In a rare gesture by an American president, Ronald Reagan has authored a ten-page essay for the spring issue of Human Life Review in which he urges Americans to oppose abortion on demand. In his essay, Reagan emphasizes the value of human life. He writes, “Abortion concerns not just the unborn child, it concerns every one of us.”

Citing the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which denied full humanity to black Americans, Reagan draws a parallel between pro-abortion mentality and racial discrimination.

Reagan’s avid belief in legislation to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, is well known, and his essay repeats his support of all the proposed solutions in Congress. At the same time, perhaps to a greater degree than before, he emphasizes the medical evidence that indicates unborn life is truly human, and he calls for a return to a “sanctity of human life” ethic rather than the “quality of life” ethic now in vogue.

“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?”

Reagan praises the work of Christian groups that have developed alternatives to abortion and have given care to unwed mothers. He suggests adoption as a major alternative.

His essay has provided a welcome boost to a prolife movement whose legislative endeavors are receiving scant attention in Congress and the media. The editor of the Review, J. P. McFadden, said it is the most significant essay his eight-year-old quarterly journal has ever published. The Review is published by the Human Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization that financially supports efforts to protect and care for infants who would otherwise have been aborted.

McFadden floated the idea of a presidential essay among Washington prolife advocates last year. After the January 22 March for Life, the suggestion was passed along to Reagan during a meeting with prolife leaders. “A week or so later, I heard he had approved the idea,” McFadden said. By the end of March, the manuscript arrived. The article was actually a team effort of White House staff people, with personal contributions from the President.

Entitled “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation,” the article ends with a reference to Abraham Lincoln’s statement that America would not be truly free as long as slave owning persisted. “Likewise,” Reagan writes, “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.”

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