Two days after the inauguration of Barack Obama we remember the thirty-sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. On Jan. 22, 1973 the court declared abortion to be a constitutional right that trumped the right to life.
A lot has happened in thirty-six years. America, beacon of hope and liberty to the rest of the world, has legally killed over 50 million unborn babies. We've wounded tens of millions of women by helping them to snuff out their own children, devaluing life for us all.
Our willingness to dispose of the unborn has desensitized our society. Now we throw infants in trash bins and sexually and physically abuse small children in ways and numbers too horrid to repeat.
We encourage our young people to be sexually active and we sneer at those who would espouse abstinence. We wonder why there are so many "unintended" pregnancies and we perpetuate the problem by glorifying sex outside of marriage. Almost half the babies born in America are born to single parents, and we act as though making condoms and abortions more available will fix what is wrong. We seem intent on protecting reproductive freedom more than women and babies.
Something else has happened in the last 36 years. Knowledge about the beginnings of life has grown immensely. In 1973 the highest court in the land couldn't be sure of when life began.
Today anyone who has taken a high school biology course knows life begins at conception. Ultrasound machines abound and readily prove the tiniest human beings are alive.
In response to our expanded knowledge, every state in the nation has passed laws in one form or another that reflect to some degree a growing respect for those waiting to be born. Very slowly, our laws have begun to put some parameters on the "right" to abortion. Informed consent, partial-birth abortion bans, parental consent laws, unborn victims of violence laws; all these are moving us incrementally toward protection of the most vulnerable.
The last eight years have given some cause for hope as our president issued executive orders that limited embryonic stem cell research, protecting the very smallest human beings.
Our courts finally ended the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion, whereby full term, healthy infants in the birthing process were stabbed in the skull and had their "cranial contents" sucked out.
President Bush deserves no small amount of credit for promoting a "culture of life" during his administration. There have been solid pro-life gains in the last eight years. While in Minneapolis last fall, a young man handed me a button. It pictured two men: Samuel Alito and John Roberts. It said simply, "Thanks, W!" Ditto for me.
But all that may be changing. Mr. Obama has promised change and where life is concerned, he may deliver. His appointments so far have shown a distinct anti-life bent.
Mr. Obama promised the first thing he will do as president is to get the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) passed. FOCA would negate every pro-life law that has been passed since 1973 and would be a dream come true for pro-abortion activists. FOCA would remove all parameters placed on abortion in the last 36 years. FOCA would turn the clock back on the right to life and essentially put us back at square one. Congress and Mr. Obama seem poised to carry through.
What is the pro-life community to do? Throw up our hands? Throw in the towel? Not on your life! We must continue to fight the good fight in the courts and in our state legislatures and Congress. Our cause is just and worth fighting for; whether it takes 36years or one 136 years.
We must change not only laws but people's hearts. We must pray, we must educate and we must be ready to help women in crisis. We must continue until everyone in the human race is afforded their God-given right to life. No matter what happens during the Obama presidency, we must be resolute in our in our goal to make America a place where the unborn, the elderly and infirm are protected by law.
Debbie Joslin lives in Delta Junction and is president of Eagle Forum Alaska.