On January 22, 1973, the U. S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws prohibiting abortion. Abortion advocates celebrated that decision, claiming that abortion was a” settled issue.” But pro-life people were outraged and committed themselves to restoring legal protection to the unborn.
There have been nine presidential elections and 19 Congressional elections since the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions. Abortion has been a major issue in every time.
Starting in 1976, battles were fought within the political parties as they framed their party platforms for the presidential contest. One party has emerged as the party of abortion, and one as the party of life.
Abortion has remained a hot topic throughout each presidential campaign. It is impossible for a candidate to dodge the issue. Some are able to articulate a clear position. Some are clumsy with their defense of whichever side they have chosen. But no one gets away with taking no position.
Pro-life activists can take credit for making sure abortion is not a settled issue even after 40 years of being legal in the United States. Sidewalk counseling in front of abortion clinics, the annual March for Life, Life Chain, “Face the Truth” Tours—all of these efforts force the American people to think about abortion and to examine their own attitudes about the value of life.
This week, the Republicans have gathered in Tampa, Florida, concurrent with tropical storm and hurricane Isaac as it made its way up the gulf coast and on toward Louisiana and Mississippi. Adjustments had to be made in the convention schedule as a result of the storm.
In a way, it is symbolic that a political convention should be dealing with a storm. Our nation is facing a political storm of epic proportions at this point in our history.
Not the least of the issues in the upcoming presidential campaign is abortion. While the economy is the official focus of the campaign, pundits, interviewers, reporters, and commentators cannot let go of the juicy issue of abortion and human life. And that is good for the pro-life movement and for the unborn. The more people have to confront the reality of abortion, the more pro-life they become.
Once again, as they have since 1976, the Republicans have stated a pro-life position in their platform: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
In contrast the Democrat platform states, “Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman’s right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay.” The Democratic Party language does not address the fate of the unborn child at all.
As we listen to the politicians at the conventions, it is heartening to hear some of them express a sincere belief in the value of life. Rick Santorum hit the nail on the head when he said that if America is to succeed, “We must stop the assault on marriage and the family.”
He went on to say, “I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God’s children—born an unborn—and says that each of us has dignity and all have the right to live the American dream.”
Mike Huckabee pointed out that the current administration and the Democrat party “supports changing the definition of marriage and believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb or even beyond the womb.”
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Paul Ryan, in his acceptance speech on Wednesday night, told the conventioneers, “Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.”
Most importantly, in his nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night, Mitt Romney clearly stated, “As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee Americas first liberty: the freedom of religion,”
Life remains a vital issue, as it should. Next week the Democrats gather in Charlotte, North Carolina for their convention.
In contrast to the pro-life views expressed by both the platform and many of the speakers, the Charlotte event will feature, among others, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who made headlines in the fight over the HHS Mandate and her supposedly desperate need for free contraception.
America is at a critical point in her history. Life hangs in the balance. Everyone who cherishes life must engage in the political process and play a part in this great battle for life and freedom.
LifeNews Note: Ann Scheidler writes for the Pro-Life Action League.