Former governor supports pro-life stance, says age does not decrease value of life

Former Governor Mike Huckabee and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's Southeast Region Director Fletcher Armstrong came to the Knoxville Convention Center Monday, Valentine's Day, for the 'Celebrate Life' dinner.

The evening began with opportunities for attendees to have their book signed by Huckabee or have a professional photograph taken with the former governor. Later, a worship and Southern-style meal took place, and Christian comedian Mike Williams provided the entertainment.

Armstrong brought a more serious tone to the room when he spoke and played a video about his project, known as Pro Life on Campus, an organization recognizable by the pictures of abortion displayed on the Joe Johnson Pedestrian Mall every year. The video drew comparisons between segregation, child labor, slavery and abortion. It also explained that 52 percent of abortions occur on college campuses.

Pro Life on Campus hopes to reach 50 of the most influential southeastern schools each year. These schools have a combined enrollment of about 700,000. Armstrong said about 10 percent of students change from pro-choice to pro-life because of the project, which translates to about 7,000 mothers giving birth, instead of aborting, per year, strictly because of the Pro Life on Campus program.

The total cost for Pro Life on Campus is $450,000 yearly. This is broken down to about 65 cents per student, or $65 per child born.

The issue of abortion is a controversial one. About 1.3 million abortions take place in the U.S. every year, but this number is shrinking, partly because of Pro Life on Campus. Armstrong said that the pictures may be offensive but it is important to "show people the truth."

After Armstrong, Huckabee took the stage.

"I'm not here tonight because this is a political issue," Huckabee said. "I'm here to recognize a true concern."

He spoke about a conversation he had recently with Judge Andrew Napolitano, who believed abortion should be a states issue. Huckabee disagreed, saying that making abortion a states issue would be like allowing slavery to be a states issue.

"It was wrong to own a slave in

Mississippi and Michigan," Huckabee said. "This is not a states issue."

He said that abortion is not about politics or parties.

"It's not about left and right," Huckabee said. "It's about right and wrong."

Huckabee talked about abortion being the idea that one life is less valuable than another.

"I don't believe a (Down's Syndrome) child is any less valuable than the captain of the football team," Huckabee said.

He said two common criteria exist for deciding whether or not to have an abortion. The first was financial, or the inability to support and provide for a child. The second was social, or the stress it would put on the mother's and father's lives, as well as their families and friends.

Huckabee then spoke on the science of abortion.

"Life — biologically — irrefutably begins at conception," he said.

He said that an unborn fetus isn't the same as a days-old baby, just like "a 3-year-old isn't the same as it will be at 30." He explained that still, at whatever stage, the fetus is still a human life.

Then the conversation changed to numbers. Huckebee said that the Gallup and Pew Polls both showed recently that, for the first time since 1973, the majority of women are pro-life.

"I believe in choice," Huckabee said. "I just think we ought to make the right one."

Huckabee mentioned his own unborn grandchild, and spoke about seeing ten fingers and ten toes, and a figure no larger than a peanut.

"Could any sane person come to any other conclusion that this was a life?" Huckabee asked.