NRL News

What’s airing on Pro-Life Perspective Today? “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation,” Part One

by | Jun 12, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. There is still time to register for the National Right to Life convention June 28-30 and to reserve a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in  Arlington, Virginia. Just go to


What a wonderful coincidence. On Sunday C-SPAN aired President Ronald Reagan’s hugely inspirational June 12, 1987, “Address from the Brandenburg Gate” (Berlin Wall). That speech is best remembered, of course, for President Reagan’s challenge to Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to “Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Just as President Reagan used his two terms in office to advance the cause of freedom around the world, so, too, did he very often use the Oval Office to speak out about the humanity of unborn children and challenge our country’s abortion mindset. 

All this week NRLC President and Pro-Life Perspective Host Carol Tobias will share from President Reagan 1983 essay that first ran in the pro-life quarterly journal, Human Life Review.  President Reagan’s Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation was subsequently printed separately and the book has been read and quoted widely, including in NRL News Today. She tells us

“Though these words they were written more than two decades ago, they still provide pro-lifers insight and encouragement into the greatest human rights cause. “

Before moving to the ethics (actually, the lack thereof) of abortion, President Reagan established the basic—that Roe’s “right” to abortion is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. He 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.”

But the transitional key is that this exercise in “raw judicial power” settled nothing. “Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation,” he wrote.

Among President Reagan’s many geniuses was the ability to frame issues in their larger context. He wrote

“Abortion concerns not just the unborn child, it concerns every one of us. The English poet, John Donne, wrote: . . . any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee…

“We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life— the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism [in 1982] when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of ‘Baby Doe’ in Bloomington because the child had Down’s Syndrome.”

You will want to listen to Mrs. Tobias quote from our great pro-life President. Be sure to go today and all week.

Categories: Abortion