Ronald Reagan had not passed from this life for 48 hours before proponents of human embryonic stem-cell research began to suggest that such ethically questionable scientific work should be promoted under his name. But this cannot honestly be done without ignoring President Reagan's own words and actions.
Ronald Reagan's record reveals that no issue was of greater importance to him than the dignity and sanctity of all human life. ''My administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land,'' he said in 1983. ''And there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.'' One of the things he regretted most at the completion of his presidency in 1989, he told me, was that politics and circumstances had prevented him from making more progress in restoring protection for unborn human life.
Still, he did what he could. To criticize the Roe v. Wade decision on its 10th anniversary in 1983, he published his famous essay ''Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation'' in The Human Life Review. ''We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life -- the unborn -- without diminishing the value of all human life,'' he wrote. He went on to emphasize ''the truth of human dignity under God'' and ''respect for the sacred value of human life.'' Because modern science has revealed the wonder of human development, and modern medicine treats ''the developing human as a patient,'' he declared, ''the real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life?''
In that essay, he expressly encouraged continued support for the ''sanctity of life ethic'' and rejection of the ''quality of life ethic.'' Writing about the value of all human life, he quoted the British writer Malcolm Muggeridge's statement that ''however low it flickers or fiercely burns, it is still a divine flame which no man dare presume to put out, be his motives ever so humane and enlightened.'' And in the Roe v. Wade decision, he insisted, the Supreme Court ''did not explicitly reject the traditional American idea of intrinsic worth and value in all human life; it simply dodged the issue.''
Likewise, in his famous ''Evil Empire'' speech of March 1983 -- which most recall as solely an indictment of the Soviet Union -- Ronald Reagan spoke strongly against the denigration of innocent human life. ''Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year,'' he said. ''Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.''Continue reading the main story
Is Life Sacred? Essay
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Is Life Sacred?
The phrase "Life is Sacred" serves an important part in arguments concerning the moral and legal permissibility of euthanasia (and abortion as well). Since this claim is so pivotal, we should take some care to see what it means. One way to uncover what the claim, "life is sacred" means is to ask: what is the source of life's being sacred? What lives are sacred?
Some might think all living things are sacred; that the mere fact that something is alive makes it sacred.. If you think this, you are a vitalist. Vitalists place no value distinctions on living things; all living things (trees, mold, bees and humans) are equally sacred. Some might think that it only some living things are sacred. Typically, the…show more content…
So it must be then that the claim,
Human life is sacred
is justified. But how? There are two general types of justification for the claim. First, we can give a secular argument to the conclusion, "Human life is sacred".
1. A Non-secular argument to the conclusion, "Human life is sacred"
Some people believe the attribute "is a human being" makes something sacred because anything with the attribute, "is a human being" is also a being with the attribute, "has a soul". Typically, those who believe that the source of sacredness is "having a soul" are religious. The argument for the sacredness of human life from the claim that humans are ensouled is generally a non-secular argument. A soul is a divine thing, divine things are sacred so ensouled things are sacred to. A non-secular argument that appealed to having a soul as an important element in establishing the sacredness of life would go, generally, like this:
* Souls are divine.
* What is divine is sacred.
* Human beings have souls.
· Thus, human life is sacred.
Notice that if souls are what matter to life's being sacred, it doesn't really matter what kind of "house" or "body" the soul inhabits. If it's the mere fact of having a soul, then presumably, if chickens were