In past pro-life Administrations, we have often had to urge and push past presidents to say something about the unborn.
Not so with President Trump. He speaks up, he does so from the heart, and he does so with a vision to win.
In the State of the Union address, after speaking in two paragraphs about the specific issue of late term abortion and infanticide, and protecting unborn babies capable of feeling pain, he articulated in the third paragraph the overall vision of the pro-life movement:
“Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
Key here are the words “all” and “fundamental.” The president understands that pro-life is not simply a matter of policy; it is a matter of principle. It is, in fact, one of the principles upon which the nation he so passionately defends was built.
And that principle — that every life is sacred, because it comes from God, belongs to God, and goes back to God — and that this is inherent to our humanity and not a concession of government, necessarily invokes the word “all.”
In other words, unless all children are sacred, none are, because you can’t hold, at the same time, the principle that human life is sacred because it is human, and the notion that some human lives (or even one) are not sacred.
That is clear in what the president has said on multiple occasions.
And that is the context in which we should understand one of his recent tweets pointing to "exceptions" for rape, incest, and the life of the mother — a tweet, for reasons I will explain, that tell me of his deep commitment to victory in the pro-life cause.
In other words, we fight abortion on many levels. We fight it on a moral level by educating minds and hearts on the principle already articulated here. We cannot exclude any unborn child from recognition or protection. And there can never be a circumstance, no matter how dire, in which even a single abortion is ever justified.
That is a moral principle.
We also fight abortion on a legislative and political level, trying to shape public policy in such a way that it corresponds to that principle. And although progress is being made, we are pretty far from that goal — especially as we see the Democrat Party embracing what is apparently its principle, namely, that no unborn child should ever be protected from a mother’s choice to kill that child, even if the child accidentally survives.
But here is my point.
Legislators at every level of government who embrace the principle that “all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God” are not primarily moral teachers, but lawmakers. Being a lawmaker means calculating what is feasible in each circumstance. And that means knowing how to count.
One might have the most principled legislative proposal in the world, but if there aren’t enough people in the legislative body to vote for that proposal, it will not become law.
It will simply be a line in a book about moral principles.
Lawmakers have to make law, and therefore they have to be able to count, and to enact what they can with the numbers they have.
That is precisely why so many who believe in the principle that every unborn child is sacred and work toward the goal of protecting all of them will nevertheless, in practice, include in legislative proposals the exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
Opinion in most legislative bodies as well as in polling of the general public shows that we do not yet have a majority of people ready to protect unborn children in those circumstances.
Through education, testimony, science, and prayer we work to build that consensus. And we support those states which do in fact have the legislative will now to protect these children without exception.
But if protecting the rest of the children requires that a legislative proposal include those exceptions, is it wrong to advance and support such a proposal? Absolutely not. Is it a betrayal of principle? Absolutely not.
In fact, we have an obligation to rally those lawmakers who are ready to protect the unborn outside of those exceptions to go ahead and act now to protect them.
And that is how we can, as the president urges, be united as a movement. We can work to protect legislatively all we can protect now. The other side wants instead that we focus the debate on how to handle abortion cases of rape and incest. But we can focus the debate precisely where the other side does not want it to be, namely, on late-term abortion. Those are their “hard cases.”
On that strategy, the president is not only is with us on this issue, but is exercising leadership to bring actual protection to these children, here and now, while we have the chance to do so.
And for that, he deserves our continued strong support, and our vote!
Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. He became a Catholic priest in 1988 under Cardinal John O’Connor in New York. In 1993 he became National Director of Priests for Life. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels to about four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He broadcasts regularly on television, radio, and internet. He was asked by Mother Teresa to speak in India on abortion, and was asked by then-candidate Donald Trump to serve on his Pro-life and Catholic advisory councils. He has served at the Vatican as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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