National Sanctity Of Human Life Day
A Letter to the President

by Jan Baughman

January 20, 2003


Dear Mr. President,

It certainly is a weekend of contradictions, with our anti-war demonstrations, and peace rallies in honor of Martin Luther King's birthday, and your escalating threats to Iraq. Speaking of contradictions, I am writing in regard to your Proclamation declaring today, Sunday, January 19, 2003 to be "National Sanctity of Human Life Day," on which we "reaffirm the value of human life and renew our dedication to ensuring that every American has access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and in which you state that you and your administration will "continue to honor our country's founding ideals of equal dignity and equal rights for every American. Every child is a priority and a blessing, and I believe that all should be welcomed in life and protected by law."

In response to your call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies in their homes and places of worship, to rededicate themselves to compassionate service, and to reaffirm their commitment to respecting the life and dignity of every human being, I conducted an appropriate ceremony which first involved making a donation to NARAL Pro-Choice America and second, writing this letter to offer you a different perspective on the sanctity of human life and perhaps what access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness truly means.

I do realize that you are concerned about the million-plus abortions that occur in the U.S. every year. Yet I would like to bring some of my concerns to your attention. (I'll focus only on Americans, as you do.)

  - 8.5 million of the 41.2 million people with no health insurance are children

  - 27 million children live in low-income families

  - 11 million children live in poverty

  - 5 million children live in extreme poverty (extreme poverty is defined as $6,930 per year for a family of 3, which is .017 percent of your salary and what you make in a few days)

  - 13 million children live in food-insecure homes

One could argue, therefore, that your dedication to ensuring that every American has access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ends at the moment they exit the womb. Money for education is rapidly disappearing, while funding for war is aplenty. And lack of education is a risk factor for poverty, and poverty, hunger and lack of health care go hand in hand. All are risk factors for crime and violence, perpetuating instability, war... and an existence about as far removed from life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness as one can get. (By the way, poor women are less likely to get an abortion, vote, or protest, but you probably know that...)

How exactly do you define and measure "equal dignity and equal rights for all?" And where is the money for health care? For food, shelter and a decent job for all? Do the post-born have civil rights?

Those recent acts of yours, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the way you've classified fetuses as unborn children to get them health care, along with this latest proclamation of yours aren't fooling me. So you spend your National Sanctity of Human Life Day your way (in prayer, while preparing for war), and I'll spend your National Anti-Abortion Day in mine (in protest).

Have a nice day, and may peace be with us all.

Jan Baughman

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Text of the Proclamation of January 19, 2003 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/print/20030114-13.html

NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly NARAL, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League)

National Center for Poverty in Children - Poverty and hunger statistics

Our Tax Dollars and Moral Leaders at Work - Jan Baughman (March 2002)

Write to President Bush at president@whitehouse.gov


Jan Baughman on Swans (with bio).

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Published January 20, 2003
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