Ronald Reagan: A Pro-Life Hero, Champion on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ronald Reagan: A Pro-Life Hero, Champion on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 5, 2004

Washington, DC ( — After battling with Alzheimer’s and deteriorating health for years, former president Ronald Reagan passed away on Saturday afternoon. For the pro-life community, Reagan was the first genuine pro-life president after almost a decade of living under the Roe v. Wade decision.

Reagan was the only sitting president to write a book while in office and, fittingly, "Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation" was a celebration of the pro-life perspective and an encouragement for the pro-life community to never give up.

"Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right," Reagan wrote.

"Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart," Reagan added.

"As a nation today, we have not rejected the sanctity of human life," Reagan wrote. "The American people have not had an opportunity to express their view on the sanctity of human life in the unborn. I am convinced that Americans do not want to play God with the value of human life. It is not for us to decide who is worthy to live and who is not."

As a vocally pro-life president, Congressman Henry Hyde, himself a pro-life champion, says Reagan "gave the right to life position stature and legitimacy."

Yet, Mike Spence, the Vice President of the California Pro-Life Council, says there is "a concerted effort to "excise" Ronald Reagan’s strong pro-life message from the history of his administration."

"There are individuals — even Republicans — who either didn’t understand or chose to oppose this great man’s commitment to the founding principles of our Republic and the preeminence of the right to life’ as the structural foundation for sound and just government," Spence added.

One effort to undo the Reagan legacy comes in the battle over embryonic stem cell research.

Reagan’s wife Nancy has been leading the charge for the destructive research, which involves the destruction of unborn children in their first days of life in order to extract their stem cells.

Nancy Reagan has asked President George W. Bush to rescind his policy of preventing any federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Though she cites cures for others afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease as a potential beneficiary, the request would likely go against the wishes of the former president, who strongly opposed the use of federal tax dollars to fund abortions.

Nationally syndicated columnist Fred Barnes calls Reagan the "father of the pro-life movement."

When President Bush signed the ban on partial-birth abortions, the first bill banning any kind of abortions since Roe, "that was the embrace by conservatives of the antiabortion cause" of Reagan," Barnes wrote.

"Why did Mr. Reagan’s take on abortion matter so much? Because he was not only president but also the undisputed leader of America’s conservatives. He defined conservatism. Not every conservative agreed with him, but most did," Barnes explained.

"When President Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban, it was fitting that the event was held at the Ronald Reagan Building, a few blocks from the White House," Barnes added.

Without President Reagan, Barnes said, it may never have happened.