Law, Science, and Religion in the Pro-Life Movement

In the first life issues specific panel of CPAC, panelists condemned not only abortion, but also assisted suicide and fetal tissue research.

Moderated by Julie Hocker of the American Conservative Union, all three panelists expressed faith as a part of their journey to their position on life, but none more so then Gianna Jessen, who survived her birth mother’s attempt to have her aborted. Jessen referred to her cerebral palsy as a “blessing” and talked about the two marathons she’s run, and the horror with which she regards abortions targeting disabled children.

“You can imagine how horrified I am, as someone who survived a saline abortion, that if the baby is disabled you have to terminate the pregnancy,” said Jessen, “Who does that sound like, Adolf Hitler? And you have no idea the amount of beauty and joy and happiness I have because I must lean on the strong arm of Jesus all the way to heaven.”

The speakers also hit on the due process clause of the Constitution. Regarding unborn children as full humans. Fr. Ben Johnson, the U.S. bureau chief of, explained that he became pro-life by way of politics and Ronald Reagan, and that the science of when a new life was formed was what actually convinced him. With this, his view continued to develop into a legal one.

“There is a scientific consensus that life begins at what they call fertilization, what we would call conception,” Johnson said, “Under our constitutional form of government that means that child is endowed with all the rights of our constitutional system including the right to life. We do not kill innocent people without due process of the law.”

Lenny McAllister, a candidate for the U.S. House in Pennsylvania’s 14th district, further expanded on the legal reasoning against abortion, reaching even further back past the Constitution.

“The Declaration of Independence does not say choice, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” McAllister said, “It says life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The condemnation of assisted suicide may have been less soaring in its rhetoric, but the facts that backed up the panelists views were just as sharp.

“I think its such arrogance for the health person to look at the person they perceive as disabled or unworthy of life and say, I’m going to say what your quality of life is,” said Jessen, “I think we have forgotten as a society that we often learn wisdom from the weakest among us.”

“You want to see where America will be in 20 years? Look at Europe,” Johnson said, “In the Netherlands the age of consent for assisted suicide is 12 years old.”

From birth to natural death, the conservatives gathered in the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center are determined to protect life. Johnson closed the panel by appealing to attendees to make fighting for pro-life legislation into their career.

“All of you have talents that have been given to you by God,” said Johnson, “You should consider whether you have the ability to use that talent full time in the pro-life movement.”