Never, Never, Never

CAL THOMAS

December 09, 1992|By CAL THOMAS

Washington. -- The election of pro-choice Bill Clinton, the recent Supreme Court decisions upholding the supposed constitutional right of a woman in consultation with her abortionist to take the life of her unborn child, and the possibility that the new Congress will enact a version of the so-called ''Freedom of Choice Act'' have led some to conclude that the abortion debate is over and the pro-lifers have lost.

No, we haven't.

Nor has there been an honest debate, because pro-choice forces in the press and entertainment industries, academia and the medical profession have been unwilling to present any information to women other than that which upholds their extreme, abortion-on-demand position.

Last week President Bush decided that consumers should have more information about the food they buy, so he endorsed a policy to print more information on food labels, including fat content. Too bad pregnant women are not accorded such a full-disclosure service, a kind of truth-in-utero law. Equipped with information about the contents of their wombs and about alternatives to abortion, they could make choices at least as fully informed as the ones they make at the supermarket.

The suggestion that pro-lifers might as well give up because the political process has decided the issue in favor of abortion rights has little precedent in history.

Had England's William Wilberforce despaired of his lone voice against slavery as a member of the House of Commons, the moral power of his argument would not have been heard and the abolition movement in England and later in America might never have begun.

Had Susan B. Anthony caved in to the ''political realities'' of male power, women might never have won the right to vote.

Had Martin Luther King Jr. concluded in the Birmingham jail that segregation was too powerful a force to be overcome, the civil-rights movement might have been delayed or denied.

One searches in vain for statues to greatness which stand on foundations of resignation to political realities. Those we revere stood for principled truth, often against great odds. Those we revile, if we remember them at all, compromised or gave up when the going got tough.

One columnist, Charles Krauthammer, writes, ''In a democracy, the law comes to reflect the people's mores.'' Perhaps that is what this republic -- we are not strictly a democracy -- has become, but the Founders and those who most influenced them understood it to be the other way around. If the law serves the people, rather than the people serving the law, then law is meaningless and becomes a mere convenience (or inconvenience that can be changed at will).

For law to have meaning, it must be fixed in a set of absolutes. The highest good a republic can do for its people is to conform them to a standard which may not always be to their liking, but which eventually will be to their benefit. If such a standard is

maintained, they will find it is ultimately to their liking, because they see it will benefit them.

Mr. Krauthammer and others say that the Republican Party must be clear that it will ''not allow itself to become a vehicle of the anti-abortion agenda.''

At its founding, the Republican Party was pressured by ''moderates'' to jettison the issue of slavery. Like the abortion issue, it was said that being an abolitionist would cost the party votes. Principled Republicans prevailed, and it was the principle for which they refused to compromise that brought the party of Abraham Lincoln into power and immortality.

If the Republican Party abandons its principled defense of the unborn and of women who are not being told all of the truth, it will have denied its reason for being.

The debate is not over. If it takes a decade, or a century, or more, pro-lifers have only begun to fight for the weakest of the human family.

Like the British in their darkest hour, pro-lifers say with Winston Churchill that we will never give up. Never, never, never.

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.

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