National Sanctity of Human Life Day
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National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an observance declared by several United States Presidents who opposed abortion typically proclaimed on or near the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade.
President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential proclamation on January 13, 1984, designating Sunday, January 22, 1984 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day, noting that it was the 11th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court issued a ruling that guaranteed women access to abortion. President Reagan was a strong pro-life advocate who said that in Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court "[s]truck down our laws protecting the lives of unborn children".
Reagan issued the proclamation annually thereafter, designating Sanctity of Human Life Day to be the closest Sunday to the original January 22 date. His successor, George H. W. Bush, continued the annual proclamation throughout his presidency. Bush's successor, Bill Clinton, discontinued the practice throughout his eight years in office, but Bush's son and Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, resumed the proclamation and did so every year of his presidency.
Barack Obama never issued a National Sanctity of Human Life proclamation during his presidency. In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump issued a proclamation declaring January 22, 2018 to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
The day is traditionally marked as a holy day by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
According to the Proper Calendar of the Catholic Church in the United States, as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and approved by the Holy See, the 22nd of January (or the 23rd if the 22nd is a Sunday) is observed as the "Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children". The Collect in the traditional language of Divine Worship: The Missal is:
O GOD our Creator, we give thanks to thee, who alone hast the power to impart the breath of life as thou dost form each of us in our mother's womb: grant, we pray; that we, whom thou hast made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day has been heralded by National Right to Life as "a wonderful statement of what the pro-life movement is really all about" while reproductive rights groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood have denounced it, saying it signals a desire to roll back the rights of women.
In an amicus brief filed by the National Lawyers Association in the case of Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, National Sanctity of Human Life Day was cited as an instance of the executive branch acknowledging the theistic philosophy of the United States government.
- Abortion and religion
- Abortion debate
- Abortion in the United States
- Abortion-rights movements
- List of observances in the United States by presidential proclamation
- see: 1989 and 2006 when January 22 fell on a 4th Sunday as in the original 1984 date of the proclamation. Though it is usually the case, National Sanctity of Human Life Day is not simply "the 3rd Sunday in January"
- National Sanctity of Human Life Day. laws.com retrieved from government-programs.laws.com on Nov 28 2012
- Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America
- Divine Worship p. 671
- "Bush Declares..."
- NLA Brief
- "Bush declares National Sanctity of Human Life Day". CNN.com. 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
- Gaustad, Edwin S.; Leigh Schmidt (2004). The Religious History of America. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-063056-6.
- "Supreme Court Briefs: No. 02-1624". FindLaw.com. Retrieved 2007-10-05.