I recently had an idea for a post. My concept was that if an American Pro-Life Hall of Fame existed, who would be the inaugural class? Who would be the first five people to be honored based on the last 30+ years of the pro-life cause? The most influential individuals involved with the cause?
The guidelines would be that an eligible person for election would have to be American born and have exposure at a national level. To come up with this list, I spoke with someone whom I believe is a leading authority on the pro-life cause, and its history, in America. We bounced ideas off each other, and came up with the following list of whom we would select as the inaugural class trying to cover the multi-facets of the cause and our society:
Bernard Nathanson: A founding member of NARAL and responsible for 75,000 abortions during his OBGYN career, Nathanson’s heart and views were converted as ultrasound became more sophisticated. He became a leading voice in the vanguard of the pro-life cause. His VHS video, The Silent Scream, was widely distributed in the early 1980’s where he gave a detailed window to the womb showing the viability of the baby and the horror of the abortion procedure.
Henry Hyde: A congressman who represented the 6th district of Illinois. Author of the Hyde Amendment that in 1976 prevented federal funds being used for abortion. With this signed legislation, he became the first person to register a victory against the Roe v. Wade decision. For over 30 years Hyde was a stalwart for the defense of unborn children on Capitol Hill.
Randall Terry: Founded Operation Rescue in 1987. Arrested over 40 times for civil disobedience at abortion clinics across America. Terry and his organization provided the activist wing of the pro-life movement an existence and created havoc for the abortion industry saving thousands of babies. Served as a spokesman for the Terri Schiavo family.
Cardinal John O’Connor: One of the strongest pro-life voices for the Catholic Church in America in the past 30 years. The Archbishop of the Diocese of New York City for 16 years and made the pro-life cause a cornerstone of the Diocese. Told any woman who was thinking of an abortion to come to him personally and he will get her help to her keep her baby. Caused fits for Catholic politicians Mario Cuomo and Geraldine Ferraro and their political deflection that they're "personally opposed to, but publically in support of abortion" stating this view was morally unacceptable.
For over 40 years represented an unyielding pro-life voice in Republican administrations, print and television media. For seventeen years, appeared on Crossfire and defended and explained the pro-life position to America. Flanked George H.W. Bush in a 1992 Presidential run causing him to strengthen his social conservative positions. Gave one of the defining pro-life speeches in memory stating we are in a "cultural war for the soul of America," at Republican National Convention the same year.
A few notes of interest with this list. Although religious affiliations were not a consideration while compiling this list, all five listed ended up being Catholic. Nathanson and Terry converted. Some of the above listed did have problems within their personal lives but we have to give them their due in the pro-life cause.
Please understand this is one opinion of who should be honored. In no way do I want to take away from acknowledging anyone’s pro-life efforts or dedication to our cause . There were so many other names mentioned in the discussion (honorable mentions) including: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Rush Limbaugh, Fr. Frank Pavone, Ronald Reagan, Sam Brownback, Alan Keyes, Judie Brown, Gov. Robert Casey, Dr. Carolyn Gerster, Rev. Billy Graham, etc…
I would love to hear if you think we got it right, or anyone else’s list.