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Pro-life and pro-abortion activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016.Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

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November 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In 1979 I arrived, elated yet diffident, in the Chinese village that would be my home for the next year. Within a few months of my arrival, pregnant mothers were being rounded up by local Communist officials and marched off to abortuaries. China’s one-child policy had begun.

As a visiting scholar from America, I insisted on being present when one of these sobbing mothers was forcibly aborted at 7 ½ months. It changed my life.

I was horrified to see the military doctors who had been brought in to perform this butchery actually cut open the mother’s body to get at the baby.  The poor baby — I think she was a girl — was of course already dead, having been injected with poison in utero two days before. As the doctor reached in to pull out her corpse, I fled the scene.

But not soon enough.

The sight of the dead girl’s limp body being pulled from the ruined abdomen of her mother is burned into my mind. It is a nightmarish vision that I will carry with me to the grave. I have been uncompromisingly Pro-Life ever since.

I returned to the United States determined to fight for Life. I joined the ranks of the millions of Americans who had been selflessly giving of their time and treasure since 1973, when the Supreme had authorized this modern-day slaughter of the innocents. In my naiveté I anticipated a speedy victory.  After all, we had the most pro-life president in modern American history, Ronald Reagan, in office and on our side.

I was wrong. Today, almost four decades later:

  • Abortion continues to be legal in the United States up to birth.
  • Planned Parenthood’s industrial-sized killing fields continue in operation.
  • Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into Planned Parenthood’s coffers.
  • The U.S. State Department continues to coerce foreign governments into legalizing abortion.
  • USAID continues to vigorously promote and fund population control programs.

To be sure, over the years we have won some victories. Thanks to President Reagan, in 1984 we were able to put in place the Mexico City Policy. This requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to certify that they will not perform, promote, or lobby for the legalization of abortion in other countries.

A year later, again thanks to Reagan, we were able to defund the UN Population Fund, an agency that was — and is — heavily involved in China’s program of forced abortions and sterilizations. I was proud of this victory. I provided much of the evidence.

We also cut back spending on population control and reduced Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies.

Yet with each new Democrat administration — first Clinton, and then Obama — these advances were undone. The pro-life movement was never politically strong enough to write these gains into settled law.

Legislative victories were few and far between, although there have been a few.  We were, in 2003, thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Rick Santorum, able to prohibit a particularly horrific form of late-term abortion, partial birth abortion,

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Moreover, we have been increasingly successful at the state level. After the Supreme Court in 1989 allowed states to pass reasonable restrictions on abortion, hundreds of pro-life laws have been passed by state legislatures. Dozens of states now mandate waiting periods, counseling, ultrasounds and, in the case of minors, parental consent. Underlining the humanity of the unborn, dozens of states have also put “fetal homicide” laws in place.

Still, abortion remains legal throughout all fifty states. Decade after decade, the lives of more than one million unborn Americans continue to be wrongly snuffed out each year. This is without a doubt the greatest continuing human tragedy in American history.

Why have we not been able to stop this tragedy, which violates the very principles that America was founded upon? Why have we not been able to keep the promise of The Declaration of Independence that every American is entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?

The answer lies in the brilliantly designed system of checks and balances bequeathed to us by our Founders. Those who drafted the Constitution did not want to escape one tyrant only to fall into the hands of one of their own making, so they carefully divided power between three separate but equal branches of government. The legislature would pass laws, the chief executive would carry them out, and the judiciary would look over the shoulders of both, making sure that neither overstepped their bounds.

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This worked pretty well for a couple of centuries, then the unexpected happened.  An abortion case came before the U.S. Supreme Court. And a majority of justices decided that they would write their own prejudices into their ruling. Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion, was careful to concoct a tissue of rationalizations to hide the fact that he and his colleagues were legislating from the bench. But it was clear to legal scholars what they were about. As my friend Judge Robert Bork often remarked, “Roe v. Wade was an act of raw judicial tyranny.”

This infamous act could have been overturned by the Congress and the President, or by the Supreme Court itself. This hasn’t happened, primarily  because the American people, in their wisdom, rarely give the same political party control over the House, the Senate, and the White House. Since our two main political parties are on opposite sides of this issue — the Republicans are the Party of Life, while the Democrats are in lockstep on abortion — gridlock ensues.

In the Eighties the House Republicans were checked by the Senate Democrats, and little pro-life legislation wound up on President Reagan’s desk. In the nineties, the situation was reversed. The Republican House refused to go along with proposals that the Democratic Senate and a pro-abortion president, Bill Clinton, would have signed.

The Party of Abortion and the Party of Life have been in a political stalemate for almost four decades, preventing a legislative remedy to our national tragedy of abortion from emerging from the Congress and the White House.

The Supreme Court has been equally divided, due in no small part to the carelessness with which pro-life presidents have made their judicial nominations, and the carefulness with which pro-abortion presidents made theirs.

Since before World War II, the Democrats have consistently appointed only ideological soul mates to the Supreme Court. Their appointees, like Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, invariably believe that the Constitution is a “living document” and that the law is a “social construct.” Thus they can be counted upon to reinterpret the Constitution at will to justify whatever behavior the liberal prejudices of the day approve of, including gay marriage, assisted suicide and, in this case, unrestricted abortion.

The Republican record on nominations is much more spotty. In addition to nominating brilliant conservative justices like Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist, President Reagan also brought the unreliable Sandra Day O’Connor and notoriously quixotic Anthony Kennedy onto the Court. The first President Bush, himself a latecomer to the pro-life cause, had an equally mixed record. Clarence Thomas, one of Bush’s nominees, has been one of the great pro-life justices of all time. But he also gave us David Souter, who sailed through confirmation and promptly took up residence on the Court’s left wing, where he has been a reliable vote for abortion on demand ever since.  

Not once in the last 43 years have we enjoyed a solid pro-life majority on the Supreme Court.

Not once in the past 43 years have we ever had a pro-life President and a solid pro-life majority in the Senate and the House at the same time. We have always fallen short in one respect or another.

That’s why this upcoming election is so important for pro-lifers.

On November 8th, for the first time in a generation, we have an opportunity to elect not just a pro-life House, and not just a pro-life Senate. We have an opportunity to elect a President who has promised to implement pro-life measures, and a Vice President with a solid and longstanding pro-life record.

If this happens, a number of very good things will happen quickly. Planned Parenthood will be defunded, and a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks will be passed and signed into law. U.S.-driven population control programs will be shut down, and the State Department will be told to get out of the business of trying to impose abortion and other aberrations on the rest of the world.

The Supreme Court will follow, albeit more slowly.

First the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia will be filled — the list of possible replacements has already been released. Then we must wait until another elderly justice or two steps down, at which time a solid pro-life majority will be created.

Then and only then, Roe v. Wade will be decisively overturned. The issue of abortion will be sent back to the states, most of which have laws protecting Life already on the books.

This happy scenario, of course, depends entirely on the outcome of the election.

By the morning of November 9th, we will know the fate of our movement. We will either be savoring our electoral victory and the prospect of pro-life victories in the Executive, in the Congress, and in the Supreme Court.  

Or we will be hunkering down to fight a desperate rearguard action against the most rapidly pro-abortion administration America has ever seen.  

One thing is absolutely certain: It took 43 long years for this historic opportunity to present itself.

If we let this opportunity slip by, it may not come again in our lifetimes.

In the meantime, millions of unborn Americans will die at the hands of Planned Parenthood’s abortionists. Overseas the death toll will be even higher. Tens of millions will perish, condemned to death by a U.S. foreign aid establishment that is hellbent on eliminating the poor.

Seize the moment. Vote Pro-Life.

The babies can’t wait.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of the forthcoming, The Bully of Asia (Regnery).