NRL News

Pro-Life Perspective: “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation”

by | Sep 14, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

The joy of hearing National Right to Life President and PLP host Carol Tobias talk about President Ronald Reagan’s masterful essay turned book is how inspired you are by reminders of his dedication to our cause and by the recognition that when it comes to human rights there is nothing new under the sun.

Each day this week, Mrs. Tobias is holding up an aspect of the contributions the Reagan Presidency made to our cause for closer examination and celebration, using quotes from Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.

On Monday Mrs. Tobias set the table, reminding us how

“For eight years, Ronald Reagan used his presidency to advance the cause of life.  He very often used the Oval Office to speak out about the humanity of unborn children and challenge the country’s abortion mindset.”

In his book the President gently but firmly shredded many of the traditional pro-abortion distortions, reminding his audience that almost no one defended the legal underpinnings of Roe v. Wade.

As President Reagan wrote:

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. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, Professor John Hart Ely, (who at the time of writing was Dean of Stanford Law School), wrote that the opinion “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Nowhere do the plain words of the Constitution even hint at a “right” so sweeping as to permit abortion up to the time the child is ready to be born. Yet that is what the Court ruled.

He continued: 

As an act of “raw judicial power” (to use Justice White’s biting phrase), the decision by the seven-man majority in Roe v. Wade has so far been made to stick. But the Court’s decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.

In today’s five-minute Pro-Life Perspective, Mrs. Tobias focuses in on a key point President Reagan made early in his book: 

Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart. This is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade. At first, only a minority of Americans recognized and deplored the moral crisis brought about by denying the full humanity of our black brothers and sisters; but that minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. They did it by appealing to the hearts and minds of their countrymen, to the truth of human dignity under God. From their example, we know that respect for the sacred value of human life is too deeply engrained in the hearts of our people to remain forever suppressed. But the great majority of the American people have not yet made their voices heard, and we cannot expect them to—any more than the public voice arose against slavery—until the issue is clearly framed and presented.

He asks, “what, then is the real issue?”  President Reagan explains that when we talk about abortion, we’re really talking about two lives–the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child.  Recognizing this truth changes everything.

More about this and much more tomorrow. If you’ve missed  Monday’s or Tuesday’s broadcast, go to

Categories: NRLC