Remembering the pro-life wit and wisdom of Rush Limbaugh
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February 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – As the conservative movement mourns the passing of conservative talk radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh, LifeSiteNews has collected a sampling of Rush’s abortion commentary to remember his commitment to advocating the right to life.
Limbaugh died Wednesday morning at age 70 after a battle with Stage IV lung cancer. He had announced his diagnosis in February 2020, vowing to “come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day,” a promise he kept going into the last month of his life.
Rush left no political subject untouched during his illustrious career, including abortion. The following is a selection of quotes applying his trademark wit and wisdom to pro-life issues.
If they give up, if the Democrats, the liberals ever give up on their push for embryonic stem cell research, what happens? By definition, it weakens their case for abortion, because to give in to the less wretched alternatives, such as adult stem cells or amniotic fluid stem cells, the Democrats are, in an implied way, conceding that we ought to try to limit the death option, and they thereby imply there’s something morally wrong with that kind of research — and they can’t do that [...] And, I’ll tell you what, if tomorrow there were a cure discovered for, say, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s in any kind of stem cell research other than embryonic, they would try to discount it — and I am not exaggerating and I’m not making it up. That’s how important this is.
So they say now in the Huffing and Puffington Post that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital — way, way back when it was originally founded — was seeded with money from Latin American death squads [...] Let me ask you a question: What’s the difference in that and the Democrats being underwritten by Planned Parenthood and NARAL? If they’re not death squads, I don’t know what is.
CALLER: I think it does. It’s just terrible that 26 people died in Sandy Hook and 20 of them were children. Terrible. Very sad, coming up to Christmas. Hopes and dreams the young children had, their parents and weddings and congratulations that will never occur. However, on any given day in America, more than 3,000 children are killed from abortion, and we have no problems with that. We’re okay with that; it’s not an issue [...]
RUSH: Well, it’s a good point. You know how to stop abortion? Require that each one occur with a gun.
Look at what [Democrats are] doing. They destroyed the black family. They’re destroying minorities’ families. Look at what they’re doing to women with their policies. I mean, they’re demeaning them. They’re turning ’em into nothing but abortion machines. I mean, there’s so much that we could be doing if we just fight back, but the Republican Party, even if they had all the money in the world right now, doesn’t seem inclined to do any of this.
I don’t know. It’s clear that these people at Planned Parenthood have something other than a soul. They’re operating on something clearly foreign to most of us, to be able to clinically discuss the harvesting of organs from newborn babies, the way they’re talking about it in here in a detached way. I don’t know how you do that.
We’re talking murder here, folks. Now, that’s what makes this different from the way they’ve always approached this. There has been a significant, fundamental change in the way they are describing what they are supporting here, because it’s always been killing. They’ve known it, we know it, everybody knows it. They have sought to massage the language so that it wasn’t seen as that. And the primary way they did that was to cloak it in a woman’s right to choose [...]
Rape and incest, another reason why we can’t force women to… But now, folks, all that’s gone now, and it’s changed — and you know, the big change is, they are giving standing ovations in the New York state Senate chamber to the killing of children! Now they are acknowledging that that’s what’s happening, and they’re applauding it! And they’re codifying it and making it constitutional in New York. They applaud it. There was a standing O for the provision that if an attempted abortion fails, you can go ahead and finish the job after birth.
I don't know how many times I've told you... I was telling somebody earlier today, "There are so many times... I can't count the number of moderate Republicans that came up to me, 'You gotta get these Republicans to stop talking about abortion! We're gonna never win election again!
"We're -- we're -- we're -- we're social liberals and fiscal conservatives, and you gotta get them to shut up!" I mean, everywhere I went, whenever the Republicans lost an election, it was assumed that was why. I always said to them, "Let me tell you something. If we're not willing to stand up for life, what the hell else are we gonna be able to have any value in?" I tried to tell 'em that it was about so much more than abortion.
If you don't have a government that is willing to stand up for life wherever it is, particularly of its own citizens -- and if you have a population that is not oriented in the same direction -- then you're gonna watch the slow devolution of anything of value. If life is not worth fighting for... We all only get one, and if we're not gonna even engage the battle to snuff out life -- if we're not even gonna be able to engage the people that want to get rid of "undesirable lives" -- then what else is gonna fall by the wayside?
Rush’s most comprehensive treatment of the subject of abortion was the sixth chapter of his first book, The Way Things Ought to Be (1992):
Suffice it to say that to me the issue is simple. I believe that life begins at conception and that killing that human life is justifiable only when it’s necessary to save the mother’s life.
But I am also pro-life because I am a human being who feels a sense of duty to civilization. I think it is incumbent upon us all to be concerned about the world we will leave behind. We also should be concerned about the values we transfer to succeeding generations. When we take actions that cheapen life, we are contributing to an overall decline in our society’s moral values. By allowing abortion (in situations other than where the mother’s life is in jeopardy) we are indirectly promoting values that encourage crime, illegitimacy, the dissolution of the family, and callousness toward the living, especailly the elderly. Abortion cheapens the sanctity of human life. We are now making decisions as to who lives and who dies on the basis of whether it is convenient for the LIVING. That’s dangerous.
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Why should it matter to the pro-choice radicals if a woman is talked out of an abortion? Say a woman is on her way to Planned Parenthood to have an abortion. Outside their offices she’s stopped by Operation Rescue and told that they have a shelter she can go to where she will be taken care of. She can have the baby, and it will be put up for adoption. But at least it will live. So why are the radical feminists so furious when that happens? What agenda is being harmed? Why get so mad when a woman who planned to have an abortion is talked out of it, if choice is really the objective?
One reason they get upset is that abortion is the fuel running their entire political agenda. It is the sacrament of their religion of feminism. Here then is the definition and real agenda of the feminazi: radical feminists whose objective is to see that there are as many abortions as possible. That is their primary mechanism of asserting their power. The second reason some abortion activists get upset is that there is money involved. Always follow the money on any public issue. Elsewhere in this book, i’ve said that the desire for money tells us a great deal about why people hold certain views. Abortion is a huge business in this country. Think about 1.5 million abortions a year at, say, $300 each. That’s $450 million a year. There’s a lot of money being made on abortions.
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Most people who favor abortion view it as a matter of a woman’s individual rights. I, however, cannot escape viewing it as an issue of life. If the fetus is human life, that trumps any argument you can make about the individual freedom of the mother. I believe human life begins at conception. It can begin nowhere else.
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I have asked the feminists who disagree with a democratic resolution on this issue what they are afraid of. If there is such massive support for the pro-choice point of view, pro-choicers should win in a breeze. They vehemently disagree. They know in their hearts that the majority of the American people are not in favor of unlimited abortion on demand. Liberals fear the democratic process because they don’t think the people will agree with their agenda. They love an activist Supreme Court for that reason, because it gives them political victories they cannot gain in our democratic, accountable institutions.
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I’ve had women call me on the show and say that they were almost aborted by their parents. You can’t imagine the emotional wallop that packs. Think about your feelings if you were to shake the hand of someone who was almost sucked out of her mother’s womb. Someone who almost didn’t experience the joy and wonder of life, the thrill of being part of this great world.
Perhaps Rush’s most unique contribution to the abortion debate was his radio stunt known as “caller abortions,” which The Way Things Ought to Be describes as follows:
I have long thought that arguing with people about abortion doesn’t have much of an impact, because people are so entrenched on the issue. So, I decided I somehow had to illustrate the moral tragedy of abortions. That’s how I came up with the caller abortion, the most controversial thing I’ve ever done [...]
One day I asked my audience if any of them wanted to volunteer to be the first aborted call in the history of radio. A lady called in and said that she would be willing. Ladies and gentlemen, I said, I’m going to demonstrate what happens during a caller abortion. I asked the caller to start saying anything she wanted into the phone. She agreed, and began asking me my opinion on something. She was suddenly caught off by a loud whoosh with background sounds of a choked scream. And then there was silence. I paused for several seconds. Then, I slowly leaned forward and asked the broadcast engineer, Jim McGuire, the critical question: ‘Jim, did we get it all?’
[...] The reaction was incredible. Some people caught on to the message I was trying to send, and complimented me. But many others protested. They were outraged that I was doing this. I was getting hundreds of letters from people who normally would never have written or called in [...]
What’s the commotion about? None of what I did was real. Yet, in this country an abortion happens 4,000 times a day. For real. The screams are real, the vacuum cleaner is real. There is real emotional distress. There is physical harm and there’s death. And you are calling a guy on the radio and telling him that he poses a threat to society? You’re telling him that he is cruel and heartless? He is harming no one. He’s just telling you what’s really going on in your neighborhood. He is forcing you to deal with the pain of thinking about the realities of real life abortion. We are so far removed from it that we don’t think of it in graphic terms. Perhaps if more people did consider the horrors of ending life, they would be much less persuaded by their arguments of convenience. To the extent that I may have heightened awareness out there, I believe I have done a service, regardless of how distasteful it may have been to some.
Where is the outrage against those who do it for real just down the street from where they live? It’s not there. They reserve it for calling a guy on the radio to complain about sounds he plays. I think some of them have their priorities mixed up. If you didn’t know in your heart of hearts that abortion was a savage, violent act, what I did wouldn’t have bugged you so much. I took you inside an abortion mill, and some of you couldn’t take it. You can’t handle it when it was only dramatized. Yet, you’re not bothered by abortion when it happens for real. Is there not a contradiction here? Think about it.
Even more examples of Rush Limbaugh’s pro-life commentary from over the years can be found in LifeSite’s archives.