President George W. Bush has declared Sunday, January 18th, National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

It was one of his last acts as president, two days after declaring Friday National Religious Freedom Day.

His proclamation recognizes…

All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection.

This calls to mind the declaration this president has made over the
past eight years that the first duty of a president is to protect
American citizens. And the fact that the office of the presidency is
about to be turned over to a man…..though of seemingly great
goodwill…..who declared to the nation that it was beyond his level or
ability to determine when a human being conceived in America is
considered to be worthy of rights.

Bush at least has clarity on this: 

On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country
recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born,
has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our
dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the
weak and voiceless among us.

We can hope that when Barack Obama told Pastor Rick Warren in the
Saddleback Civil Forum that Christians have a duty to serve “the least
of these”, it meant he sincerely wants to be open to recognizing who
they are.

President Bush’s proclamation continues…

The most basic duty of government is to protect the life
of the innocent. My Administration has been committed to building a
culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental
notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas,
encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs. In
2002, I was honored to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection
Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion
attempt. I signed legislation in 2003 to ban the cruel practice of
partial-birth abortion, and that law represents our commitment to
building a culture of life in America. Also, I was proud to sign the
Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, which allows authorities to
charge a person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb with
a separate offense in addition to any charges relating to the mother.

America is a caring Nation, and our values should guide us as we
harness the gifts of science. In our zeal for new treatments and cures,
we must never abandon our fundamental morals. We can achieve the great
breakthroughs we all seek with reverence for the gift of life.

The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women.
On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in
which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also
encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble
cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest
principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will
prevail.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as
National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to
recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our
commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every
human being.

May that commitment last well beyond the next few days.

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....