February 27, 2009
Social Conservatism, Reagan, Bold Colors, and Abortion

I've posted below five quotes from President Ronald Reagan on the subject of abortion.

In my post-election message shortly after the November 2008 elections, I wrote:

"With the Democrats taking control of the White House in 2009, we in the conservative movement have great challenges ahead. There will be political battles with the Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reid congress over tax policy, government spending, health care, judicial appointments, and national defense.

"Within the Republican Party, there will be important debates over the direction of our party. Back in 1975, Ronald Reagan called for a 'revitalized' Republican Party, 'raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people.'

"Now as in 1975, it remains necessary to boldly and proudly raise the Republican banner.

"I promise you I will not be going away. I will continue to be active in politics, speaking out on the issues - free market solutions, constitutional principles, strong national defense, pro-life policies, tough border security, lower taxes, and limited government. The Republican Party is strongest and most effective when we remain true to these policies."

See also related previous SoundPolitics discussion thread

Here are the five quotes from President Reagan, along with citations as to the source of the quote:

Debate with John Anderson, 9/21/80
I think all of us should have a respect for innocent life. With regard to the freedom of the individual for choice with regard to abortion, there's one individual who's not being considered at all. That's the one who is being aborted. And I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born. I I think that, technically, I know this is a difficult and an emotional problem, and many people sincerely feel on both sides of this, but I do believe that maybe we could find the answer through medical evidence, if we would determine once and for all, is an unborn child a human being? I happen to believe it is.

State of the Union, 1/25/84
During our first 3 years, we have joined bipartisan efforts to restore protection of the law to unborn children. Now, I know this issue is very controversial. But unless and until it can be proven that an unborn child is not a living human being, can we justify assuming without proof that it isn't? No one has yet offered such proof; indeed, all the evidence is to the contrary. We should rise above bitterness and reproach, and if Americans could then we could find positive solutions to the tragedy of abortion.

Debate with Walter Mondale, 10/7/84
I believe that until and unless someone can establish that the unborn child is not a living human being, then that child is already protected by the Constitution, which guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all of us. And I think that this is - what we should concentrate on, is trying - I know there was weeks and weeks of testimony before a Senate committee. There were medical authorities, there were religious, there were clerics there, everyone talking about this matter, of pro-life. And at the end of all of that, not one shred of evidence was introduced that the unborn child was not alive. We have seen premature births that- are now grown up happy people going around. Also there is a strange dichotomy in this whole position about our court's ruling that abortion is not the taking of a human life. In California, some time ago, a man beat a woman so savagely that her unborn child was born dead with a fractured skull. And the California state legislature unanimously passed a law that was signed by the then Democratic Governor, signed a law that said that any man who so abuses a pregnant woman that he causes the death of her unborn child shall be charged with murder. Now isn't it strange that that same woman could have taken the life of her unborn child and it was abortion and not murder but if somebody else does it, that's murder. And it recognizes, it used the term death of the unborn child. So this has been my feeling about abortion, that we have a problem now to determine. And all the evidence so far comes down on the side of the unborn child being a living human being.

State of the Union, 2/6/85
The question of abortion grips our nation. Abortion is either the taking of a human life or it isn't. And if it is--and medical technology is increasingly showing it is--it must be stopped. It is a terrible irony that while some turn to abortion, so many others who cannot become parents cry out for children to adopt. We have room for these children. We can fill the cradles of those who want a child to love. And tonight I ask you in the Congress to move this year on legislation to protect the unborn.

State of the Union, 1/25/88
Tonight, I call America--a good nation, a moral people--to charitable but realistic consideration of the terrible cost of abortion on demand. To those who say this violates a woman's right to control of her own body: Can they deny that now medical evidence confirms the unborn child is a living human being entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion and with a human life amendment making.... [L]et us look to those others in our land who cry out for children to adopt. I pledge to you tonight I will work to remove barriers to adoption and extend full sharing in family life to millions of Americans so that children who need homes can be welcomed to families who want them and love them.

See also related previous SoundPolitics discussion thread

Posted by BerenForCongress at February 27, 2009 09:21 AM | Email This
1. The problem is with the extremists on both sides of this issue. This is a case of competing rights. Both the fetus and the mom have rights. For the first couple of months after conception the fetus has a very limited humanity. It has not yet become an independently thinking sentient being. In the last couple of months prior to birth it is clearly more of a baby than random cluster of cells. It is thinking, feeling, learning, laughing and crying.

We have all seen plenty of activists who equate fertilized embryos awaiting implantation with an adult person. I recently had a fascinating conversation with a "pro-choice" zealot who asserted that as long as the baby was attached to the umbilical cord, even after birth, it was nothing more than a part of the mom's body to do with what she willed. Including bashing its head in with a rock.

The American people are generally in the middle. Abortion is a bad thing. It's not that big of a deal in the first tri-mester. Third tri-mester abortions are wrong. But only the people for whom this is "their" issue are driving the debate.

We would all be a lot better off if we could get the debate focused on the circumstances under which second tri-mester abortions should be considered. Where is the point where the fetus becomes a thinking being whose rights begin to seriously compete with the mother's?

My personal preference would be to only allow 2nd tri-mester terminations if the life (not just the psychological comfort) of the mom were in direct jeopardy with a hard diagnosis of a limited number of conditions. But anything that stops partial birth horrors would be more than welcome.


Posted by: Hairy Buddah on March 2, 2009 08:43 PM
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