Thirty-nine years ago the U. S. Supreme Court wiped from the books of all fifty states every law protecting the unborn child. In what Justice Byron White called an act of raw judicial power, seven of nine justices imposed on our land the perverse doctrine that a woman’s dignity depends upon her right to destroy her child. In concurrent decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court created a constitutional right to abortion on demand and initiated a reign of terror against unborn children that has resulted in the deaths of close to 55 million babies.
Those outraged by this attack on the most innocent of all life have over these last thirty-nine years relentlessly sought to restore the promise of our founding fathers of an “inalienable right to life.” We have been at this a long time, passing our hope and our commitment to new generations. Nowhere is this more clear than in the gathering of hundreds of thousands of pro-life citizens of all ages and religions from across the country in the annual March for Life in Washington DC every January – the largest, most continuous, peaceful protest in our country’s history.
But this sad anniversary also brings with it cause for great hope because we are winning this battle. More than 60% of Americans in a recent Gallup poll believe abortion should be illegal in most circumstances, a six-year high. Additionally, 51% of U.S. adults say abortion is morally wrong.
In Missouri as well, there’s cause for hope. The number of abortion clinics in Missouri has gone from a high of at least six to just one facility currently performing surgical abortions, the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. Another cause for hope is that the 9,796 abortions performed on Missouri women in 2010, the latest numbers available, represents a 9.4% reduction from the previous year – greater than the decrease in the five previous years combined and less than half of the all-time high of 21,671 in 1980.
The legislative response to legalized abortion has played a critical role in reducing the number of abortions. Legislation supporting alternatives to abortion, increasing clinic regulations and requiring that women receive more information about the life of their unborn child and the dangers of abortion have saved thousands of lives. Good pro-life legislation protects every unborn child and every expectant mother. Missouri Right to Life will continue working to save lives through the legislative process.
Efforts of those who offer alternatives to abortion, those who pray and counsel women at abortion mills, those who speak out on the pain of their abortion, and pro-life voters who vote in favor of pro-life candidates by a two-to-one margin have all made a difference. The evil inner workings of abortion are being exposed for all to see with the revelations of criminality and gross malpractice in abortion mills across the country.
The battle between the culture of life and the culture of death was imposed on this nation by the lethal logic that we are not required to respect the lives of human beings if they are too small, too weak, too dependent, or too inconvenient. While we pro-lifers know that we are winning, we also know that there are miles and miles to go. We will continue to work for protective legislation for innocent human life. We will continue to witness in prayer, provide alternatives, and speak out against the injustice of abortion. In the greatest human rights struggle of our time – if not all times – we will not rest.
Missouri Right to Life