Note: This story was last updated at 7:48 a.m. Jan. 13.
Proclamations by the Oak Ridge City Council are normally not controversial, but one that passed on Monday was. It was perceived by some as a controversial political statement that entered the abortion debate.
The proclamation recognizes Sunday, January 17, as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. It says Tennessee residents “aspire to honor the dignity and worth of every person and to defend the sacredness of each human life.” Also, the proclamation says Tennessee residents care for “society’s weakest and most vulnerable, including the infirm, the elderly, and the unborn,” and no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property.
The question of what rights to grant to the unborn or fetuses can be controversial because of the impact they might have on abortion rights. There is also considerable debate about when life begins.
Tim Stallings, executive director of Choices Resource Center in Oak Ridge, requested the City Council proclamation, and he did not think it weighed in on the political debate.
“It’s not just about the unborn,” Stallings said. “It’s about people with infirmities, the elderly.”
He said the day started with former President Ronald Reagan and has been recognized by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Reagan established National Sanctity of Human Life Day on Sunday, January 22, 1984, the 11th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the still-controversial Supreme Court decision that granted women the right to an abortion in 1973.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is on the third Sunday in January, near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. [Read more…]