“A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does. That has consequences we will explore. Among those consequences, however, is impatience with anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality, and law do that … .” Bork, Robert H., Slouching Towards Gomorrah, HarperCollins, 1996, pp 8-9
As Judge Bork observed, over 20 years ago, we have a culture the puts a high value on convenience. Life is not always convenient. My wife and I volunteer at the Utah State Developmental Center (USDC). Each week we have the opportunity to work with youth and adults who come their to serve those who are less physically and mentally able. Is this convenient? No. The community at large spends about 19,000 hours a year in service at the USDC. Is that convenient? No. However, as I watch the youth (and adults) who come and serve I can see eyes being opened and hearts changed. Youth and adults are more accepting of those that are different and less likely to bully others as a result of spending time with residents of the USDC. They have a renewed appreciation for their blessings and are motivated by the resident’s efforts to progress and the kindness they show each other. I cannot find a way to put a true value on that service or the influence for good that the residents have on all of us.
My wife Suzanne’s birth mother chose life even though it was inconvenient. Suzanne was placed in a home with great parents and now has four wonderful grown children, ten delightful grandchildren, and a husband that has been greatly blessed by her life. Her biological mother went on to marry and have two children that believe their mother was the best mother in the world. There was a short term cost, but a long term benefit to many people as a result of one decision in favor of life.
I believe we need to reaffirm our values on occasion to help us remember them. The resolution below is a statement that affirms the value we place on life. A resident provided the initial version. I revised it, with input from our city attorney and my wife, then shared it with the city council. I also shared it with Utah County who made some improvements which we adopted and then I put it on the city council agenda. It was passed unanimously after public input. All who spoke at the meeting, both residents and council, were supportive of the content. All public input came from Highland residents.
A RESOLUTION DECLARING HIGHLAND CITY’S
SUPPORT FOR PROTECTING ALL HUMAN LIFE
WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of the United States of America, states, “We hold these truths to be self -evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”; and
WHEREAS, human life begins at the moment of conception and continues, uninterrupted, until the moment of natural death; and
WHEREAS, each and every human life is unique, precious, and worthy of fundamental protections; and
WHEREAS, it is within the purview of the Highland City government to address the health, safety, and well-being of all human life within the City; and
WHEREAS, the protection of human life is important to the people of Highland City.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of Highland, Utah, that:
1. We declare that all human life, regardless of age or circumstance, must be protected by the laws of society.
2. We support legislation on the state and national levels that protects human life from its earliest stages, and we oppose lessening existing restrictions on abortion and euthanasia.
3. We honor the rights of healthcare providers to object on moral grounds to performing abortions or euthanasia, and we oppose any regulation or law seeking to violate that right.
4. We support the promotion of adoptions as an alternative to abortion, we encourage the State and Federal governments to support adoption at higher levels, and we support the enactment of legislation to ease the adoption process.
5. We support efforts to educate and support parents in choosing life-affirming options for their unborn children.
6. We recognize and support those who have to make the difficult decision as to whether to terminate a pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s health is endangered.
7. Highland City declares itself a safe haven for all of its citizens, including the unborn, the elderly, and the mentally and physically impaired.
PASSED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of Highland City, Utah, this 16th day of July, 2019.
I find it interesting that many of the comments I’ve read online about the resolution are based on assumptions about the resolution rather than the resolution itself. Here are links to a few of the many of the articles which were published (most articles were based on an AP story).
- Highland joins other local Utah governments taking stance against abortion, Deseret News
- Anti-abortion stance adopted by Highland City, joining two other Utah local governments, Salt Lake Tribune.
- Highland Votes to Support Abortion Restrictions, US News & World Report.
- Highland city leaders unanimously pass anti-abortion resolution, KUTV
Other related links:
- Audio from interview on the resolution with Telemundo/NBC on 18-Jul-2019. It is ~8 minutes long. I don’t believe the interview made it to TV.
- Hippocratic Oath – Classical Version, I found this interesting as it was originally written in the 5th century BC and included provisions against providing deadly drugs to anyone, or providing abortive remedies to women as well as prohibitions against sexual abuse of patients.
- Statement on When Human Life Begin, American College of Pediatricians.
- Utah State Development Center video. Touching video about the work done at the center and some of the residents.