“…not a woman’s rights issue but a human rights issue”

This coming Sunday, January 19, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Since 1984 the the Sunday in January falling closest to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision has been recognized as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, having begun with a proclamation from President Ronald Reagan on January 13, 1984. Reagan’s proclamation asserted that the death of 15 million children by abortion from 1973 to 1984 was “a tragedy of stunning dimensions that stands in sad contrast to our belief that each life is sacred. These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in all our Nation’s wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.” President Reagan continued to issue proclamations for this Sunday of remembrance each year for the remainder of his presidency. President George H.W. Bush did so, too, as did his son, President George W. Bush. President Bill Clinton did not issue these proclamations, nor has President Barack Obama.

The National Right to Life has called the presidential proclamations and the designated Sunday “a wonderful statement of what the pro-life movement is really all about.” Not surprisingly, pro-abortion groups such as NARAL are adamantly opposed to the proclamations and the recognition of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, saying that they are in fact attempts to restrict women’s rights. This is not an argument restricted to NARAL and other extremist pro-abortion groups. An April 2009 article on FoxNews.com quotes actress Amy Brenneman as saying, “Unless a woman really has sovereignty over her own body we really haven’t come that far.” In other words, denying a woman the right to kill the unborn child living in her womb, should she so desire, is akin to denying women the rights to own property or vote or pursue career paths previously restricted to men.

Fortunately, there are others that articulately explain and defend the right to life and the reasons behind the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and not all of them are individuals that might be most commonly referred to by the mainstream media as right wing Bible bangers. For example, model Kathy Ireland presented her pro-life views very clearly in the same FoxNews.com article that quoted Brenneman.

Ireland explained, “My entire life I was pro-choice — who was I to tell another woman what she could or couldn’t do with her body? But when I was 18, I became a Christian and I dove into the medical books, I dove into science. What I read was astounding and I learned that at the moment of conception a new life comes into being. The complete genetic blueprint is there, the DNA is determined, the blood type is determined, the sex is determined, the unique set of fingerprints that nobody has had or ever will have is already there.”

Interestingly, despite what she learned in her research, Ireland claims that she resisted becoming pro-life; it still did not line up with what she thought was right and it certainly did not line up with what most of the people in her world believed. So, she continued her research, calling Planned Parenthood for help. “I called Planned Parenthood and begged them to give me their best argument and all they could come up with that it is really just a clump of cells and if you get it early enough it doesn’t even look like a baby. Well, we’re all clumps of cells and the unborn does not look like a baby the same way the baby does not look like a teenager, a teenager does not look like a senior citizen. That unborn baby looks exactly the way human beings are supposed to look at that stage of development. It doesn’t suddenly become a human being at a certain point in time. I’ve also asked leading scientists across our country to please show me some shred of evidence that the unborn is not a human being. I didn’t want to be pro-life, but this is not a woman’s rights issue but a human rights issue.”

Ireland’s argument is well stated, and as we approach Sanctity of Human Life Sunday I urge you to take a stand for life however you see fit. You may do it quietly, you may do it privately, you may do it publicly or corporately. However you choose to do it I would ask that you do it respectfully–the name-calling, threats and violence that have been employed by same in the name of the pro-life movement do not help the pro-life cause nor do they reflect well on anyone engaging in such activity. This truly is a human rights issue. Take a stand for life!

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