He probably gets a lot of mail. This letter is of particularly keen importance.

Dear Senator Obama:

As an immigrant from Kenya, your father found new hope in America’s
noble principles and vast opportunities. The same promise brought my
parents here from Egypt when I was still too young to thank them. Now
you have inspired my generation with your vision of a country united
around the same ideals of liberty and justice, “filled with hope and
possibility for all Americans.”

But do you mean it?

As a legislator, you have opposed every effort to protect unborn
human life. Shockingly, you even opposed a bill to protect the lives of
babies who, having survived an attempted abortion, are born alive.
Despite your party’s broad support for legal abortion and its public
funding, most Democrats (including Senator Clinton) did not oppose the
Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. You, however, opposed it. Your
vision of America seems to eliminate “hope and possibility” for a whole
class of Americans: the youngest and most vulnerable. You would deny
them the most basic protection of justice, the most elementary equality
of opportunity: the right to be born.

As a prerequisite for any other right, the right to life is the
great civil-rights issue of our time. It is what slavery and
segregation were to generations past. Our response to this issue is the
measure of our fidelity to a defining American principle: “that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.”

You have asked me to vote for you. In turn, may I ask you three
simple questions? They are straightforward questions of fact about
abortion. They are at the heart of the debate. In fairness, I believe
that you owe the people you would lead a good-faith answer to each:

1. The heart whose beating is stilled in every abortion — is it a human heart?

2. The tiny limbs torn by the abortionist’s scalpel — are they human limbs?

3. The blood that flows from the fetus’s veins — is it human blood?

If the stopped heart is a human heart, if the torn limbs are human
limbs, if the spilled blood is human blood, can there be any denying
that what is killed in an abortion is a human being? In your vision for
America, the license to kill that human being is a right. You have
worked to protect that “right” at every turn. But can there be a right
to deny some human beings life or the equal protection of the law?

Superbly reasoned.

Can we become a society that does not sacrifice some people to help others? Or is that hope too audacious?

Especially good questions for the senator who has based a book and a
campaign slogan on those words. Hold him to it. Ask him if his own
driving commitment to hope and civil rights holds up to reasoning and
logic, when his positions are argued through to their logical
conclusions.

Can we provide every member of the human family equal
protection under the law? Your record as a legislator gives a
resounding answer: No, we can’t. That is the answer the Confederacy
gave the Union, the answer segregationists gave young children, the
answer a complacent bus driver once gave a defiant Rosa Parks. But a
different answer brought your father from Kenya so many years ago; a
different answer brought my family from Egypt some years later. Now is
your chance, Senator Obama, to make good on the spontaneous slogan of
your campaign, to adopt the more American and more humane answer to the
question of whether we can secure liberty and justice for all: Yes, we
can.

Let’s join our voices and our letters, and take this conversation to the next level.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....