In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated Sunday, January 22nd as Sanctity of Human Life Day.
In his proclamation, Reagan called on Americans “to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.”
The world has changed greatly in the 31 years since Ronald Reagan instituted Sanctity of Human Life Day. The pro-life movement has gained ground. Abortion rates are declining, states are enacting record numbers of meaningful protections for unborn children and their mothers, and public opinion polls show more and more Americans identifying themselves as pro-life.
But tragically, abortion continues to take the lives of more than one million unborn children every year.
As Reagan reflected on the toll of abortion just 11 years after the fateful Roe v. Wade decision, he observed, “We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual.”
After nearly 42 years of abortion on demand in the United States, many have become callous to the brutal reality of abortion. Many refuse to acknowledge the unborn child is indeed a living member of the human family. Many have closed their hearts to pregnant mothers seeking life-affirming solutions. Some have even come to believe that ending the life of an unborn baby is paramount to equality for women.
Even 42 years later, many Americans are still unaware of the brutal ways in which unborn children are killed in abortion.
One such way is through dismemberment abortion, a common and brutal type of dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion, which kills a living unborn child. In a dismemberment abortion, sharp-edged instruments are used to grasp, twist and tear the baby’s body into pieces. Justice Anthony Kennedy described this procedure saying, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”
Last week, Sen. Garrett Love introduced a bill in the Kansas state Senate, which puts this horrific abortion method at the forefront of the debate. In a civilized country, it’s unfathomable that we continue to subject the youngest members of the human family to such brutal cruelty.
The violence of abortion continues through apathy and even willful ignorance. Through advances in science and medicine, we know without any doubt that life does not begin when a baby leaves the birth canal. And yet, there are places in the United States where abortion is legal essentially through all nine months of pregnancy.
There is work to be done. In the coming year, we will have opportunities to educate, enact life-saving legislation and reach out to pregnant mothers in need. All of this work begins, as Reagan noted, by “reaffirming our commitment to the dignity of every human being and sanctity of each human life.”