By Patrick J. Buchanan
Patrick J. Buchanan delivered the following speech January 21, 1995, at the Concord Auditorium, on behalf of New Hampshire Right to Life. The speech immediately followed the New Hampshire March for Life.
The Washington Post and New York Times and CBS did not much note one of the greatest things that happened on November 8th: Our cause won a tremendous victory by election 5 new pro-life Senators and 44 new pro-life members of the House of Representatives. What does that mean? It means that the Republican Party was pro-life, is pro-life and shall be pro-life in 1996.
The Clinton administration is now acting like a routed, retreating army. And what does a retreating army do? They are stealing souvenirs. They are looting.
During the Normandy celebration, after the aircraft carrier Eisenhower brought some White House aides across from England to France, the admiral had to report that $506 worth of monogrammed bathrobes and towels had been stolen. George Stephanopoulos was overheard to say, “These towels are so thick I can barely get my suitcase shut.”
What else is Bill Clinton’s retreating army doing? It is leaving behind its wounded. They have thrown momma from the train. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders is on her way back to Arkansas.
But, seriously, folks, let me speak now about the great and good cause that brought you to march today and that we have been involved in now for most of our lives.
Two years ago, when I was going back to Crossfire after the presidential campaign, I was scheduled to tape ads one day, from 11:00 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. But I arrived at CNN at 10:30 and they said, “Why don’t we tape right away.” By 11:15 they said, “Pat, you’re done for the day.” So, I said to an aide of mine, Terry Jeffrey, “This is the day of the March for Life. Why don’t we go over and join it?”
So, we went over there and, I must say, there as a touch of despair and a touch of gloom in that crowd of 70,000 people. Because that very day, January 23, 1993, our new president had issued five executive orders that in the battle between the abortionists and the innocent unborn, put our government and our country on the side of the abortion industry.
There was gloom out there in those days, but there is not gloom here now.
As I told them then, this movement was going to rise again. And rise again it has. Now, we are going to keep rising and we are going to come back and we are going to carry our cause all the way through the months and years and all the way through to victory.
I do see desperation and despair today. But it is in the voices and the faces of the people at Planned Parenthood. A manifestation of that desperation is the alacrity with which they seized upon that atrocity three weeks ago down in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Let me talk directly to that issue: What was done to those two women at that Brookline clinic was a despicable, contemptible and cowardly act. The individual responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. That should be done, period.
However, those who are atempting to lay these crimes of murder at the feet of those of us who are pro-life are telling what is a lie and what they know to be a lie. We are about saving lives, not destroying lives. Because we are consistent in our belief in life and our belief in peaceful protest, we not only condemn violence when it goes on outside those clinics, we condemn the violence that is taking place inside those clinics every single day.
Let me associate myself with a comment made by Cardinal John O’Connor of New York. He said, “We will declare a moratorium on our prayerful and peaceful protests outside those clinics when they declare a moratorium on what is going on inside those clinics.”
What is going on in those clinics? As Senator Bob Smith has said, Mother Teresa spoke in February down in Washington at a National Prayer Breakfast attended by the President and the First Lady. She told us what is going on in there. “What is taking place in America,” she said, “is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
“Any country that accepts abortion,” said Mother Teresa, “is not teaching its people to live, but to use any violence to get what it wants.”
I believe our society has become a violent place. Many of you grew up, as I did, in the ’40s and ’50s. Many of you may not remember those days. But America was a peaceful country then. We didn’t have the kind of violence that we have today.
I believe the correlation between the violence in our society and what has happened to 30 million unborn children is absolute.
They tell us that we should remain silent. But I say in the words of the immortal Dante, “There is a special place in Hell for those who remain silent.” And we shall not remain silent.
I have been as partisan a Republican as anyone. But let me speak now to the other party, the Democratic Party. I speak to the Democratic Party because in the past it has been a great champion of little people, a great champion of the outcast, a great champion of human rights. We cannot write off that party, because that party contains in its ranks today the greatest pro-life statesman in America. I refer to Governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
Let me tell you of another Democrat, a man I knew when I was very young and working for Richard Nixon. We ran against him. He was a good man who had a good heart. His name was Hubert Horatio Humphrey. And he said, “Divine Providence will judge a country by three thing. How it treats those in the dawn of life; how it treats those in the shadows of life; and how it treats those in the twilight of life.” It was a wonderful statement.
We have to look at ourselves today. What are we doing in the dawn of life? Thirty million abortions in 22 years. In the shadows of life? We are offering euthanasia to people who are retarded or to people who we say have a quality of life that isn’t up to standard. In the twilight of life? Out in the state of Oregon they are now offering legal assisted suicide. But the face of Dr. Kevorkian is not the face of the real America.
But that is what has happened in our country and that is why we must bring back not only our own party, but the Democratic Party was well.
De Tocqueville, one of the greatest observers who ever visited this country, looked at the young Republic and said, “America is a great country. But she is a great country because she is a good country. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
When we look out at what is going on in America today, we have to say, with Jefferson, that, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” So let me talk now about what we can do.
We are here to march, to speak out, to protest. But we are also here to act in legal and peaceful ways to change attitudes, to change laws, to change government. We are here to make America again a pro-life country. So let me talk about a pro-life agenda.
Our first objective: We must keep the Republican Party a pro-life party. We were pro-life in 1980 and 1984, under the great Ronald Reagan. We were pro-life in 1988 and 1992. We must and shall be pro-life in 1996. I know there are people who say the life plank must be pulled from the Republican platform. But when people ask me, “Pat, will the Republican Party remain a pro-life party?” I say to them what Joe Willie Namath said when asked if the New York Jets would win Super Bowl III: “I guarantee it.”
In 1997, with a pro-life president in the Oval Office, we can overturn Bill Clinton’s executive orders. But right now we must use our Republican majority in Congress. When Newt’s contract is done, we’re going to ask our Republican Party for a new contract with America’s unborn.
Congress should begin the immediate defunding of the abortion industry. Not one dime for Planned Parenthood. Not one dime for UNFPA. Not one thin dime for fetal-tissue research.
This isn’t Weimar Germany. It’s America. What are they doing out at NIH conducting fetal-tissue research and research on human embryos? We will put a stop to that.
Then, we want congressional hearings on when life begins. In the 23 years since Roe v. Wade, technology has developed enormously. We have imaging machines and sonograms that can show developing life. We have biologists, ethicists and doctors who can explain that life begins at conception and that the unborn child is viable earlier and earlier. All this must be explained to the American people. To reach hearts, we must first teach. Some hearts that are closed and cold will open. We will reach them. It has worked before.
When I was in Ronald Reagan’s White House, the president gave us permission to show the film “Silent Scream” in room 450. By that film alone someone estimated that 6 percent of Americans converted from the pro-choice to pro-life position. Technology has grown and developed. We must use it to teach and educate.
How effective are these techniques? Let me quote one of our adversaries. Her is Mr. Harrison Hickman, pollster and adviser to NARAL, “Probably nothing has been as damaging to our cause (abortion) than the advancements of technologies that have allowed pictures of the developing fetus in much different terms than they did 15 years ago,” Mr. Hickman said. “People talk about the fetus now as human being, which is not something I have an easy answer to cure.”
I bet you don’t, Mr. Hickman.
When they are done with these hearings, we want Congress, by a simple vote of 50 percent in both houses, to confer “personhood” on the unborn of the United States of America so their rights will be protected.
Then one final thing: In the 19th Century, we Americans had a proud boast. If foreigners visiting here would ask, “What do you have going for you?” Americans would say, “Here, sir, the people rule.” But one of our problems these last 20 or 30 years has been the usurpation of power by those black-robed politicians called federal judges and justices.
I think it is time we put these arrogant, all powerful judges and justices back into the tiny corner set aside for them by the Founding Fathers.
Go back and read the Constitution. The Constitution sets up the Supreme Court as a separate branch of government. But the Constitution also says Congress shall set up all inferior courts – and they sure are inferior. That means Congress can, with simple legislation, impose 8-year term limits on every single federal judge in the United States. And they ought to do it.
Congress can authorize the American people to do what they already do in California when they don’t like judges. They put their names on the ballot and they fire them. We should be able to do that with federal judges and Supreme Court justices.
In 1913, when Teddy Roosevelt got tired of federal judges and justices usurping power and giving orders to a free, democratic republic, he came up with an idea that we should revive today. Every time they hand down one of these ridiculous rulings, which change the basic law in America, we should put that ruling on the ballot in a national presidential election and let the people vote it up or down.
In questions of power, Mr. Jefferson said, “Let us hear no more of trust in men, but rather bind them down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” And these judges have been up to a lot of mischief.
But we are making headway, folks. We are making gains and that is why we have to retain our confidence and retain our hope. We’re going to turn this country around.
Early one recent morning, I saw this report on TV. They interviewed a couple who had just had a little baby who was still in a hospital in an incubator. The mother had been about six months pregnant, when all of a sudden she went into labor while flying across the country.
Nobody knew what to do. But a couple of people volunteered to midwive. They moved the woman between the seats. Everyone got out of the way. And when the baby came it wasn’t breathing. But, then, somebody got out one of those little cocktail straws. They tapped it down the baby’s throat and, finally, the cries and screams came and the baby had survived. When that baby started crying, everybody on the airplane started cheering.
It was one of the most wonderful stories I have ever heard. And I have to think that when people hear a story like that it makes them stop and say to themselves, “Wait a minute. What is going on? Here we have a magnificent little child, maybe 5 or 6 months developed, saved by a little miracle and can’t you still get an abortion at that stage in this country?”
We have to reach through and open hearts with stories like this. I was talking to my old friend, Joe McQuaid, yesterday. He said, “Pat, people have got to realize that there are two victims in that abortion clinic. The unborn child and the woman.” And he’s right. We’ve got to start hearing their stories too and we can do it with congressional hearings.
Let’s hear the women who were treated coldly and cruelly in these clinics. Let’s hear the abortion victims who have suffered the depths of depression afterwards, who have had suicidal tendencies, who have taken to alcohol. Let us hear from the women who have been abandoned by their boyfriends, their husbands, left alone, pressured into abortions, and who have come out victims as well. We must hear their stories.
We must look at the illnesses, the infections, the possibility of breast cancer that can result from abortion. We have to hear about the botched abortions. We have to hold to account the men who perform these abortions. Let’s get on record the testimony of the women who have been victimized by abortion. Again, how did Mother Teresa say it? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love.
You know, I’ve been on radio 3 hours a day and Crossfire at night. I have probably argued and debated the Right to Life issue with more advocates of abortion than almost any other American. And I’ll tell you, you don’t reach their hearts by getting into their faces. But you can reach them, I think, a lot of them, if you can penetrate that coldness with a little warmth.
When I got into the conservative movement under Barry Goldwater, we lost about everything we could possible lose in 1964. But I got into the movement because it looked to me – seeing Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam – that my country was in danger of losing the Cold War. By 1979, we had hostages in Iran and the Soviets rolling into Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Angola, Grenada, and even Nicaragua, right here in the Western Hemisphere.
I said to myself, my whole life has been spent fighting the Cold War and I think my country’s going to lose it.
Then we elected Ronald Reagan. And we started doing one right thing after another after another. So, one day I got out Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago. In that story, he describes how at the end of World War I, the Russian army just got up one day and walked away from Europe and the Balkan republics. And it happened again in 1989 when the whole evil empire of the Soviet Union peacefully collapsed before our eyes.
I truly believe that one day that is what is going to happen to the abortion industry. Because it is hollow at the core. Because it is built upon a lie. And one day, it will all collapse and whither away.
My friends, let me say to you today, on the 22nd anniversary of that dreaded Blackmun decision: Time is on our side, truth is on our side, and truth crushed to the ground, shall rise again.
God bless you all.