Our nation joyfully celebrates many milestones: Independence Day, the dates when victory came in Europe and Japan during World War II, and numerous others.
But we must also acknowledge some painful milestones in our country's past. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks spring to mind.
And today in particular, we mark another tragic anniversary. It was on this date in 1973 that the U.S. Supreme Court, in stark defiance of the Constitution's limits on federal power, imposed abortion as a nationwide "right."
Millions of babies' lives have been snuffed out since then, destroying vast amounts of human potential and scarring our national conscience.
Nothing in the Constitution authorized the court to seize from the states the authority to regulate abortion, much less to institute that grisly procedure as some kind of right. Ironically, unborn humans today often enjoy less legal protection than even the eggs of some endangered bird species.
Not surprisingly, the court's horrendous Roe v. Wade decision continues to stir controversy in our nation.
Far from simply accepting the high court's ruling without protest, countless individuals and lawmakers, as well as churches and other organizations, vigorously and commendably pursue efforts privately and at all levels of government to restore respect for the sanctity of unborn life.
And they are getting results that show their efforts are worthwhile.
Just a few weeks ago, The Washington Post noted that 83 pro-life laws were enacted in the states in 2011. That was almost four times as many as were enacted in 2010. And the number of states with a strongly pro-life government -- meaning the governor opposes abortion and there is a pro-life majority in the legislature -- rose from 10 in 2010 to 15 in 2011.
While the states have not been able to forbid abortion outright, some have taken measures such as halting abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. A federal appeals court recently upheld Texas' requirement that women receive a sonogram before having an abortion.
And so, although abortion remains a scourge on our country, there has been some encouraging progress in the fight against it -- which in truth is a fight to uphold respect for human worth and dignity.
We lament the enormous loss of lives to abortion over the past 39 years, and we pray for the day when that gruesome tide will turn.