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Yesterday at the annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life Robert George delivered a speech now posted on Public Discourse . Here’s a sample:

Of course, from the pro-life vantage point, success on the judicial front is only the prelude to the larger political struggle over abortion. If Roe is reversed, the result will be to return the matter to the domain of ordinary democratic deliberation for resolution by the state legislatures or the Congress. The burden will then be on the pro-life movement to win the struggle for the soul of the nation. We must, with God’s help, persuade our fellow citizens to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence by bringing the unborn fully within the protection of our laws.

On this score, we have a marvelous model in the great anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce. When he began his work against the monstrous evil of chattel slavery, the odds appeared to be long against abolition. He was attacked by partisans of the slave power as a zealot, a religious fanatic, and, most perversely, an enemy of freedom. He was, they said, imposing his religious values on others. If he didn’t like slavery, well, no one was forcing him to own slaves. He should mind his own business and stay out of other people’s affairs. Less vitriolic critics said that he was unrealistic. He was a dreamer. He was making impossible demands. Does any of this sound familiar?

Wilberforce refused to be intimidated. He would allow nothing to deter him from his mission of Christian charity to free the slaves and end the practice of slavery. He was undaunted by the ridicule often heaped upon him.

A more recent hero, Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminded us during her final visit to the United States that prayer is the most powerful weapon in the pro-life arsenal. Wilberforce would certainly agree. We must ask God’s forgiveness for our great national sin of abandoning the unborn to the crime of abortion and implore His guidance and assistance in recalling the nation to its founding ideals of liberty and justice for all. While not all pro-life citizens are in a position to be activists or exercise leadership in the social and political spheres, all are able to participate in the prayer effort, and no one’s prayers are superfluous.



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