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Editor’s Note: John Hinshaw is being held in federal custody at the Alexandria Detention Center, Alexandria, Virginia, along with six other pro-life activists for participating in a traditional pro-life rescue of the unborn at a late-term abortion center in Washington, D.C. They face a potential 11 years in prison as they await sentencing in May by pro-abortion Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, under charges of violations of the FACE Act and “conspiracy against rights.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — As a young pro-lifer in the mid-1970s, I attended, with a young pro-life friend, a gathering of conservative Republicans, and while we were there, my friend asked me, “What’s the difference between us and these people?” I responded that those I knew at the gathering were pro-life, or at least against Roe v. Wade, but to them, the pro-life issue was around #10 on their list of priorities, while it was #1 on our list.

Now, remember this was during the Cold War and the U.S. economy was a shambles, both of them ensuring an election of Ronald Reagan in a few years. But I added to my answer: “It’s only a matter of time before these conservative Republicans realize, to their shock, that abortion is the #1 issue with their liberal Democrat enemies.”

READ: Jailed pro-lifers urge Trump to issue full pardons, fire FBI officials involved in ‘persecutions’

It has taken a long time to get here, but Republicans now see the truth of this. Years of Republicans trimming back their pro-life initiatives has not produced a comparable shift in the Democrats’ abortionism. Even the Republican focus on infanticide and partial-birth abortion has not brought a Democrat vote to their side.

Since the time of Roe, Republicans have consistently demonstrated a tepid approach to the pro-life issue, always seeking some half-measure that didn’t directly challenge the abortion regime. They also refused to dialogue with pro-lifers who would have helped them frame premises that would be politically sustainable, even in blue states.

Republican nods to the pro-life movement usually were made by meeting with Catholic bishops. As the Catholic bishops of the U.S. are arguably the most politically naive segment of the U.S. electorate, this nod was a worthless gesture for our cause. Whenever discussing Roe v. Wade, these conservative Republicans would make clear their position against the Supreme Court decision was based on the hapless, ungrounded legalism undergirding the decision.

While the legal “reasoning” in Roe was juvenile, their anchoring the “right to abortion” in “penumbras” should have clued in conservative Republicans that something more sinister and horrible was at work. To say, as conservative Republicans have, that the problem with Roe was its tissue paper legal “reasoning” is like lamenting all the opulent artifacts, furniture, and chandeliers that went to the bottom with the Titanic. In both cases, the tragedy was the massive loss of human lives.

Abortion is an abomination because it kills babies. How many Republican politicians have you heard state that simple scientific fact? Not enough, surely.

The reluctance of Republicans to state the simple truth helped circumnavigate the issue and, despite numerous assurances by these conservative Republicans, it took 50 YEARS(!) to get rid of the shoddiest legal decision in Supreme Court history. Republicans never got together behind a necessary (still) Human Life Amendment, but gave us a Hyde Amendment to stop abortion funding. This saved some lives – but again, a half-measure.

READ: Jailed pro-lifer: Republican weakness on abortion is nothing new

The Reagan years brought more of the same on the pro-life front. While Reagan did justice to the pro-life Dr. Bernard Nathanson and his historic film The Silent Scream, his administration had only priority #10 pro-lifers.

In the crucial area of judicial appointments, Reagan was a disaster. While he did give us Antonin Scalia and elevated William Rehnquist to chief justice, he also gave us massive failures. In the 1980s, the media decided the country needed women judges, so Republicans dutifully reached out for Republican women lawyers and found many of them indistinguishable from Democrat women lawyers. For the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, Reagan selected Sandra Day O’Connor of Arizona.

Bad as the selection of O’Connor was, it was not Reagan’s worst decision in the matter. That came when Reagan designated a young, conservative Washington, D.C., attorney, well thought of by Republicans, to do the vetting of his judicial choices, particularly for the Supreme Court. That lawyer was one Kenneth Starr, who would go on to bungle the Clinton investigations, disgrace Baylor University, and broker a sweetheart deal for Jeffrey Epstein with the Department of Justice.

At the time that Reagan was considering Sandra O’Connor and Starr was doing the vetting of her, the vice president of National Right to Life was from Arizona and was familiar with O’Connor. And she was raising alarms. Yet Starr never interviewed the VP of National Right to Life. Once again, conservative Republicans not giving the pro-life movement a second or third thought.

READ: Trump says Arizona went ‘too far’ in reviving near-total abortion ban, will be ‘straightened out’

O’Connor was given the pass, Reagan appointed her, and the whole country suffered from her inappropriate placement. Reagan would go on to abandon Robert Bork and give us the towering ego and dwarf legal mind of Anthony Kennedy, who has only recently stopped hurting the country.

At the end of the Reagan years, pro-lifers arose and gifted America with the largest movement of civil disobedience in our history: Operation Rescue, which outnumbered the arrests of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights movement by a ratio of seven to one. Many attributed the pro-lifers’ zeal to the failure of the Reagan years to produce measurable gains for the babies.

READ: Jailed pro-lifer denounces IVF practices, calls on Republicans to defend sanctity of all unborn life

Before moving on from the Reagan years, however, we do need to note another Reagan/Starr failure, little noticed at the time. Another Republican woman appointed to a lower-level federal bench by the Reagan/Starr collaboration went on to be promoted to the Federal District Court by the Clintons, who NEVER promoted a judge who didn’t support Roe v. Wade, and now sits imperiously over the sham trial and imprisonment of pro-life rescuers: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

LifeSiteNews’ extensive coverage of the D.C. Face Act trials can be found here.

Sign the prayer pledge for nine pro-life rescuers facing a decade in prison.


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