which appeared in the March 25th
issue of National Review.
The document is the result of talks held recently at the Ethics and Public
Policy Center of Washington. D.C. It sets forth a pro-life vision for America
and lays out a set of political, legal, and cultural strategies to achieve that
Signers include Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life; Bernard Nathanson. M.D.,
Center for Clinical and Research Ethics, Vanderbilt University; Mary Ann
Glendon, Harvard University: Gary Bauer, Family Research Council; Fr. Richard
John Neuhaus. Institute on Religion and Public Life: Mary Cunningham Agee,
Nurturing Network; John C. Willke, M.D., Life Issues Institute; and William
Kristol, Project for the Republican Future.
"That America has the most permissive abortion regime among the world's
democracies is a betrayal of the American promise of justice for all. That is
why a new sense of moral concern is stirring throughout our country in this
election year. That is why millions of Americans have refused to accept the
court's admonition in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to stop debating the issue,"
the signers say.
The effects of Roe v. Wade, they contend, cannot be overstated.
''The extent of the abortion license and its reach into other areas of law
and public policy is widely underestimated. We believe that, as citizens of the
United States, we have the responsibility to discuss with our fellow citizens
the facts of the abortion license and its impact on our common life.... The
abortion license has helped to erode the moral foundations of the American civic
community. Right now we are not the country we ought to be. That is why our
national conscience is troubled. That distress is, to us, a sign of moral
vitality. We speak now because we seek so defend the America we love. We speak
to promote the cause of an America in which women and men, together, rebuild the
fabric of civil society by acknowledging our common responsibility to serve and
protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us.''
The national pro-life movement comes in for high praise from the panel.
"Pro-life service to women in crisis and pro-life advocacy on behalf of legal
reform are expressions of our highest ideals as citizens of the United States."
Not only are the unborn and their mothers causes for great concern, but
fathers are also given special attention by the signers.
''Fathers,'' they maintain, "have also been harmed and dehumanized by the
abortion license. Some watch their children killed against their will; others
learn to their distress only much later that a child they would have raised is
dead. Even when agreeing to support the abortion decision, fathers, like
mothers, suppress their grief, deny their protective instincts, and otherwise
damage themselves when they allow the killing of their own children.
''Abortion contributes to the marginalization of fatherhood in America, which
many agree is a primary cause of the alarming breakdown of American family
All Americans are invited to think and talk about the sanctity of life. "We
ask our neighbors of whatever political persuasion or current conviction on the
matter of abortion, to engage in a great national debate about the America we
seek, and the relationship of the abortion license in that future. We ask all
Americans to join with us in providing effective, compassionate service to women
in crisis. Work on alternatives to abortion and on the reform of adoption laws
and procedures can create the conditions for a new dialog on the future of
abortion law and practice in America.
"We are ready for that new conversation. We invite all our neighbors to join
Priests for Life in the News