(2 of 11)
The pro-life movement, which has as many as 10 million followers, is a loosely knit coalition of religious and New Right groups, plus individuals who feel a deep moral commitment to protecting unborn human life. Legalized abortion, they believe, not only contributes to a breakdown of traditional family values, but is tantamount to genocide. Their ultimate goal is a "Human Life Amendment" to the Constitution that would reverse Roe vs. Wade. The amendment would simply guarantee the right to life to the unborn from the moment of fertilization. A shorter-term strategyso far largely successfulhas been to halt federal funding for abortion through Medicaid. Meanwhile, across the country, in virtually every session of every state legislature, pro-lifers are fighting to halt the local funding of abortions for poor women.
The arena of the next major abortion battle will be Congress. On April 23 and 24, Senate Judiciary subcommittees headed by John East of North Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah, both strong abortion foes, will hold hearings on a subtle legal maneuver to get around Roe vs. Wade. The hearings involve a bill known as the Human Life Statute, co-sponsored by Jesse Helms and Representative Henry Hyde. Helms, 59, is an owl-eyed New Right hero from North Carolina who is in his eighth year in the Senate. Hyde, a burly (6 ft. 3 in., 265 Ibs.) three-term Congressman from Illinois, is probably the most ardent and forceful pro-lifer in the House. Their bill is designed to take advantage of a section of the 1973 decision in which the Supreme Court, with becoming modesty, said it was unable "to resolve the difficult question of when life begins." Wrote Justice Blackmun: "When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer." The court's