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Henry Hyde’s 4 Rules For Pro-Lifers

The late Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill) was a friend to the pro-life movement and is sorely missed since his death in 2007. The Jan 11th issue of the National Catholic Register ran a nice editorial about Hyde’s “4 Rules for Pro-Lifers” and I thought it worthy to repeat them here.

1. Don’t compromise on the right to life…Ever. While it may be easier to “go with the flow” and remain silent about the evils of abortion, doing so is a great mistake. One of the reasons that abortion is still legal is due to the apathy and politically correct behavior of many people. I heard former New York governor Mario Cuomo speak on television last night about how he couldn’t impose his personal opposition to abortion on his constituents. That is reminiscent of Pontius Pilate when “he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.’ (Mt 27:24). Henry Hyde didn’t compromise for the sake of popularity and we shouldn’t either. Speaking about Hyde’s constant opposition to abortion, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) reflects, “Henry taught me the lesson that some things are worth losing elections for, and life is one of them.”

2. Respect, and work with your opposition. We can respect or befriend those people that disagree with our pro-life position, even though we don’t agree with them. In this way, we build bridges instead of burning them. As long as we uphold rule number 1 and don’t compromise on the right to life, this is a very wise idea. It also helps us to remember the words of Jesus, when He told us to “love one another” (Jn 13:34).

3. Support other pro-lifers. This rule reminds us that the common goal of protecting life is more important than the different approaches or philosophies of the numerous pro-life groups out there. Pro-life support comes from many different religions or nationalities and we should unite to achieve our common goal.

4. Never give up. This week, the United States will inaugurate Barack Obama, who promises to be the most pro-abortion president in history. In spite of that challenge, we must not give up. The helpless unborn children are counting on us. With God, who is always on the side of life, all things are possible (Lk 1:37) In addition to speaking out for life, we should pray for the conversion of all pro-abortion politicians.

Let’s close with some inspirational words by Henry Hyde. May these words inspire us all to continue the pro-life fight until the day when the rights of all are protected under the law.

“When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God – and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world – and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him because he loved us,’ – and God will look at you and say not, ‘Did you succeed?’ but ‘Did you try?’”

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