By Tim Echols, Chairman, Georgia Public Service Commission
As I walked through the Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Jerusalem, I hadn’t intended to think about legalized abortion in the U.S. It just happened. During the Nazi Holocaust, even those who knew what was happening were unable to halt the slaughter of the Jews. Likewise, pro-lifers in America have been unable to put an end to the slaughter of innocents—and the numbers continue to rise.
Nearly 30 years ago, in the spring of 1983, President Ronald Reagan wrote an essay entitled “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation.” Reagan decried the Supreme Court’s decisions in the cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton (a Georgia case), equating the Court’s action to one of the greatest legal wrongs in our country, the Dred Scott decision, which said that people brought into the country to be slaves (and their descendants) could never become citizens and were not protected by the U.S. Constitution.
In his reference to the Dred Scott decision, Reagan reminded readers that “at first, only a minority of Americans recognized and deplored the moral crisis brought about by denying the full humanity of our black brothers and sisters.” Reagan continued by stating that this minority who understood that a great wrong had been done persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. How? They continually appealed to the hearts and minds of their countrymen, he said, pointing to our common human dignity under God.
Pro-lifers, of course, have been making this same kind of appeal for decades. And yet abortion-on-demand continues to enjoy broad support in the U.S., even despite ultrasound technology that now allows us to peer into the womb.
Why has the pro-life movement been unable to fully win over the hearts and minds of the American people? Perhaps it is because some people are unmoved by moral arguments. To a country that seems to revolve around money and prosperity, perhaps we need to make an economic argument. People need to have the dots connected for them to understand how abortion has negatively impacted personal finances and the country’s economy.
Let’s start with what I tell restaurant cashiers as I check out with my large family: “Big families are good for the economy,” I say with a smile. “Don’t you wish every customer spent this much money here?” Simply put, large families consume more stuff. I have to rent three condos at the beach for a family vacation, I buy more groceries than most folks, and God knows I spend more on car insurance. And don’t forget about university and technical college tuition.
But these wonderful human beings that Windy and I are raising won’t just consume. They will contribute. They will work, adding to economic growth. They will pay taxes. They will add to the economic pie, and that helps everyone. Certainly everyone who sells things to earn a living should at least show some remorse about abortion on April 15th when they calculate their income and realize that terminating future customers is a bad idea.
Have you ever considered that since 1973, we have aborted nearly 50 million potential payers into the Social Security system. It is not a stretch to suggest that my generation may not have social security largely because of the Court’s decision to legalize abortion. (Having seven children may come in handy in my old age when I need someone to take care of me.)
So, as we approach the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the cases that gave this nation abortion on demand, let’s reflect. If you are unmoved by moral arguments, at least consider the financial price we have paid as a nation. Even if we can’t agree about on the moral question, can’t we agree that abortion has not been good for America economically?
Still, for me, the moral issue remains paramount. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “nothing stamped with the divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on.” And certainly, we have done that. Rest in Peace my aborted friends.
Tim Echols is a statewide elected official on the Georgia Public Service Commission. He and his wife Windy have seven children and live in Athens.