the 40th year of legalized abortion on demand in our country, it’s appropriate to look at the current state of affairs. Fifty-five million children have been killed by abortion. It’s difficult to comprehend that number. Almost 18% of our entire population, that number is equal to the population of the entire middle portion of the country. It’s almost the population of New York and California.
How different our country would be today if those 20- and 30-somethings were working, maybe creating jobs for others, getting married and raising children of their own. Grandchildren are missing, having been erased from the family tree. Women are hurting, knowing they cannot reverse the decision that took from them a part of their own life.
Our loss of respect for the innocent human life of that, oh so little, unborn child has created a mindset that no human life is special. If some elderly person is taking up necessary space in a hospital or nursing home, let’s determine that food and water are medical treatment and consider them to be unnecessary. Is a disabled person taking up too many medical resources and not giving enough back to the state? Deny him or her treatment.
Sometimes it seems that our society cares more about animals than people. Witness the television commercials asking for support to save abused dogs and cats. Don’t humans deserve as much compassion? Shouldn’t humans get even more?
As pro-lifers, how do we respond? As I look at who we are and what we do, I think that can be summed up in one word—LOVE.
The right-to-life movement is the movement of love. Most of us have attended a wedding where those famous words from 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, are read:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
While those words are wonderful for a couple looking to spend the rest of their lives together, how much more appropriate are they for those who seek to help and protect others simply because those others exist.
We work to save people we will never meet. Whether those persons are unborn babies saved from abortion, or elderly and disabled persons saved from euthanasia, they may never know that our efforts and our intervention made it possible for them to live. What a beautiful expression of love.
That love is also endless in that we will never give up. We sometimes have setbacks, like the one we experienced in November when this country re-elected the most pro-abortion president ever, but we keep on because love doesn’t give up, it doesn’t end.
Everything we do, we do because of and with love. We work to better inform our friends and neighbors, our community and our states about the precious gift of human life; that each and every human life has value, and is deserving of dignity and respect. We will talk about the fact that 22 days after fertilization, an unborn child’s heart begins to beat—with her own blood, not her mother’s. By five weeks, eyes, legs, and hands are developing. By six weeks, brain waves can be detected and fingers are forming. At 20 weeks, that unborn child can feel pain.
We work with young people to help them understand that ALL human beings, no matter how small or how (im)perfect, have the right to live.
Pro-lifers work with pregnant women who aren’t looking with excitement and joy at the new life growing inside them. This child is coming at an inopportune time in her life. We offer support, encouragement, and practical help as she works through the situation.
We work with legislators to pass legislation that will protect unborn children to the extent possibly allowed under current Supreme Court rulings. We work with them to save those vulnerable to death by the withholding of medical care, and even the withholding of food and water. We oppose the rationing of lifesaving medical care. It would be easier to watch TV, take a walk in the park, or visit with friends, but organizing support for protective legislation is important. Again—trying to save fellow human beings we will likely never meet.
And yes, we will continue to work in the political arena to elect candidates who will work with us to protect innocent human life.
The late Bob Casey, former governor of Pennsylvania, said, “In the long term, our cultural unease with abortion, this refusal to drop the subject, is our most hopeful sign of health. Other countries, sadly, have more or less learned to live with it; they don’t see it as anything to get worked up about. But not here. This thing—this horrible thing, so contrary to our ideals, our inclusiveness, our kindness, our love for one another—has been grafted onto American society. But it is not a functioning organ … . It won’t take. It won’t heal. The body rejects it.”
You are the reason America is still uneasy about abortion. You have kept abortion at the top of the “social issues” list. There are estimates that at least one million people are alive today, who otherwise would have been aborted, because of your work.
The right-to-life movement loves, not in word or talk, but in deed and in truth. May God bless us all as we continue this work of love.