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The Value of Every Life

by | Feb 17, 2015

Editor’s note. This appeared on page three of the current digital edition of National Right to Life News, “the pro-life newspaper of record.  You can read this story and the issue in its entirety at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsFeb2015.pdf

RonaldReagan4reThis month, we celebrate the birthday of our first prolife, post-Roe president, Ronald Reagan. President Reagan effectively promoted the sanctity of human life by defending unborn children and babies born with disabilities at home and by cutting off abortion funding overseas.

Among his many pro-life accomplishments, he adopted the Mexico City Policy which denied taxpayer funds to private organizations that performed or promoted abortions overseas. He cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) because it violated U.S. law by participating in China’s program of forced abortion.

President Reagan’s administration also played a key role in enacting the “Baby Doe” regulations to assure that medical treatment would not be denied to babies based on disability. President Reagan was the first to introduce the topic of fetal pain into public debate in a speech he delivered in 1984.

President Reagan knew the value and worth of each and every individual, born and unborn. In 1983, he wrote an essay for the Human Life Review (later turned into a book) titled, “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation.” At the time, the New York Times noted that, “An essay by a recent sitting president is extremely rare.” The editors of Human Life Review added that it was even more rare that the essay was about one of the most controversial issues of the day.

In his essay, President 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.”

We do know, conclusively, that a new life begins at fertilization. A baby’s heart begins to beat at 18 days, and brainwaves are present after just six weeks. The subsequent use of sonograms, now in full-color, with 3D and 4D imaging, helps us all to recognize the unmistakable face of a child.

We as a society must ask ourselves, as President Reagan did, “What is the value of human life?” We know that, for those in the abortion industry, innocent human life has no value. That precious little one, growing inside her mother, can be destroyed and discarded for any reason, in a manner of cruelty that if practiced on animals would stir outrage.

When a society devalues life at the beginning, it will inevitably also devalue life at the end. Nutrition and hydration—food and water—are now defined as “medical treatment” and routinely withheld from the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. It is also withheld from those who are disabled but not dying, or not dying fast enough, in the eyes of those who believe in the quality of life ethic.

Since society’s response to a woman with a problem pregnancy is to kill the child, it really is no surprise that our response to someone with an illness or disability is to kill the “problem”– the person.

Wesley Smith is on top of the on-going push to starve Alzheimer’s patients, even those who willingly eat and drink.

We’ve seen the battle for assisted suicide heat up as more state legislatures are asked to legalize the practice. Just last week, the Supreme Court of Canada struck the Canadian law protecting against assisting suicide.

When we start to decide who should live and who should die, the young and healthy will not be the first to go. The elderly and the disabled will be “encouraged” to end their lives. If they don’t want to, we need only look to places such as Belgium and the Netherlands. More and more there are instances of involuntary euthanasia. Incredibly, Belgium has legalized neonatal euthanasia.

In a country that cuts out corners of sidewalks, includes wheelchair ramps next to steps, and installs elevators so that our friends with disabilities can more easily get around, it makes no sense to turn around and tell them they would be better off dead.

Too often, the request for physician-assisted suicide comes from an elderly person who is lonely, or from one who is afraid that he or she will be a “burden” to their family.

We would do well to remember the Nigerian saying: “When an elder dies, a library is lost forever.” All the wisdom and experience gained by a person over many years is gone. We need to cherish every member of our family, whether they are young and healthy or elderly and infirm.

Life can be challenging enough. When someone has the added challenges, our response must be one of love and acceptance and assistance.

No one should feel like a burden. Every life has value. Every life is a library.

Categories: Life
Tags: life