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The Greatest Pro-Life Speech of all Time

In what has been called “the greatest pro-life speech of all time,” the now-deceased Christian leader Richard John Neuhaus shared the turning point on abortion. He was a pastor of what he described as a “very poor, very black, inner-city parish in Brooklyn, New York.” Neuhaus had just read an article by a distinguished professor at Princeton named Ashley Montagu. Montagu listed the following qualifications for “a life worth living”—good health, a stable family, economic security, educational opportunity, the prospect of a satisfying career to realize the fullness of one’s potential.

Neuhaus wrote:

And I remember vividly looking out the next Sunday morning at [my congregation] and seeing all those older faces creased by hardship endured and injustice afflicted, and yet radiating hope undimmed and love unconquered. And I saw the younger faces of children deprived of most, if not all, of those qualifications on Prof. Montagu’s list. And it struck me then, like a bolt of lightning … that Prof. Montagu believed that the people of [our church]—people of faith and kindness and endurance and, by the grace of God, hope unvanquished—that, by (his) criteria, none of these my people had a life worth living. In that moment, I knew that a great evil was afoot. The culture of death is an idea before it is a deed. In that moment, I knew that I had been recruited to the cause of the culture of life.

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