What are we waiting for?

Commentary by American Life League president Judie Brown

These are vexing times. We have seen the president nominate for a position on the Supreme Court a woman whose record is not just unclear but practically unknown. For many people who describe themselves as pro-life, something just doesn't seem right. But they're not exactly certain what that is. Let me explain.

At best, we have only a few tidbits of knowledge about who Harriet Miers is. We know she is a baptized Catholic who no longer attends a Catholic church. We know that her current church is quite hospitable to same-sex couples. We know she has a minimal, even non-existent, written record on any number of serious matters, abortion being the most critical for the future of this nation.

The Republican National Coalition for Life has reported, along with countless other groups and leaders, that its own uneasiness regarding Meirs is mounting. In fact, Sen. Sam Brownback is so concerned that after a private meeting with Meirs, he said her comments did not give him any assurance that she would consider Roe v. Wade in a negative light.

The fact is, however, that sometimes things are not what they seem, even when the president of the United States is giving us his most steadfast personal assurances.

No, things are not what they seem – both with this nomination, and with much of the leadership of the U.S. pro-life movement.

In far too many cases, the disagreement among pro-lifers over Miers' suitability to serve on the Supreme Court can be traced to much deeper roots – a lack of consensus on what it actually means to be pro-life. There is a lack of consensus exists because some within the pro-life movement have developed a fascination with headlines and political power that has dwarfed the reality of what every single abortion does to an innocent human child.

The quest for political power has proven to be a deadly distraction. With a number of pro-life leaders, it no longer appears to register that we live in a barbaric nation that is killing off its own future. Saving babies from the ghoulish act of abortion no longer seems to be the single purpose of the pro-life quest.

When I think about the act of abortion – which is something I have been doing every day for nearly 36 years now – my stomach turns, my heart aches and my mind recoils at the evil of what happens to the baby. Even after all these years, it has never occurred to me to listen to politicians and adopt an agenda that is based on what is "pragmatically possible" or "realistic" in the halls of Congress.

Such actions, even when well-intentioned, have not stopped the blood from flowing, the tiny hearts from being pierced with needles, the little limbs from being ripped from innocent children, the bodies from being discarded with cold-blooded contempt.

Those who disagree with me say I just don't understand how the system works. However, I know what I know:


  • I know that every abortion kills a child whose life could have been saved – if only rational people had thought about it in the proper way.


  • I know that women who are affirmed in their role as mothers do not think about killing their own children.


  • I know that women who have grown up in the U.S. abortion culture do kill their own, in part because they don't consider themselves to be mothers, but merely as women who are pregnant and need a quick fix.


  • I know that our laws are designed to forgive the act of abortion by facilitating sexual pleasure at any cost, including the dead bodies of millions of little ones.

So how could I – how could any pro-lifer with guts – stand by and watch a judicial nominating process turn into a circus? How could any of us watch such a spectacle without wondering where we went wrong and what we could do to fix it?

There are several steps we can take:


  1. Stop listening to murmurs from high places that we little peons should just stop worrying about Harriet Meirs because (quoting president Bush), "part of Miers' life is her religion." I don't buy that. Ted Kennedy, for example, claims to be Catholic, yet look at his record of support for the direct killing of innocent preborn people.


  2. Start looking toward the pro-life war heroes who have proven their dedication to babies first, politics second – leaders such as former Congressman Robert K. Dornan, who just joined American Life League's team. He, for one, is dedicated to helping his colleagues see abortion for what it really is.


  3. Get behind legislation that really will bring an end to this scourge of death – legislation such as the Right to Life Act of 2005. This bill can really do something for the little ones. In fact, it would do precisely what the 1973 Supreme Court decision said must be done. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in Roe v. Wade, "If the suggestion of personhood is established, the appellants' case [for abortion] of course collapses, for the fetus' right to life would be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment." The Right to Life Act of 2005 does precisely that: establishes personhood.

So where are the major pro-life groups on this vital matter? I can only speak for my own group, and American Life League is solidly behind this effort. The Right to Life Act is gaining support in Congress, thanks to Congressman Dornan and others. But where do the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Right to Life Committee, Priests for Life, et al., stand?

I'm not aware of any statements of support for the Right to Life Act of 2005 from any of these groups. You can take that any way you want, but again, I wonder. Why do they seem to be foot-dragging on this urgent, vitally important bill?

I always assumed all pro-life groups really want to end the killing, and that we all really want to elect men and women of integrity who treat aborting a child as a heinous crime that must no longer be protected under cover of law.

If we do, then support for the Right to Life Act, focus on the undeniable principle of personhood, and unqualified efforts to make sure we are moving forward on this fundamental premise should be all-consuming, regardless of any other pet projects, political posturing, partisan polling and quest for popularity. So much is at stake; so many have died; so little is actually being done to stem the tide.

Since I believe in offering solutions when a problem is the focus of my attention, I suggest:


  • That the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops make it a public policy that no member of the Catholic Church who holds a public position ever be admitted to the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist if that person publicly supports the direct murder of preborn children;


  • That Priests for Life become the single group to which every priest can go to get homily material so that preaching on the evils of contraception and its direct link to abortion can be a topic of at least a monthly sermon in every Catholic parish in the entire nation;


  • That the National Right to Life Committee joins American Life League's efforts and get behind the Right to Life Act with every single resource at its disposal.

Wouldn't it be great if all of a sudden the primary goal of the entire pro-life movement became what it should always have been – personhood for one and all, regardless of how small, regardless of how created, regardless of anything other than the undeniable fact that every human being is a person with an innate right to life?

What are we waiting for?

Release issued: 18 Oct 05