This weekend, formally memorialized on the third Saturday of every May, America unites to celebrate each and every member of the Armed Forces who has fought and served to defend our nation, and to preserve and protect the God-given liberty we enjoy that is enshrined in our Constitution.
It is only because the men and women of these United States volunteer their military service with honor, courage, determination, steadfastness and selfless sacrifice that America remains free, our liberty is sustained and the civilized world is defended from tyranny and travail.
Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines -- we, your fellow citizens, honor you with our deepest gratitude, the tribute of our love and ceremonies recalling our undying memory of especially those fallen in battle -- to commemorate the incalculable price you have paid for our freedom.
We know that, as Abraham Lincoln said of the Gettysburg battlefield, it is
"for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
We, as a nation, can never truly repay our brave warriors who have served and suffered in battle, or their families, for their heroic devotion to America -- but we can certainly show them our love and take time this weekend to pay them the respect they have earned from a grateful nation.
OUR 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT:
THE MILITIA IS THE KEY
Alan Keyes Explains Current Battle Is Not
about Guns, But about Liberty
Any effort to disarm the American people is unlawful. That is clear according to the "laws of nature and of nature's God" and the clear, plain language of the Constitution. Moves to disarm the people are unequivocally the benchmark of a design "to reduce them under absolute despotism."
Despotism is Barack Obama's purpose and the purpose of any and all forces in our society who support his bid to render Americans defenseless. Some of his less astute supporters are already sighing aloud about the need for dictatorship.
Others, less imprudent, slyly promote the notion that to secure ourselves against madmen and terrorists we have no choice but to surrender to government all means of defending ourselves against either. Their policy is "Disarm and trust the government." But when those in government become, or make use of, madmen and terrorists (as did the totalitarian Communists and Nazis of the 20th century), what then?
Because government power, when abused, is precisely the source of the greatest threat to liberty, those in government cannot be trusted as the ultimate guardians of liberty. That task is properly and inevitably left to the people themselves.
As individuals, in their families, and especially through their local institutions of religion and government, the people were and are the proper focus for all the decisions and activities involved in maintaining the "well-regulated militia" that is the key concept of the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment's logic arises from the connection between the people's right to keep and bear arms and the security of their freedom. It aims to make sure that Americans do not easily forget a hard truth: moves to secure a government monopoly on the legal possession and use of arms war against what is, in practice, the sine qua non of the people's right of self-government.
Unlawful bills, (or, as in Obama's plans, the issuance of unlawful "executive orders") that aim to disarm the people, on whatever pretexts, are the open declaration of this war against republican self-government. As such, they signify the onset of what will inevitably become a war against the property, persons and lives of the people.
America's Founders understood this, which is why the Second Amendment sets up a bulwark, in the Supreme Law of the land, to defend the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This bulwark marks the Rubicon that separates lawful government from the abuse of power by lawless forces usurping the name and authority of government. It also signals the moment when the peaceable courses of action envisaged and protected by the Constitution's First Amendment give way to the stern necessity that makes a well-regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state.
But when law is abused to assault the people's right of self-defense, the threat involved is not just physical. Would be tyrants clothe their lawless actions with the outward appearance of legality to demoralize people determined to stand firm in defense of freedom. They seek to impair the people's sense that what they do is an exercise of right fulfilling the responsibility laid upon them by "the laws of nature and of nature's God."
In this respect, the most important purpose and effect of the Second Amendment's recognition of the people's right to keep and bear arms is its contribution to the morale of those inclined to defend their God-endowed liberty.
It allows people unmistakably to recognize the unlawful nature of edicts that purport to disarm the people. It encourages and justifies them as they point out this lawlessness, and as they resist it.
It highlights the connection between the people's arms and the security of their state or condition of freedom.
It invites them to discern and articulate the arguments, based on rational principles and actual experience, which prove the essential truth of this connection.
In this way it encourages people to arm themselves with logic, reason and sensible proof against lawless efforts to eviscerate their capacity to defend themselves and their freedom, individually or in association with one another.
Though laid out over a decade ago, the proposal the Second Amendment outlines is still a good indication of what is needed. Its goal is not just to respect the Second Amendment right, but to enforce it.
The essential starting point for the discussion is the recognition that, like all unalienable rights, our Second Amendment right ultimately derives from our natural obligation to respect and preserve human life as endowed by our Creator. It is first of all an obligation to ourselves, as individuals. But it is also an obligation to the rest of humanity.
We need to offer Americans, from their youth, an ongoing course of education intended to help them recognize and carry out this responsibility.
This involves more than knowing how to use whatever happens to be the appropriate, contemporary means of self-defense.
It involves understanding and accepting our responsibility for the right use of liberty. It involves developing the character and self-discipline needed to assure a firm commitment to fulfilling that responsibility. In this respect, preparing citizens for the exercise of their Second Amendment right is the practical core of the education they require to fulfill their natural right of self-government. Indeed, it literally leads them to accept the inward inclination of mind and will without which they are apt to become morally unfit to do so.
The most telling indication of the elitist faction's determination to overthrow self-government in the United States is the fact that in this regard they seek by all means to destroy, rather than strengthen, the moral fitness of the American people. In the formal institutions of learning and in the informal education derived from games, movies, television shows and other entertainment media, elitist agents of corruption encourage people to believe that the essence of freedom is self-indulgence. They induce them to reject all discipline except the scourges of fear, sensual desire, greed and the human will to power.
Ignorance and folly may lead susceptible people to accept the poisonous stew of lies that identifies this noxious view of freedom as "progressive."
In effect, however, it is exactly the opposite.
It aims to mute the twin voices of reason and conscience, thereby intentionally promoting human degeneracy. As these twin voices fall silent, people become less and less capable of standing apart from the compulsive stream of merely sensual perception and experience. Their inner life becomes a montage of preoccupying images and impressions, devoid of logic and the conceptual perceptions it makes possible. Eventually their consciousness becomes barely distinguishable from what appears to be the consciousness of beasts, deprived of all but the most rudimentary capacity for self-conscious thought or action.
It is both correct and inevitable to conclude (as Joseph Farah reports Bill Clinton does) that people in whom distinctly human consciousness is thus virtually extinguished cannot be trusted to make right use of liberty, or the arms required to defend it.
But when people like Bill Clinton voice this conclusion it's imperative that we remember that they are the ones who have been and are most willing to be instruments of the elitist agenda that purposely and systematically seeks to degrade the moral intelligence and self-discipline of the American people.
For decades they encouraged this degradation by promoting selfish gratification, self-indulgence and even self-murder (for individuals, in the form of legal suicide; and for the species, in the form of abortion and gay marriage, the institutional equivalent of abortion.) They looked forward to the time when, by exploiting the rotten fruits of this degeneracy, they could once and for all deprive people of the freedom that is their birthright when their human nature is preserved, as intended by their Creator.
Now Obama is instigating what could prove to be a decisive battle against the Second Amendment. Americans still capable of doing so should recognize what his action suggests: The elitist forces that fabricated him have concluded that the time they have so long engineered and anticipated has finally come.
If we fight the ensuing battle as if the war they are waging against us is about guns, we will lose the battle and the war with it. But if we insist, instead, that the war is about liberty, we may win the battle and give the forces of liberty a fighting chance to win the war.
To do so we must promote the simple truth: The alternative to gun control is self-control; the key to self-control is moral understanding and self-discipline; and the key to both is citizen education.
That course of education must be implemented at the level of self-government closest to home, and it must have first among its stated objectives the formation of a citizen body armed, educated and morally capable of being the "well-regulated militia" the Second Amendment prudently proclaims to be "necessary to the security of a free state."
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PO Box 131728
Houston, TX 77219-1728
DeclarationAlliance.org is authorized and paid for by Declaration Alliance (DA), a 501(c)(4) social welfare
organization which focuses on nonpartisan civic education and advocacy regarding important national issues.
CBS reporter: Obama 'lying' about terrorism
Lara Logan blasts administration for claims of
'weakened' Taliban in Afghanistan
(REAL CLEAR POLITICS) CBS News and "60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan lambasted the Obama administration for pushing the "major lie" that the Taliban has been weakened in Afghanistan by the U.S. military.
Logan gave a blistering speech in Chicago this past week that ripped the administration for the way it has handled the war in Afghanistan and the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
"I chose this subject because, one, I can't stand that there is a major lie being propagated," Logan said about the administration touting the weakening of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE MINUTEMAN
CIVIL DEFENSE CORPS, A PROJECT OF
DECLARATION ALLIANCE, AND LORI
KLEIN, ARIZONA STATE SENATOR,
IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS
Arizona Et Al v. United States
US v Antoine Jones
Supreme Court Decision January 23, 2012
Dear Declaration Alliance Supporters,
This decision is a GREAT VICTORY for the U. S. Constitution, the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and for the farsighted wisdom of our Founding Fathers. Declaration Alliance is proud to have played a small role in this fight, endorsing and helping to fund the amicus brief authored by William J. Olson and Herb Titus in this case.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the D.C. Circuit (which had ruled against the
search) in an opinion written by Justice Scalia, with concurring opinion by
Sotomayor and separate concurring opinion by Alito joined by Ginsburg,
Breyer, and Kagan.
The Court embraced large sections of the property rationale for the Fourth
Amendment advanced in our amicus brief.
One quotation from Justice Scalia (p. 4) is indicative of this:
The text of the Fourth Amendment reflects its close connection to property,
since otherwise it would have referred simply to the "right of the people to
be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures"; the phrase "in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects" would have been superfluous.
Enemies – with Obama's help – who hate America, despise liberty, and want the United States transformed from a thriving Constitutional, commercial republic into a global warming scammed, energy starved, eco-Marxist tyranny are relentlessly advancing a seditious new plan – Agenda 21 – to make our nation a vassal state of the United Nations.
And, for the first time ever in America's storied history, these opponents of American exceptionalism have a willing accomplice in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama. Obama leads the majority party, the Democrats, in the U.S. Senate where international treaties and U.N. pacts are ratified.
Obama has ALREADY ENACTED EXECUTIVE ORDERS to start putting these policies, being advanced by the UN under a global initiative known as Agenda 21, into place – AND HE MUST BE STOPPED!
So the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will only be of assistance in mobilizing elite opinion, but not in the ratification vote. It's up to "we the people" if Agenda 21 is to be fended off, and America kept the land of the free!
Since my years of service as U.S. Ambassador under President Ronald Reagan, I've alerted America to a myriad of United Nations threats to America's sovereignty and security. But Agenda 21 is the most aggressive and ambitious attack on our nation to be put forth by the U.N. one-worlders for decades. Its Preamble states:
"Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced: a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level."
Agenda 21 is overtly totalitarian, and inimical to our liberty in countless ways. But there is still time to alert the Congress and your Senators to this menace and repel it before it is too late.
You see, the Providential principles of our God-ordained Declaration of Independence are prudently applied in the U.S. Constitution, which states we the people are in charge of our Senators and Representatives.
And America is in such jeopardy from Agenda 21 that patriots like you must act immediately or we can't stop its efforts to:
Eliminate private property rights,
Enforce U.N. mandated low-energy, ecologically-approved housing – to replace YOUR home,
Confiscate private farms and farmland,
Snatch away other private landholdings,
Ban individual ownership of internal combustion vehicles.
And should you think I am exaggerating the threat, listen to what the U.N. itself says the treaty entails:
Underlying Agenda 21 is the notion that humanity has reached a defining moment in its history. We can continue our present policies which serve to deepen the economic divisions within and between countries; which increase poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy worldwide; and which are causing the continued deterioration of the ecosystem on which we depend for life on Earth. Or we can change course… New concepts of wealth and prosperity should be developed which allow higher standards of living through changed lifestyles that are less dependent on the Earth's finite resources and more in harmony with its carrying capacity. This idea should be reflected in new systems of national accounts and other indicators of sustainable development. "No nation can achieve this on its own," states the preamble to Agenda 21. "Together we can – in a global partnership for sustainable development."
Can't happen here, you say? Think again, because Agenda 21 is already being put in place with little notice, as Obama makes good on his vow to "fundamentally transform America!"
On June 9th 2011, Obama signed Executive Order 13575, establishing a new Executive administrative body, the White House Rural Council, tasked to "federally coordinate and implement environmental development locally in 'sustainable rural communities.'"
That might not sound threatening on the surface, but in my long experience with the worst of federal government AND United Nation power grabs, the phrase "sustainable rural communities" is a red flag of danger, because that term is straight out of Agenda 21!
In fact, "sustainable" has been the eco-extremist buzzword for two decades – since the 1992 U.N. "Earth Summit" Conference on Environment & Development (UNCED) was held in Rio de Janeiro to advance the green agenda of anti-oil alternative energy, global warming alarmism, and supression of "deadly" CO2 and "greenhouse gas" emissions.
Most American authorities at the time dismissed that global forum as inconsequential venting by "eco-conspiracy" extremists unworthy of rebuttal. That was a huge mistake because…
…growing unchecked since, UNCED and its spawn have hatched a plot for a centrally governed global society – environmentalism's version of the Marxist "utopia" of communism – that will dictate:
You must alert your Senators to how Agenda 21 openly targets private property – control of which is a long-time aspiration of the United Nations. The U.N. wrongly contends private land ownership causes inequitable concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice. Healthy societies can only be achieved, these leftists insist, if land is communal and all used in the interest of society, not individuals.
Agenda 21 thus is a transnational, eco-Marxist plan to erode property and other rights, destroy individual liberty, gut our Constitution and make America submissive to foreign bureaucrats!
It should be enough to know that George Soros, the America-hating billionaire, is pushing Agenda 21 through his International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives. Barack Obama's shadowy ally and funder is pouring his money into its ratification – funds that are not yet being matched by those seeking its repudiation.
If we are to prevent this totalitarian treaty from becoming the law of our land, we must act QUICKLY! Activate your Congressmen to outrage and seek legislation to overturn Obama's Trojan horse White House Rural Council!
Demand your U.S. Senators be true to their oath of office: "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States." Let them know how Obama's Executive Order for Agenda 21 is utterly at odds with our Constitution, inimical to our republican form of governance, and hostile to America's history and tradition as "land of the free and home of the brave"!
Open their eyes to the fact that – by first targeting and then eliminating private property in the land of the free – this subversive eco-scam would effectively end our Constitutional republic by transforming the United States into a subordinate, vassal state of the United Nations. Tell them a vote FOR Agenda 21 is a vote AGAINST the Constitution, AGAINST the United States of America, AGAINST the will of the people they were elected to serve.
And because Soros' money is flowing toward Agenda 21's bloodless coup of the United States, please consider including a generous, even sacrificial, gift to help Declaration Alliance sound the alarm across our land, so we can DEFEAT this stealthy attack on our freedom!
To stop the capitulation into the socialist nightmare of Agenda 21, it's absolutely imperative that patriotic Americans speak out and make their voices heard. This is our moment! Now is not the time to be found wanting.
The very safety of your family and our nation is worth true sacrifice. Please act right now by sending your signed petition to Congress and the Senate – and consider including a generous gift that will help us send this alert to warn many thousands more Americans, so we can prevent this extreme, globalist environmental Marxism from becoming the law in our nation by Obama Executive Orders, by treaty, or by any other nefarious means.
P.S. It's appalling the number of elected officials who, by design or incompetence, neither uphold nor defend our Constitution. Anyone with more than a cursory knowledge of our Founding would see, as you do, that Agenda 21 in diametrically opposed to all for which America stands! Yet, sadly, it's down to you. Help "we the people" speak up loud and clear – for our nation's sake!
If you prefer to send a check, please mail to:
National Processing Center
PO Box 131728
Houston, TX 77219-1728
DeclarationAlliance.org is authorized and paid for by Declaration Alliance (DA), a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization
which focuses on nonpartisan civic education and advocacy regarding important national issues.
Some months ago Chris Matthews threw an adolescent fit, calling Michele Bachmann a "balloon head" because she claimed that America's founders "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States." Matthews' petty tirade must be viewed against the backdrop of the socialist-leaning left's longstanding inclination to diminish the standing and putative authority of America's founding generation. These people never miss an opportunity to point out that some of the founders were slaveholders. [Read More]
The Islamic Circle of North America’s latest “member handbook” is now openly calling for a World Wide Caliphate – the imposition of Sharia Law on not only America, but the entire world. The handbook clearly spells out the association’s ultimate goal – ESTABLISHMENT OF ISLAM AS THE SOLE BASIS OF GLOBAL SOCIETY AND GOVERNANCE. The group has specifically set its sights on America. [Read More]
Will the midterm elections of 2010 mark a turning point that postpones the day of reckoning for American liberty? A majority of the people voted against the Democratic Party, which still represents the most immediate threat to liberty. At town halls and tea-party gatherings throughout the nation, many of the voters who did so demonstrated their passionate interest in preserving the Constitution of the United States. [Read More]
Next Tuesday, Dec. 14, begins the court-martial of Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, the officer being prosecuted for his efforts to assure that orders currently issuing from the U.S. military chain of command flow from a constitutionally qualified, and therefore lawful, commander in chief. [Read More]
Like most Americans, I knew nothing about Lt. Col. Lakin when I first read of his refusal to accept further orders deriving their authority from the military chain of command until the substantial doubt about Mr. Obama's eligibility to serve as commander in chief has been resolved. [Read More]
A Roadmap for America's Future is a comprehensive alternative to the heavily government-centered ideology now prevailing in Washington, which pursues a relentless expansion of government, and creates a growing culture of dependency - and in the process worsens a status quo that already threatens to overwhelm the budget and smother the economy. The Roadmap - updated to reflect the dramatic decline in the Nation's economic and fiscal condition since its previous introduction in 2008 - draws on Americans' strengths to restore the Nation's legacy of leaving the next generation better off. [Read More]
This is, as Mark Steyn insists, a very dangerous time. In my judgment, however, it is also a time of almost unprecedented opportunity. We have options that have not been vouchsafed to the friends of liberty for more than sixty years. For, if the Republicans manage to articulate, on the basis of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the rationale for limited government as that rationale is pertinent to the healthcare bill, they will at the same time have articulated the grounds for doing away with the administrative state, and everyone will recognize the consequences… [Read More]
Welcome to the Declaration Alliance
The Declaration Alliance is a civic public policy and issues advocacy organization that aggressively defends the Founding principles of the American Republic.
Declaration Alliance is the national organization of political activists directly focused on the one thing most necessary -- the pearl without price -- for the renewal of American life. If you hold dear your American citizenship, then you know that the heart of that citizenship is your assent to the principles of justice proclaimed to the world in our glorious Declaration of Independence, the American creed of our civic religion.
In our day, it can sometimes seem what we call “politics” has become so complicated, technical and contentious that only experts or scholars are really qualified to keep the ship of state on course. But in politics, as in everything else, real wisdom is not found in technical details, but in the fundamental principles from which everything else follows. From Jefferson to Lincoln to Reagan to the humblest citizen today, the American heroes are those who resolve to put the truths of the Declaration at the heart of all they say or do in American politics. This is the wisdom that conceived America in liberty, has kept her in liberty for more than two centuries and can keep her free for many more.
Expressed most perfectly in that timeless statement of our national beliefs, the Declaration’s principles are also prudently applied in the instrument that founded the government of this country -- the Constitution of the United States. Our allegiance to the Founders’ incorporation of Declaration principles into the U.S. Constitution confirms us as Constitutionalists. Our allegiance to the God-given truth of these principles makes us Declarationists.
We understand that the framework of government our Founders bequeathed us in the Constitution finds its justification and explanation -- its most profound anchor and defense -- in the vision of justice that is succinctly articulated in the Declaration. The Constitution is the noble attempt of our Founders to clothe the spirit of the Declaration in the flesh and bone of an actual republic.
And as with the human body, judging the significance and purpose of the parts of the Constitution without reference to the animating spirit, which gives it life, can lead to misunderstandings and dangerous errors. Without the Declaration, the Constitution is too easily reduced to a procedural agreement reached by a group of men, long dead, who happened to live more or less where we live today.
Why should it bind us now, we might ask? Indeed, are not the outrages of infamous Supreme Court decisions, recent presidential abuses of power, and apparently unlimited Congressional spending and regulation just so many instances of today’s elites refusing to be bound by the Constitution to which they give nominal allegiance?
Openly or with sophistical rationalizations, our political leaders have long been tempted to replace the governmental order of the Constitution with other, less free modes and orders more to their liking. And as uncomfortable as it may be, we must face the fact that mere veneration of the Constitution is not a sufficient answer to such tyrannical ambition.
The Constitution does not contain its own defense; it is not self-evident that we should have a natural born president, a bicameral legislature, that the Congress should have the power to declare war, or that presidential vetoes should be overridden by a 2/3 majority. It is not even self-evident that the federal government should share sovereign authority with the state government, or that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government should be reserved to the states and the people.
All these things are like finely-engineered machine parts, components of a delicate engine of governance which we appreciate, venerate, and wish to defend, but which we cannot protect without looking beyond it to the purposes it serves, to the reasons it was constructed. To defend the Constitution, we must understand the principles that animate it. We must look to the Declaration. To be Constitutionalists, we must be Declarationists.
A Declarationist is one who holds that the political and philosophical truths in the Declaration are the touchstone of American political life, and that our common assent to them is the most profound ground of our union as Americans. Consequently, the truths of the Declaration are the authoritative principles to be used in interpreting the Constitution, our positive law, and our public policy. The Declaration provides the wisdom by which everything in American political life can be judged.
The Declaration Alliance thus works with the American people, activists, collaborative organizations, legislators and government agencies to inform, educate and mobilize the public about initiatives that support and sustain the Founding principles of responsible self-government, as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Some of our current and recent efforts include the Secure Borders Coalition, In Jesus’ Name, Border Fence Project, Faith and Freedom Foundation, and the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
DA seeks to influence policy and legislation in several critical areas. Our current focus is on organizing, funding and supporting initiatives to protect and defend our God-given, inalienable rights, enshrined in principle in the Declaration of Independence, and codified in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.
Most critically under assault by out-of-control courts is our fundamental right to the free exercise of religious convictions, and assertion of our rights of conscience. This unconstitutional agenda of judicial usurpation of the people's religious liberty is coming down to a profound public policy and political battle to:
Protect our First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religious beliefs--including our founding mandate to freely and publicly acknowledge the authority of the Creator God. (See http://www.PrayinJesusName.org/)
Independent of any partisan considerations, DA has essentially only one political loyalty--the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Like our Founding Fathers, DA's political action is wholeheartedly devoted to higher purposes than just the gaining of office or the protection of a particular material interest. DA enters the arena to do battle for the liberty and justice that it is our God-given duty to preserve.
At DA, we believe that the principles of the Declaration are eternally true, and form the basis for American life, liberty, and happiness. Please join us in carrying out this conviction in the tumultuous arena of the American political struggle, for the benefit of our country and fellow citizens.
Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation
By Ronald W. Reagan
(Editor's note: This essay originally ran in the spring of 1983 in the quarterly journal Human Life Review.)
The 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade is a good time for us to pause and reflect. Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted for by our people nor enacted by our legislators — not a single state had such unrestricted abortion before the Supreme Court decreed it to be national policy in 1973.
But the consequences of this judicial decision are now obvious: since 1973, more than 15 million unborn children have had their lives snuffed out by legalized abortions. That is over ten times the number of Americans lost in all our nation's wars.
Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court's result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, Professor John Hart Ely, now Dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that the opinion "is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be."
Nowhere do the plain words of the Constitution even hint at a "right" so sweeping as to permit abortion up to the time the child is ready to be born. Yet that is what the Court ruled.
As an act of "raw judicial power" (to use Justice White's biting phrase), the decision by the seven-man majority in Roe v. Wade has so far been made to stick. But the Court's decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.
Abortion concerns not just the unborn child, it concerns every one of us. The English poet, John Donne, wrote: ". . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism last year when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of "Baby Doe" in Bloomington because the child had Down's Syndrome.
Many of our fellow citizens grieve over the loss of life that has followed Roe v. Wade. Margaret Heckler, soon after being nominated to head the largest department of our government, Health and Human Services, told an audience that she believed abortion to be the greatest moral crisis facing our country today. And the revered Mother Teresa, who works in the streets of Calcutta ministering to dying people in her world-famous mission of mercy, has said that "the greatest misery of our time is the generalized abortion of children."
Over the first two years of my Administration I have closely followed and assisted efforts in Congress to reverse the tide of abortion — efforts of Congressmen, Senators and citizens responding to an urgent moral crisis. Regrettably, I have also seen the massive efforts of those who, under the banner of "freedom of choice," have so far blocked every effort to reverse nationwide abortion-on-demand.
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.
What, then, is the real issue? I have often said that when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives — the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child. Why else do we call a pregnant woman a mother? I have also said that anyone who doesn't feel sure whether we are talking about a second human life 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.
The case against abortion does not rest here, however, for medical practice confirms at every step the correctness of these moral sensibilities. 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 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?
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.
What more dramatic confirmation could we have of the real issue than the Baby Doe case in Bloomington, Indiana? The death of that tiny infant tore at the hearts of all Americans because the child was undeniably a live human being — one lying helpless before the eyes of the doctors and the eyes of the nation. The real issue for the courts was not whether Baby Doe was a human being. The real issue was whether to protect the life of a human being who had Down's Syndrome, who would probably be mentally handicapped, but who needed a routine surgical procedure to unblock his esophagus and allow him to eat. A doctor testified to the presiding judge that, even with his physical problem corrected, Baby Doe would have a "non-existent" possibility for "a minimally adequate quality of life" — in other words, that retardation was the equivalent of a crime deserving the death penalty. The judge let Baby Doe starve and die, and the Indiana Supreme Court sanctioned his decision.
Federal law does not allow federally-assisted hospitals to decide that Down's Syndrome infants are not worth treating, much less to decide to starve them to death. Accordingly, I have directed the Departments of Justice and HHS to apply civil rights regulations to protect handicapped newborns. All hospitals receiving federal funds must post notices which will clearly state that failure to feed handicapped babies is prohibited by federal law. The basic issue is whether to value and protect the lives of the handicapped, whether to recognize the sanctity of human life. This is the same basic issue that underlies the question of abortion.
The 1981 Senate hearings on the beginning of human life brought out the basic issue more clearly than ever before. The many medical and scientific witnesses who testified disagreed on many things, but not on the scientific evidence that the unborn child is alive, is a distinct individual, or is a member of the human species. They did disagree over the value question, whether to give value to a human life at its early and most vulnerable stages of existence.
Regrettably, we live at a time when some persons do not value all human life. They want to pick and choose which individuals have value. Some have said that only those individuals with "consciousness of self" are human beings. One such writer has followed this deadly logic and concluded that "shocking as it may seem, a newly born infant is not a human being."
A Nobel Prize winning scientist has suggested that if a handicapped child "were not declared fully human until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice." In other words, "quality control" to see if newly born human beings are up to snuff.
Obviously, some influential people want to deny that every human life has intrinsic, sacred worth. They insist that a member of the human race must have certain qualities before they accord him or her status as a "human being."
Events have borne out the editorial in a California medical journal which explained three years before Roe v. Wade that the social acceptance of abortion is a "defiance of the long-held Western ethic of intrinsic and equal value for every human life regardless of its stage, condition, or status."
Every legislator, every doctor, and every citizen needs to recognize that the real issue is whether to affirm and protect the sanctity of all human life, or to embrace a social ethic where some human lives are valued and others are not. As a nation, we must choose between the sanctity of life ethic and the "quality of life" ethic.
I have no trouble identifying the answer our nation has always given to this basic question, and the answer that I hope and pray it will give in the future. American was founded by men and women who shared a vision of the value of each and every individual. They stated this vision clearly from the very start in the Declaration of Independence, using words that every schoolboy and schoolgirl can recite:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We fought a terrible war to guarantee that one category of mankind — black people in America — could not be denied the inalienable rights with which their Creator endowed them. The great champion of the sanctity of all human life in that day, Abraham Lincoln, gave us his assessment of the Declaration's purpose. Speaking of the framers of that noble document, he said:
"This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all his creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on. . . They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages."
He warned also of the danger we would face if we closed our eyes to the value of life in any category of human beings:
"I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a Negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man?"
When Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee the rights of life, liberty, and property to all human beings, he explained that all are "entitled to the protection of American law, because its divine spirit of equality declares that all men are created equal." He said the right guaranteed by the amendment would therefore apply to "any human being." Justice William Brennan, writing in another case decided only the year before Roe v. Wade, referred to our society as one that "strongly affirms the sanctity of life."
Another William Brennan — not the Justice — has reminded us of the terrible consequences that can follow when a nation rejects the sanctity of life ethic:
The cultural environment for a human holocaust is present whenever any society can be misled into defining individuals as less than human and therefore devoid of value and respect.
As a nation today, we have not rejected the sanctity of human life. The American people have not had an opportunity to express their view on the sanctity of human life in the unborn. I am convinced that Americans do not want to play God with the value of human life. It is not for us to decide who is worthy to live and who is not. Even the Supreme Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade did not explicitly reject the traditional American idea of intrinsic worth and value in all human life; it simply dodged this issue.
The Congress has before it several measures that would enable our people to reaffirm the sanctity of human life, even the smallest and the youngest and the most defenseless. The Human Life Bill expressly recognizes the unborn as human beings and accordingly protects them as persons under our Constitution. This bill, first introduced by Senator Jesse Helms, provided the vehicle for the Senate hearings in 1981 which contributed so much to our understanding of the real issue of abortion.
The Respect Human Life Act, just introduced in the 98th Congress, states in its first section that the policy of the United States is "to protect innocent life, both before and after birth." This bill, sponsored by Congressman Henry Hyde and Senator Roger Jepsen, prohibits the federal government from performing abortions or assisting those who do so, except to save the life of the mother. It also addresses the pressing issue of infanticide which, as we have seen, flows inevitably from permissive abortion as another step in the denial of the inviolability of innocent human life.
I have endorsed each of these measures, as well as the more difficult route of constitutional amendment, and I will give these initiatives my full support. Each of them, in different ways, attempts to reverse the tragic policy of abortion-on-demand imposed by the Supreme Court ten years ago. Each of them is a decisive way to affirm the sanctity of human life.
We must all educate ourselves to the reality of the horrors taking place. Doctors today know that unborn children can feel a touch within the womb and that they respond to pain. But how many Americans are aware that abortion techniques are allowed today, in all 50 states, that burn the skin of a baby with a salt solution, in an agonizing death that can last for hours?
Another example: two years ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a Sunday special supplement on "The Dreaded Complication." The "dreaded complication" referred to in the article — the complication feared by doctors who perform abortions — is the survival of the child despite all the painful attacks during the abortion procedure.
Some unborn children do survive the late-term abortions the Supreme Court has made legal. Is there any question that these victims of abortion deserve our attention and protection? Is there any question that those who don't survive were living human beings before they were killed?
Late-term abortions, especially when the baby survives, but is then killed by starvation, neglect, or suffocation, show once again the link between abortion and infanticide. The time to stop both is now. As my Administration acts to stop infanticide, we will be fully aware of the real issue that underlies the death of babies before and soon after birth.
Our society has, fortunately, become sensitive to the rights and special needs of the handicapped, but I am shocked that physical or mental handicaps of newborns are still used to justify their extinction. This Administration has a Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, who has done perhaps more than any other American for handicapped children, by pioneering surgical techniques to help them, by speaking out on the value of their lives, and by working with them in the context of loving families. You will not find his former patients advocating the so-called "quality-of-life" ethic.
I know that when the true issue of infanticide is placed before the American people, with all the facts openly aired, we will have no trouble deciding that a mentally or physically handicapped baby has the same intrinsic worth and right to life as the rest of us. As the New Jersey Supreme Court said two decades ago, in a decision upholding the sanctity of human life, "a child need not be perfect to have a worthwhile life."
Whether we are talking about pain suffered by unborn children, or about late-term abortions, or about infanticide, we inevitably focus on the humanity of the unborn child. Each of these issues is a potential rallying point for the sanctity of life ethic. Once we as a nation rally around any one of these issues to affirm the sanctity of life, we will see the importance of affirming this principle across the board.
Malcolm Muggeridge, the English writer, goes right to the heart of the matter: "Either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other." The sanctity of innocent human life is a principle that Congress should proclaim at every opportunity.
It is possible that the Supreme Court itself may overturn its abortion rulings. We need only recall that in Brown v. Board of Education the court reversed its own earlier "separate-but-equal" decision. I believe if the Supreme Court took another look at Roe v. Wade, and considered the real issue between the sanctity of life ethic and the quality of life ethic, it would change its mind once again.
As we continue to work to overturn Roe v. Wade, we must also continue to lay the groundwork for a society in which abortion is not the accepted answer to unwanted pregnancy. Pro-life people have already taken heroic steps, often at great personal sacrifice, to provide for unwed mothers. I recently spoke about a young pregnant woman named Victoria, who said, "In this society we save whales, we save timber wolves and bald eagles and Coke bottles. Yet, everyone wanted me to throw away my baby."
She has been helped by Save-a-Life, a group in Dallas, which provides a way for unwed mothers to preserve the human life within them when they might otherwise be tempted to resort to abortion. I think also of House of His Creation in Catesville, Pennsylvania, where a loving couple has taken in almost 200 young women in the past ten years. They have seen, as a fact of life, that the girls are not better off having abortions than saving their babies. I am also reminded of the remarkable Rossow family of Ellington, Connecticut, who have opened their hearts and their home to nine handicapped adopted and foster children.
The Adolescent Family Life Program, adopted by Congress at the request of Senator Jeremiah Denton, has opened new opportunities for unwed mothers to give their children life. We should not rest until our entire society echoes the tone of John Powell in the dedication of his book, Abortion: The Silent Holocaust, a dedication to every woman carrying an unwanted child: "Please believe that you are not alone. There are many of us that truly love you, who want to stand at your side, and help in any way we can." And we can echo the always-practical woman of faith, Mother Teresa, when she says, "If you don't want the little child, that unborn child, give him to me." We have so many families in America seeking to adopt children that the slogan "every child a wanted child" is now the emptiest of all reasons to tolerate abortion.
I have often said we need to join in prayer to bring protection to the unborn. Prayer and action are needed to uphold the sanctity of human life. I believe it will not be possible to accomplish our work, the work of saving lives, "without being a soul of prayer." The famous British Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, prayed with his small group of influential friends, the "Clapham Sect," for decades to see an end to slavery in the British empire. Wilberforce led that struggle in Parliament, unflaggingly, because he believed in the sanctity of human life. He saw the fulfillment of his impossible dream when Parliament outlawed slavery just before his death.
Let his faith and perseverance be our guide. We will never recognize the true value of our own lives until we affirm the value in the life of others, a value of which Malcolm Muggeridge says:. . . however low it flickers or fiercely burns, it is still a Divine flame which no man dare presume to put out, be his motives ever so humane and enlightened."
Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves.
Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide. My Administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.
(This article is reprinted courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.)
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