National Catholic Register


It Is Never the Wrong Time to Do What Is Right


March 26-April 1, 2006 Issue | Posted 3/27/06 at 11:00 AM


For the past several years I have noticed a disturbing trend among those who profess to be pro-life: They fight against partial-birth abortion and work for abortion restrictions. These are good things. However, they support pro-life efforts when it suits them, seems advantageous or puts them in good standing among others.

When the opportunity comes to outlaw abortion altogether, they actively fight against the endeavor. How can this be? How can those who call themselves pro-life be against South Dakota’s recent bill placing a ban on abortion?

The pro-life movement in South Dakota is united behind this bill. The South Dakota Legislature formed an official Task Force Study on Abortion. Experts were chosen to serve, including representatives from three of the largest pro-life groups in the state, and, on the other side the state director of Planned Parenthood.

Both sides of the abortion debate had equal time to present testimony. In the end, after more than 3,500 pages of scientific research and 2,000 affidavits from post-abortive women had been collected, two conclusions could not be denied.

First, from the moment of conception, the entity that is created is a genetically unique, whole individual, which immediately begins a series of self-directed changes that continue without interruption until death.

This member of the human species is scientifically alive at the moment of conception. Since the legalization of abortion in the United States in 1973, more than 43 million living unborn children have been killed through a procedure as inhumane and defiling an act as has ever been created.

Second, abortion has harmful side effects to physical, emotional and mental health. Abortion has hurt women, filling their days with regret and their evenings with nightmares. Science has found links between abortion and cancer, suicide, depression and grief that can be debilitating, even fatal.

In 33 years, the Supreme Court has never been presented with these facts. Yet, the Roe v. Wade decision is based on the now false premises that science has not determined when life begins and that abortion is healthy for women.

Mother Teresa understood well the effects of legalized abortion:

“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called ‘right to abortion’ has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners.

“Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent on, the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.” (Mother Teresa — “Notable and Quotable,” Wall Street Journal, Feb. 25, 1994, Page A14)

Some people say incremental steps are the “best” approach to limiting abortion’s effects on women, children and society.

I have tried the incremental approaches.

My husband and I started a pregnancy care center which sees nearly 6,000 clients each year. I bought the abortion clinic building and moved the pregnancy care center in.

I passed parental-consent laws. I passed informed-consent and waiting-period laws. I passed clinic-regulation laws. Several others associated with the pregnancy center and I were even allowed to join the defense of a state law in federal court.

We believe that this was the first time any pro-life group has been given the standing to defend women’s rights against Planned Parenthood. Yet, even now Planned Parenthood still aborts a future South Dakota kindergarten class each week. The post-abortive women come to me, hurting, crying out for justice, pleading for someone to do something.

The selective destruction of unborn human life is the greatest equal protection challenge facing our country today.

Should we wait before fixing this social injustice? Should we continue to stand idly by as thousands of God’s children are brutally killed and being spiritually, physically and mentally damaged? (Romans 13:11)

When the Lord returns, may he not find us sleeping (Mark 13:36), but rather doing his will.

It is never the wrong time to do what is right. The groundwork has been laid. Now is the time. The abortion ban has been passed in South Dakota.

Leslee Unruh is the

president of the Sioux

Falls-based Alpha Center

and Abstinence Clearinghouse.