Presidential Pro-life Convictions

President Ronald Reagan on abortion and the right to life of the unborn.

President Ronald Reagan spoke with conviction about abortion and the right to life of the unborn. In fact, he even issued a proclamation of their personhood and dignity.

Following are a few other brief excerpts from his comments.

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. - Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation

First Appeared in: The Human Life Review Spring 1983

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.


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.


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.


A Senate committee hearing was held recently to determine, if we can, when life actually begins. And there was exhaustive testimony of experts presenting both views, and finally the result was declared inconclusive. They couldn't arrive at an answer. Well, in my view alone, they did arrive at an answer, an answer that justifies the proposed (human life) legislation. If it's true we don't know when the unborn becomes a human life, then we have to opt in favor that it is a human life until someone proves it isn't. - Remarks at the Centennial Meeting of the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus - Hartford, CT 8/3/82

And I just happen to believe that simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is. And thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. - Remarks at the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series on Public Issues - Manhattan, KS 9/9/82

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