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Transforming the world one step at a time, one life at a time

by | Oct 16, 2019

Editor’s note. This column, by NRLC President Carol Tobias, appears on page three of the October digital edition of NRL News. Please read the entire issue and pass stories along to your pro-life family and friends. They can sign up to receive NRL News and NRL News Today here.

By Carol Tobias

The pro-life movement is best known for combatting abortion– protecting defenseless unborn children and supporting alternatives for their mothers who are contemplating abortion. Lesser known is that National Right to Life, from its very beginnings, has been and remains equally concerned with euthanasia, assisted suicide, and proposals that would lead to the rationing of health care.

NRL News Today has covered some stories recently that affected me more than usual. One was the story of June Knight, a 79-year-old woman in England with Alzheimer’s disease. Her son, Robert, entered the nursing home where she was living, picked her up, and threw her over the balcony, sending her plummeting to her death. He told police he didn’t want to see her suffer and purposely tilted her so her head would hit the ground first.

Robert Knight was found guilty of murder but, unbelievably, given a two-year suspended sentence. Judge Samantha Leigh said, “You are someone who acted out of love and desperation.”

In another article, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith explains how a new law passed in Nevada “allows people to order their future care givers to starve and dehydrate them to death.” In an understatement, if ever there was one, Wesley wrote, “This is stunning.”

We are fast becoming a utilitarian society. The argument goes something like this. Human beings live their lives to the fullest extent possible but, if physical or mental conditions start to place limitations on us, we should accept the proposition that the world is better off without us. (This is especially targeted at the frail elderly. Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm once called it a “duty to die and get out of the way.”)

If those limitations are evident before birth, abortion is the recommended “solution.” If the limitations arrive or develop after birth, pills, lethal injections, or starvation and dehydration are the (current) recommended “solutions.”

But just when I start to get dispirited about the future of “life,” other stories appear that brighten my day–

Like the court ruling in England, which determined that the parents of five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb can take their daughter to a hospital in Italy for treatment, against the wishes of a British hospital which argues “further treatment is futile and that she should be allowed to die.” The Italian hospital has expertise in treating conditions like Tafida’s.

Or hearing the Guttmacher Institute (no friend of unborn children) tell us that the number of abortions performed in 2017 was the lowest since 1973, an almost 50% decrease from the all-time high of 1.6 million in 1990. The abortion rate is also at an all-time low, letting us know that our efforts are making a difference. More and more women are choosing life.

Or when President Trump issues a beautiful statement recognizing October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month. His message reads, in part,

“Every human life possesses immeasurable value, and my Administration will continue to embrace and defend the inherent truth that all of God’s children should be loved and cherished. This month is an important opportunity for Americans to reaffirm our commitment to creating a society that better appreciates and respects the dignity of life at all of its beautiful and miraculous stages.

“We must devote our efforts to ensure that the United States continues to exhibit reverence for human life—both born and unborn. Our country is incredibly enriched by Americans with Down syndrome. As a Nation, we are inspired by the spirit and exuberant joy with which these treasured Americans live each day.” (Read full statement here.)

When it comes to the protection of human life, the pro-life movement is a voice of reason, compassion, and love. We recognize each individual as precious and unique. We accept differences in the qualities and capabilities of each person not as liabilities but as an important part of the fabric of society.

Continue to speak up. Persevere in your efforts to protect vulnerable persons who are likely candidates for abortion or euthanasia. Continue to promote the principle–the truth–that human beings are morally and ethically more important than trees or animals; that each human life is deserving of dignity and respect.

Our love for life, reflected in our words and actions, can transform the world. That is certainly a huge goal, but we can do it; one step at a time, one life at a time.

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