Warning: This letter is intended to be read by
Please keep it out of the hands of children.
I'm sure you have heard that on April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the legality of the procedure known as "partial-birth abortion."1 It was a stunning victory after a political struggle that has been going on since 1995. After the announcement, I aired a brief statement about the ruling on the "Focus on the Family" radio program. A transcript follows:
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down an incredibly important ruling on Wednesday, April 18, upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion, which had been signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003.
We thank God for this victory that affirms the value of human life and puts an end to the Nazi-esque barbarism known as partial-birth abortion. A majority of justices have recognized what most Americans have long known: There is no constitutional right to slay a healthy, nearly-born baby by stabbing it in the back of the head and vacuuming out its brains, all without even anesthetizing the child.
This ruling concludes a long legislative and judicial struggle outlawing this procedure. Legislation to ban it was first introduced in Congress in 1995. It was passed three times and twice vetoed by then-President Clinton. The third passage died in conference committee, facing a third inevitable Clinton veto.
We applaud the Court for joining President Bush and Congress in declaring that a civilized society must not condone such compassionless and hideous acts against human beings. In the year 2000, the Supreme Court struck down a similar Nebraska law, as Sandra Day O'Connor voted with the majority in declaring that law unconstitutional.
President Bush was reelected in 2004 and appointed Justice Samuel Alito to replace Justice O’Connor. The United States Senate, at that time more conservative than today, confirmed Justice Alito. He voted with the majority [in April] to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban.
This ruling reminds us that elections matter. President Bush's appointment of Samuel Alito provided the swing vote to protect this law. If John Kerry were president, partial-birth abortion would still be legal in the land. In fact, he voted against the ban six times as a senator.
However, if Justice Alito were before the United States Senate for confirmation today, it's quite possible that he would not make it to the bench. With this ruling, the Supreme Court has taken the scalpel out of the hands of the abortionist, who would brutally puncture the skulls of babies who are inches and moments away from birth.
Let me end with this deeply felt comment. One man, President Bill Clinton, preserved the legality of partial-birth abortion when it was struck down three times by Democrats and Republicans alike. As a result, this procedure, which is one part abortion and three parts infanticide, continued unchecked for 12 more years. Bill Clinton's legacy will forever be stained by the blood of precious babies who were subjected to unimaginable horror.
By contrast, one man — President George W. Bush, the most pro-life president in United States history — has acted to protect children from the barbarity of partial-birth abortion. I applaud the president for nominating two pro-life justices to the Court and for having the courage and conviction to stand firm for human life.
As encouraging as this victory has been for all of us in the pro-life movement, there is still much work to be done. Ending partial-birth abortion, which would more accurately be named "late-term murder," does not save a single human life. Abortion is still legal throughout nine months of gestation. Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for the Court and cast the deciding vote, reminded us that it is still legal to kill at will:
"In addition, the Act's [the partial-birth abortion ban] prohibition only applies to the delivery of a living fetus. If the intact D&E procedure is truly necessary in some circumstances, it appears likely an injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to perform the procedure."2
It appears that what he is referring to here is the killing of babies by injecting poison into their hearts. I'm not sure which is worse, collapsing the head of a viable baby and extracting his brains, or injecting a lethal dose into the baby's body. How could so many Americans have come to this point of utter brutality and callousness? They came to accept it eventually because of powerful propaganda that paved the way.
In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade on January 20, 1973, radical feminists and other pro-abortion advocates told preposterous lies to get Americans to embrace the decision. They and the liberal media claimed that a "fetus" (never a baby) is simply "a blob of tissue" or "meaningless protoplasm." They insisted that legalized abortion would signal an end to child abuse because "every child would be a wanted child." In fact, it was only the beginning of the horror. Gradually, people became desensitized to the increased brutality of killing human babies.
Now, because of the development of ultrasound technology, those lies are exposed. A new mother can vividly see that she is carrying a precious baby. She can understand for the first time that the "blob of cells" has a heart that beats, and little fingernails on the hands. The child sucks his or her thumb and "swims" and cavorts in the amniotic fluid. Other characteristics of humanness are right there to delight his or her mother. That understanding is slowly turning the tide against legalized abortion.
This is why Focus on the Family is investing millions of dollars to provide ultrasound technology and related assistance for medical pregnancy resource centers. I'm pleased to tell you that this project has saved an estimated 42,000 babies in the past three years — babies who are alive and loved today. The best part is hearing from mothers who say, "I almost killed my child. But you helped me do the right thing. Thank you!"
Cultural attitudes are indeed changing. In August of last year, the Pew Foundation conducted a poll revealing that 73 percent of Americans view abortion as "morally wrong" in nearly all or some circumstances.3 Clearly, ultrasound technology is having a dramatic impact on hearts and minds. According to monthly reports from the pregnancy centers that participate in Focus on the Family's Option Ultrasound™ Program, 88 percent of abortion-minded women who receive loving counseling and are allowed to meet their babies face to face through the wonder of ultrasound declare that their hearts have been changed, that they are going to carry their babies to term.4 This, I believe, is one reason why the majority of Supreme Court Justices, including the liberal Anthony Kennedy, voted to outlaw partial-birth abortion.
Still, support for abortion remains formidable. After the Court's narrow decision, angry politicians rose to defend the procedure, even the killing of full-term babies in the final moments of delivery. Consider these direct quotes:
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)
"This decision marks a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman’s right to choose and recognized the importance of women's health. Today's decision blatantly defies the Court's recent decision in 2000 striking down a state partial-birth abortion law because of its failure to provide an exception for the health of the mother. As the Supreme Court recognized in Roe v. Wade in 1973, this issue is complex and highly personal; the rights and lives of women must be taken into account. It is precisely this erosion of our constitutional rights that I warned against when I opposed the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito."5
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
"I strongly disagree with today's Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman's medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women."6
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)
"I could not disagree more strongly with today’s Supreme Court decision. The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to the health of individual women. This hard right turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election. Too much is at stake—starting with, as the Court made all too clear today, a woman's right to choose."7
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
"I would only say that this isn't the only decision [that makes] a lot of us wish that Alito weren't there and O’Connor were there."8
Incidentally, Sen. Reid actually voted in favor of banning partial-birth abortion before he "voted" against it. Caught in his tortured double-speak, Reid’s office issued the following statement the day after he criticized the decision:
"Senator Reid supported the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban and supports the Supreme Court's decision yesterday. However, Senator Reid continues to disagree with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito on many issues and that is why he opposed their confirmation."9
Former New York City Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani appears to share the same affliction of trying to have it both ways. Immediately after the ruling, the former mayor said:
"The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion. I agree with it."10
Yet back in 2000, when he was running for the Senate in New York, he said:
"I would vote to preserve that option [of partial-birth abortion] for women."11
Well, you might suggest, that was seven years ago and everyone is entitled to change his or her position as long as it's in the direction of preserving the sanctity of life. Unfortunately, it's become obvious that the tough-talking Mr. Giuliani strongly supports abortion rights. Only a few days ago, he acknowledged in an interview that "ultimately, there has to be a right to choose."12 When a reporter pressed him about how such a position might sink his chances with social conservatives he replied, "I am at peace with that."13 Mr. Giuliani has also steadfastedly supported public funding for all abortions.14
The abortion establishment also expressed its outrage over the Supreme Court decision:
Kate Michelman, former head of NARAL:
"This decision not only threatens women’s health and the practice of medicine, and the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship, it threatens the fundamental dignity of women. . . "15
Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority:
"[The two new justices] did what they were put on the court to do: strike a blow against women's fundamental right to choose abortion."16
How could these people have so little empathy for babies who are being brutalized without anesthetics? I just don't understand it. Many of these politicians and activists, who claim to love children, reveal the most calloused disregard for their welfare.
Last year, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to acknowledge that preborn babies feel pain, and to protect them from agony as much as possible during the killing process. Not even a dog or a cat would be "put down" legally in such a painful way. As drafted, the bill would provide women seeking an abortion a brochure stating that there was "substantial evidence" that her baby would experience pain during the abortion. The House actually voted in favor of the bill by a vote of 250-162, but a two-thirds majority was required for its approval due to the rules of debate.17 This past January, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) reintroduced the bill in the 110th Congress, but there is little hope that Harry Reid in the Senate or Nancy Pelosi in the House will let it see the light of day.
Now a shocking new development has occurred. Liberal Democrats in the Senate have introduced a bill to override the Supreme Court’s decision on partial-birth abortion and to outlaw any measure designed to restrict abortion in any way. On April 19, one day after the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on partial-birth abortion, the usual cadre of pro-death legislators — Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer and others — introduced a bill entitled the "Freedom of Choice Act."18 If passed, this bill will bar any state from limiting abortion in any form or fashion, including bans on partial-birth abortion, parental notification or any other type of life-affirming protection.
The audacity and the arrogance of this measure are breathtaking, even for liberals. Consider the irony of the fact that activists and leftist politicians have been running to the courts over the years to advance their agendas; but now that they've been handed a decision contrary to their ideology, they're quick to try and "rein in" the judiciary!
The effort to stop this legislation will drag us into a battle we cannot afford to lose. Someone must fight for voiceless little human beings, and we'll join the fray. Please stay tuned. We'll need your help in the near future.
Even as the tide of public opinion inches toward the sanctity of life, the media has stepped up its campaign to convince us it's not true. Have you noticed that print and television news reports are insisting that conservative voters no longer care about the traditional values that motivated them in the past? Abortion and marriage are getting no traction, we're told. Some are saying that the war in Iraq has replaced social issues, as though people don't have the capacity to care about more than one threat at a time. This is another lie designed to make conservatives forget the babies who are dying and the marriages that are decaying. Some liberal Christians have even begun telling us that global warming is the new concern, and that the old battles are over. Meanwhile, approximately a million abortions per year are still being committed. We will never forget.
If anything, I believe pro-life voters are more committed to traditional values than ever, and their participation will impact the outcome in 2008. Yes, we are deeply concerned about the Islamic threat to this nation, and that will be a factor down the road. But the notion that concern for the welfare of families has gone away is nonsense. Time will tell, but this is how I read the situation today.
For now, let's bask in the victory for life given to us by the Court and continue to pray that God will open the eyes of the American people to what is happening throughout the culture. While we sleep, the Far Left is advancing a radical agenda that will, if successful, weaken or even destroy the moral underpinnings of this great nation.
What is so frustrating here is that America's two political parties reflect entirely different philosophies of governing. When Republicans assume power, some of them tend to say to themselves, "Well, golly gee wiz! Can you believe we're in charge now? Let's see if we can stay in office and not do anything to get ourselves voted out." Then they twiddle their thumbs and hope not to get noticed by the media.
In stark contrast, when the Democrats take charge, they go straight for the jugular. They begin passing radical bills by the hundreds and doing everything within their power to stifle the opposition. The result is a left-wing revolution that turns the culture on its ear. That is what is happening right now. Democrats are working as quickly and quietly as possible to consolidate power and to silence those who would call attention to their agenda.
To illustrate this point, let's consider the very first bill brought for a vote by the Democrats after assuming majority status in the Senate in January. While the bulk of S. 1 was well-intentioned, it included an egregious amendment that could have made it difficult for organizations such as Focus on the Family to tell their constituents what their senators and congressmen are doing. It was outrageous to the core.
As I've often said, Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg that ours is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." If S. 1 had passed, however, the majority of "the people" would not have heard what their representatives were up to! The bill required any leader of a nonprofit organization to report to the Senate every time he or she talked about (or even with) a political leader. Those who "knowingly and willingly" failed at any point to do so would have been subject to as many as 10 years in prison or up to a $200,000 fine.19
Called the "lobbying reform bill," it was a direct assault on free speech and on the right of the people to know what their elected officials are doing. Greatly alarmed, Focus and many other organizations invested scarce resources and broadcasting hours into helping to mobilize the public against this awful legislation. Thankfully, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and most of his Republican colleagues stopped the grassroots provision cold. Such battles are exhausting to us, however, and we simply can't fight them all. Furthermore, they drain our financial resources and leave us depleted when the next assault is launched. And now, with dangerous legislation coming in waves, the challenge is even greater.
As a case in point, the idea of muzzling the culture watchers is coming back in the House of Representatives. We just learned that Democratic leadership in the House is bringing its own version of the "grassroots gag" provision to add to S. 1, that will impose the same kinds of restrictions on us. Speaker Pelosi and her friends want this legislation badly in order to consolidate their power and muzzle critics. Furthermore, we are told that the bill, HR 2093, will be brought forward too quickly for us to get the word out. By the time this letter reaches you, this "gag order" may be on its way back to the Senate — or even to the president. This is extremely distressing, for us and even for ACLU types. All I can do is tell you what has been done. In the future, I won’t even be able to do that without reporting to Congress. What ever happened to free speech?
This is precisely what occurred five years ago as a result of the regrettable McCain-Feingold legislation. It specified that 501(c)(3)-type nonprofit organizations, such as Focus on the Family, can't even mention the names of politicians running for office within three months prior to an election. (Note: union officials were exempt from the restriction.) We, and numerous other conservative organizations, were effectively silenced by Congress. In this case, John McCain and his Republican colleagues were in on the scheme, and the president signed the bill. We, and perhaps he, thought that the Supreme Court would strike it down, but they let it stand in a 5-to-4 decision.20
In response, Focus on the Family’s board authorized the creation of a 501(c)(4) organization, called Focus on the Family Action™, which paid for this letter. In order to do so, however, we must try to raise funds that are not tax-deductible. That is very difficult to do.
There are other initiatives being considered in Congress intended to muzzle conservative communicators. One is called "the Fairness Doctrine," aimed at Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others — including, perhaps, yours truly. According to two members of the House Democratic caucus, Nancy Pelosi has said she will "aggressively pursue" its reinstatement. They are quoted as saying, "Conservative radio is a huge threat," and that "We want to make sure the GOP has no advantage going into 2008." A Democratic source has indicated that Salem Radio Network, which airs Focus on the Family’s program, will be a target of the investigation.21 Though this issue is on the back burner at the moment, look for it to come to the fore in the future. What it boils down to is that elected officials want to operate entirely without scrutiny or accountability.
At the same time, it's becoming increasingly difficult for those in positions of authority with a biblical worldview to withstand the withering attacks of the liberal establishment. The nation's highest-ranking military officer, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, gave an interview to the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune last March that ignited a firestorm of controversy. The general said this when asked about the possibility of homosexuals openly serving in the military:
"I believe that military members who sleep with other military members' wives are immoral in their conduct, and that we should not tolerate that. I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts."22
How could any moral person disagree with that statement? Well, unfortunately, it brought a decidedly negative response.
Initially, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama refused to answer reporter’s questions when asked about the general's remarks. So did former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Under pressure from homosexual advocates, both Clinton and Obama finally broke their silence and said they didn't believe homosexuality to be immoral. Gov. Romney and Mayor Giuliani were far more nuanced, citing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy as cover; but they still refused to say whether or not they agreed or disagreed with General Pace.
Clearly, Gen. Pace had run smack into a tenet of political correctness. Forty years ago, virtually every politician in America would have condemned homosexual behavior, as would a huge majority of the population. But all that has changed. Of the announced presidential candidates, only Sen. Sam Brownback agreed with Gen. Pace. The rest criticized him, or else they remained conspicuously silent.
I would like to ask those who see "nothing wrong" with homosexual promiscuity, if they believe the same attitude applies to heterosexual activity? It is an important question. During spring break again this year, hundreds of thousands of high school and college aged students gathered at resorts in the United States and the Caribbean to binge drink, get high on illegal drugs and engage in indiscriminate sexual activity. Would the politicians who apparently pride themselves in being "non-judgmental" find nothing immoral about drunken parties and orgiastic behavior? Indeed, I would ask, "Is anything categorically immoral for such people today?" We have to conclude that the reply is decidedly, "No!"
Similar attacks on traditional morality are truly coming in waves at this time. Liberals smell blood in the water, and they're in a feeding frenzy. Suffice it to say that you and I are given a choice about how to respond. We must either fight for what we believe, or tuck our tails behind us and watch as this great nation goes the way of other Western countries, especially in Europe.
Back in the U.S., the State of Colorado just authorized adoption for homosexual couples23 and prohibited abstinence-only education.24 There is much work to be done.
Please join Shirley and me in praying for this great nation! We were gratified to hear that more than 40,000 prayer gatherings were held throughout the land on the National Day of Prayer earlier this month. Many participants asked the Lord for His blessing and protection during this troubling time. The Scripture tells us that "the shields of the earth belong unto God" (Psalm 47:9, KJV). What we desperately need is a spiritual awakening that will bring us back to our biblical foundations.
In closing, I ask you to consider providing financial assistance to both Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action. The battles we are fighting to nurture and defend the family are expensive, but necessary.
We love you all, and consider you partners in this effort to preserve righteousness in the culture. This is not a time for discouragement. It is a time to act. Join us, and pray for us, won't you?
God’s richest blessings to you and yours.
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman
P.S. A final thought. My friend, Frank Pastore, outstanding radio talk show host heard daily on station KKLA in Los Angeles, wrote a powerful article about abortion. An excerpt from that article appears below. I hope you will read it.
Where Are the Protestant Benedicts?
by Frank Pastore
After hearing so many of our politicians try to deftly finesse and coyly nuance themselves into so many murky, equivocal shades of grey, wasn't it great to hear a man of principal and conviction speak last week with clarity on a moral issue of great importance to so many people?
While aboard the papal plane in route to Brazil, Pope Benedict was asked about the Mexican bishops who were threatening to excommunicate the Catholic politicians who voted in favor of legalizing abortion in Mexico City.
Benedict said, "Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon Law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ. . . They (Mexican church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the church. . . Which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)."
He said those who vote in favor of abortion have, "doubts about the value of life and the beauty of life and even a doubt about the future. . . Selfishness and fear are at the root of (pro-abortion) legislation. . . We in the church have a great struggle to defend life. . . Life is a gift, not a threat."
Pope Benedict, God bless him, drew a line in the sand on abortion.
How refreshing to hear a Christian leader do so.
According to the Pope, Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion should not receive communion and they risk excommunication from the Church. According to Church law, anyone who knowingly commits or allows a grave sin, such as abortion, inflicts "automatic excommunication" upon themselves.
I'd love to hear some Protestant Benedicts speak with such clarity.
But, where are the pulpits of men with conviction and principal eager to take politically incorrect stands?
Where are those men with chests who fear God more than men?
Where are those pastors who care more about their faithfulness to the biblical text than they do about filling their pews and their next building program?
Where are the Bible colleges and seminaries who teach such things?
What are the denominations that still care about such things?
Who are the radio and television ministries who regularly address such things?
They are so rare.
Which is why I am so proud of Pope Benedict and the Catholic church, even though I'm not Catholic.
- 1 Robin Toner, "Court Ruling Catapults Abortion Back Into '08 Race," The New York Times, 19 April 2007, p. A23.
- 2 See:Gonzales v. Carhart (Nos. 05-380 and 05-1382), No. 05–380, 413 F. 3d 791; 05–1382, 435 F. 3d 1163, reversed.
- 3 See: people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=283
- 4 "Focus on the Family Constituent Insight Report," Mar. 31, 2007.
- 5 See: 2008central.net/?p=514
- 6 Ibid.
- 7 Ibid.
- 8 See: realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/04/partial_prolife_democrats.html
- 9 Ibid.
- 10 See: 2008central.net/?p=514
- 11 "Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York City, Discusses His Senate Race Against Hillary Clinton," NBC's Meet the Press, 6 Feb. 2000.
- 12 See: nytimes.com/2007/05/10/us/politics/10giuliani.html?_r=1&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20 Topics%2fPeople%2fN%2fNagourney%2c%20Adam&oref=slogin
- 13 Ibid.
- 14 Dan Jadison, "Spin Cycle," Newsday, 9 Apr. 2007, p. A14.
- 15 See: cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/18/supremecourt/main2698164.shtml
- 16 See: nrlc.org/NRLCintheNews/ChiTrib041807.html
- 17 Carl Hulse, "Anti-Abortion Bill Stalls," The New York Times, 7 Dec. 2006, p. A36.
- 18 See: thomas.loc.gov
- 19 See: hslda.org/Legislation/National/2007/S. 1/default.asp
- 20 Richard Willing and Jim Drinkard, "Political Finance Limits Survive," USA Today, 11 Dec. 2007, p. A1.
- 21 Spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=11427
- 22 Thom Shanker, "Top General Explains Remarks on Gays," The New York Times, 14 Mar. 2007, p. A15.
- 23 Charles Ashby, "Senate OKs Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples," The Pueblo Chieftain, 13 Apr.