In May 1967, then-Governor Reagan signed into law the “Therapeutic Abortion Bill,” which
allowed abortions to protect the woman’s “physical or mental health.” He did so saying
he agreed with “the moral principle of self-defense,” i.e., that if 100,000 California women
were “desperate enough” to undergo illegal abortions every year, he could at least make it safer
for some of them. Later, however, he was left with a sense of guilt “and he blamed the increase
in abortions on the doctors, saying that they had deliberately misinterpreted the law. “If there is
a question as to whether there is life or death, the doubt should be resolved in favor of life,” he
later said. Dutch, by Edmund Morris, p.351-352.
When Reagan ran for president, he indicated he would support a constitutional amendment
that would prohibit all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Many
suggested that his stand was partly a product of political calculation, as was his tactic after he
was elected president of addressing the annual pro-life rally held in Washington by telephone. It
was suggested that he did not want to be seen with the leaders of the movement on the evening
When the U.S. Senate considered the Hatch Constitutional Amendment that would have reversed
Roe v Wade, he expended very little energy trying to get the bill passed and some in the pro-life
movement were critical of his standing on the sidelines.
Reagan in his own words:
“I have often said that when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives–the lives of
the mother and the life of the unborn child. Why else do we call a pregnant woman a mother?
“Medical practice confirms at every step the correctness of these moral sensibilities. Modern
medicine treats the unborn child as a patient. Medical pioneers have made great breakthroughs
in treating the unborn–for genetic problems, vitamin deficiencies irregular heart rhythms, and
other medical conditions.”
“The real question today is not when human life begins, but what is the value of human life? The
abortionists who reassemble the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all its parts have been
torn from its mother’s body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being. The real question for
him and for all of us is whether than tiny human life has a God-given right to be protected by the
law–the same right we have.”
Source: Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, p. 15 , Jan 1, 1984
“Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year.
Human life legislation ending this tragedy will someday pass the Congress, and you and I must
never rest until it does.”
Source: Speech in Orlando Florida , Mar 8, 1983