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OPINION

No Child Should Be Left Behind—Especially In States Where the Least of These Are Now Protected

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Ryan Bomberger. 

Oklahoma made future generations proud last year when it enacted the Life at Conception law — true to itself, the state historically protected preborn children before much of the nation — but this victory is being threatened today in the name of ‘politics as the art of the possible.’ A better phrase perhaps for what is going on with the newly introduced Senate Bill 834 would be ‘preemptive surrender to prejudice.’  This is because members of the pro-life movement within the state have become fearful of whisperings about pro-abortion actions and distortions.  

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But the Sooner state is not the only place where pro-life victories are being targeted by pro-life people.  

In Wisconsin, legislators are evaluating a proposal supporting some abortion to be attached to a pre-Roe law protecting preborn life broadly. Idaho and Louisiana a re laboriously trying to clarify the obvious – that direct abortion is different from miscarriage or ectopic care – and also examining rape and incest discussions in light of political pressures. Meanwhile in states like Nebraska, North Carolina, and Florida, pro-life advocates are debating other pro-lifers who want some abortion limits similar to abortion-friendly European nations. And in Nebraska and Florida, the measures would permit abortions for infants based on how they were conceived.

Based on a message of fear-mongering and false dichotomy, legislators are pressured to support just a little abortion and not just by the abortion lobby. Proponents of the bills calling them “common ground” as welcoming abortion in cases of rape and incest, along with life-of-the-mother protections, would prohibit “all but five percent of abortions.” But give an inch and the abortion lobby will take a mile.  

And what about that inch? Who are we losing exactly?   

The five percent of children who will slip through the cracks will be people like us and our families.      

As a child conceived through rape, Ryan remains forever grateful that he didn’t have to pay for the sins of his father. His birth mother chose life and placed him into a loving, adoptive family of 15. He is now a husband, father to four (two of whom were adopted), and an international speaker who works to spread the message that every human life has purpose. The circumstances of our existence should never determine our worth — whether that be the events of our conception or our race, sex, age, or economic status.   

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Our perceived abilities or “quality of life” shouldn’t be a factor either as Kristan intimately understands as the mother to three of four children with genetic health conditions. Her oldest son, Gunner, and daughter, Gracie, are small cystic fibrosis warriors who require medical treatments for their condition while Maverick has some difficulties with muscle strength. The care which Kristan and her husband feel blessed to provide is part of the gift of their parenting. Their rambunctious, happy family of six wouldn’t be complete without them.   

Lives like ours are exactly those that are stigmatized. Support for such “exceptions” means that children conceived through rape or incest aren’t worthy of protection. It also leaves much uncertainty in its acceptance of late-term abortions for children vaguely deemed “non-viable.” This diagnosis isn’t explained or enumerated and would perhaps allow an abortion-minded parent with a difficult fetal diagnosis — like cystic fibrosis — to get an abortion.   

But we reject prejudice against people based on things out of their control. We reject prejudice against the preborn for reasons of race, age, sex, stage of development, parental income, perceptions of abilities, or the events of conception.  

Let this be crystal clear: it is not the duty of the pro-life movement to pick and choose which lives should be devalued in a campaign to placate the abortion lobby or answer their talking points.  

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Our job is not to weaken the life-affirming laws we worked tirelessly to achieve, and we won’t be willing conspirators in discriminatory backsliding.      

Sacrificing the lives of some of our children and acting as though causalities cannot be helped in the battle is the wrong mindset, especially in places where we’ve already won life-saving protections. As President Reagan said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It…must be fought for and defended constantly.”   

We need to defend our preborn children equally and use the story of the Good Shepherd as a guide in our leadership. Under his guard, the one sheep was not forsaken on account of the 99 others in safety. Instead, the one who was lost was found, carried home joyfully, and celebrated by the community.   

We can’t give up on the 5 percent in states now debating how many may be erased in the law; no one must be left behind.  

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America & Students for Life Action with more than 1,300 groups on educational campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins or subscribe to her podcast, Explicitly Pro-Life.Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who is the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome kiddos. Ryan is an Emmy Award-winning creative professional, factivist, international public speaker and author of NOT EQUAL: CIVIL RIGHTS GONE WRONG. 

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