NRL News

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

by | Jun 13, 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


All this week National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Perspective Host Carol Tobias will be quoting from a book that while brief spoke volumes–President Ronald Reagan’s Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation. The President deftly asked his readers to get beyond distractions, to get back to basics. He often did so by reminding us what the real questions are. For example Mr. Reagan wrote

“The real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life? The abortionist who reassembles the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all its parts have been torn from its mother’s body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being. The real question for him and for all of us is whether that tiny human life has a God-given right to be protected by the law— the same right we have. What more dramatic confirmation could we have of the real issue than the Baby Doe case in Bloomington, Indiana?”

Many younger pro- and anti-lifers may not even realize who “Baby Doe” was, or the instrumental role Reagan played in bringing the nation’s attention to infanticide. In many ways, it was the President’s final hour. As he wrote

“The death of that tiny infant tore at the hearts of all Americans because the child was undeniably a live human being—one lying helpless before the eyes of the doctors and the eyes of the nation. The real issue for the courts was not whether Baby Doe was a human being. The real issue was whether to protect the life of a human being who had Down’s Syndrome, who would probably be mentally handicapped, but who needed a routine surgical procedure to unblock his esophagus and allow him to eat. A doctor testified to the presiding judge that, even with his physical problem corrected, Baby Doe would have a ‘non-existent’ possibility for ‘a minimally adequate quality of life’—in other words, that retardation was the equivalent of a crime deserving the death penalty. The judge let Baby Doe starve and die, and the Indiana Supreme Court sanctioned his decision.”

In response to the 1982 Baby Doe case, he directed the department of Justice and Health and Human Services to apply civil rights regulations to protect handicapped newborns. He required that all hospitals receiving federal funds post notices which stated that failure to feed handicapped babies is prohibited by federal law.

Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation also reminded us of the 1981 Senate hearings on the beginning of human life. President Reagan wrote that those hearings

“…brought out the basic issue more clearly than ever before. The many medical and scientific witnesses who testified disagreed on many things, but not on the scientific evidence that the unborn child is alive, is a distinct individual, or is a member of the human species. They did disagree over the value question, whether to give value to a human life at its early and most vulnerable stages of existence.

“Regrettably, we live at a time when some persons do not value all human life. They want to pick and choose which individuals have value. Some have said that only those individuals with ‘consciousness of self’ are human beings. One such writer has followed this deadly logic and concluded that ‘shocking as it may seem, a newly born infant is not a human being.’”

Be sure to go to to listen to Mrs. Tobias and to catch up on any episodes you’ve missed. And don’t forget to pass this URL along using your social networks.

Categories: Abortion