Note: This commentary was delivered by PFM President Mark Earley.
As Chuck Colson shared yesterday on BreakPoint, these are troubling times for human dignity and the pro-life movement. President-elect Obama has promised to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate every common-sense restriction passed on abortion at the state level and federal level in the past 20 years. The new administration is also encouraging embryonic stem cell research. And nowadays, 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome prior to birth are aborted.
In times when many evangelicals are tempted to retreat from the front lines of the battle for human dignity, we need some modern-day heroes for life-people whose bold and countercultural stand for life can serve as inspiring role models.
So as the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade ominously approaches, I want to recognize a few people who have chosen to put life first-way outside the boundaries of what most of us would call our comfort zones.
For one Illinois woman, being pro-life cost her her job. As a nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Jill Stanek discovered that babies were being aborted alive and left to die in a utility room. When Jill publicized the atrocity, she was fired. That was seven years ago. Since then, she has fought relentlessly for the rights of the unborn, particularly for the passage of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which protects children who survive abortion.
A few states over in Michigan, Lucy Talbot, a mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, is fighting hard to combat the horrifying and rising trend of aborting babies with Down syndrome.
Lucy points out that no one congratulates the new parents of a Down syndrome baby. But she says, “It’s a baby first, and we have to congratulate” them.
Lucy has started a nonprofit organization to educate prospective parents about the joys and struggles of raising a child with Down syndrome — and to challenge obstetricians to offer a more positive perspective on Down syndrome to their patients. She even goes to hospitals during lunch to challenge the healthcare professionals to view Down syndrome differently.
In Ohio, a single woman named Anita White is making perhaps an even more unusual sacrifice. Anita always dreamed about getting married and starting a family. Although she has yet to marry, that didn’t stop her from making the heroic decision to adopt three “unwanted” children. One of her children survived a premature delivery and was born with cerebral palsy. She says, “I’m willing to take the children whom nobody else will take.”
In a culture that tells single people to live for themselves, Anita’s example is radically countercultural-and radically for life.
People like Jill, Lucy, and Anita remind me that