Remembering Ford's life recalled a bright light in dark times, his tenure in the wake of so much upheaval and chaos. Americans had experienced the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; the assassination of his humanitarian brother Robert; the assassination of civil rights champion the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., our leading black American; and the raging war in Vietnam.
AMID SUCH TIMES, our Supreme Court ruled in the Roe v. Wade case, allowing the legalization of abortion on demand, for any reason, at any time up until birth. This ruling basically stated that an unborn child had no rights. Turbulent and traumatic times can knock us off clear thinking and our ability to pay attention. Perhaps that's why we were hardly looking on Jan. 22, 1973, when the high court heard this case. As Americans, maybe deaths, assassinations, broken dreams and presidential deception had opened us to the deadliest deception of our time: abortion.
Looking back on those times, I have to confess, I was guilty by default along with countless other Americans. I don't even remember reading the court's ruling in the paper that day. It was of little interest to me.
But in the coming years, everything changed for us. Suddenly we were no longer exempt from the issue. We had met the truth, and our eyes had been opened. It was something to behold. But not all was pretty - much of it was downright appalling.
In 1983, on a weekend visit to Augusta on the Roe vs. Wade anniversary date, we joined many others in watching the video The Silent Scream, which graphically showed the abortion of an 11-week-old fetus. After seeing that film, abortion became very personal, and I knew that I had to be more pro-active in the fight against "legalized" abortion. All doubts had been removed.
This was no longer a debate- no longer "some tissue"- no longer "just a fetus"- and no longer abstract, certainly not political. This was the killing of one loved by God, and only God could have known what great plans He had for this child or all the others being aborted. These young humans were deemed to be unworthy to live the life God had given and assigned them.
Abortion - that great deception - has pillaged America for 34 years now. The death toll in America has passed 45 million - approximately 1.3 million each year. In Augusta alone, the toll is approximately 60,000, the great majority at the hands of Planned Parenthood - although in recent years, Women's Preferred Health Center in west Augusta has done the most. These figures are based on vital statistics recorded by the state of Georgia; each death must be reported.
Of course, those statistics cover only the death of aborted infants. They don't account for the untold loss of lives and families that would have come forth had they been given a chance to live.
All the while, Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider - operating under the guise of "reproductive health care" - has taken in huge abortion revenue, largely at the expense of taxpayers!
AS MORE WORK has been done by Right to Life and others, the laws have gradually been strengthened. Parental notification and a 24-hour waiting period, now part of the law in Georgia, move abortion further from a clandestine, impulsive act, and reduce the numbers of abortion considerably. Many abortions wouldn't be carried out if just given more time and thought.
Laws and standards pertaining to abortion clinics have tightened, causing many clinics to close. The number of practicing abortionists declines regularly as risks go up. Americans are seeing this, and their eyes and minds are being opened. Some states will soon outlaw abortion altogether.
Pro-life advocates have long been there to help the expectant mothers in distress whoever they were. Most notably, Care Pregnancy Centers - nationally and two locally - offer every service needed from pregnancy test, counseling, sonograms right on through delivery. Also, if adoption is the best solution, there is plenty of help in getting this in place. A long list of good people wait in hope of adopting. Even in cases of rape and incest, a baby in America should never have to die for lack of a home!
At a textile plant in Graniteville, S.C., there was a terrible train wreck two years ago. Tank cars carrying chlorine burst open releasing a killer chlorine spill. Nine people were killed, hundreds were injured and the plant was devastated. Many of us were surprised, not knowing the lethal power of chlorine. Those who worked in the plant knew, and those who had time ran for their lives. Unfortunately, not knowing the lethal power of chlorine doesn't make it any less deadly.
In 1973, the forces of evil unleashed a "death spill" in America with legalized abortion - and the death spill that pours from those clinics has been devastating.
It has been said that America will be great as long as America is good. Thirty-four years ago, America got morally derailed, and that inherent goodness we always had as a people got seriously compromised.
Again we stand at a crossroads this Roe v Wade weekend. Will we as Americans stand up for the defenseless unborn, the sanctity of life and the future of this great country - or will we deny our future generations life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Will be give America over to the death dealers - and mediocrity - or worse?
It's our choice.
(Editor's note: The writer has been an Augusta pro-life activist for more than 20 years, and is a member of the Alleluia Community in Augusta.)