NRL News

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

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


President Ronald Reagan used the “bully pulpit” provided by the Oval Office to speak out on behalf of the unborn through his eight years as president.  In 1983, he authored an essay in the pro-life quarterly journal, Human Life Review.  Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation was subsequently printed separately and the book has been read and quoted widely ever since. 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 Reagan eloquently summed up the tragedy of abortion on demand and it’s amazing just how relevant his words still are today,” Mrs. Tobias remarks at President Reagan place abortion in its larger, historical context:

“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.”

With the genius that was characteristically his, President asked and then answered the question, “What, then is the real issue?”  That abortion involves not one but two lives AND that if anyone has any questions about whether we are talking about a second human life, you “should clearly give life the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn.”

A key connection President made was to illustrate how the correctness of our “moral sensibilities” is confirmed by medical science. He wrote

“Modern medicine treats the unborn child as a patient. Medical pioneers have made great breakthroughs in treating the unborn—for genetic problems, vitamin deficiencies, irregular heart rhythms, and other medical conditions. Who can forget [columnist] George Will’s moving account of the little boy who underwent brain surgery six times during the nine weeks before he was born? Who is the patient if not that tiny unborn human being who can feel pain when he or she is approached by doctors who come to kill rather than to cure?”

We forget that it was President Reagan who introduced the entire topic of fetal pain into the abortion discussion. As was often the case, Mr. Reagan was ahead of his time.

Tomorrow, Mrs. Tobias continues her week-long look at President Reagan’s essay, Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.  All of this week’s episodes are available at our website,

Be sure to share this week’s episodes with your friends and neighbors by forwarding the URL by use of your social networks.

Categories: Abortion