The Department of Health and Human Services is set to make a very public stand for unborn Americans.

In a break from previous administrations, including when George W. Bush was in office, the HHS has indicated that life begins at conception in their new strategic plan, which will cover fiscal years 2018-2022.

As the American Center for Law and Justice explains, stating this in official public policy is huge for the pro-life cause, emphasis mine.

Starting in 2010, HHS has been required to release a strategic plan every four years. This time their plan, for the first time ever, has explicitly recognized that life begins at conception. This is a major victory for the rights and dignity of the unborn.

The HHS plan goes well beyond lip service. It incorporates this scientific principle as an integral and holistic part of its healthcare mission here at home and around the globe. Specifically, the fact that life begins at conception is included in four key components of the plan.

HHS includes protecting life “beginning at conception” as a core part of its overall mission:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.

HHS recognizes that respecting the “inherent dignity” of the unborn is a vital part of “global health security”:

Enhance international preparedness through medical countermeasures and community mitigation measures, respecting the inherent dignity of persons from conception to natural death.

HHS dedicates itself to protecting the right to life for all, especially those most at risk of social or economic challenges:

A core component of the HHS mission is our dedication to serve all Americans from conception to natural death, but especially those individuals and populations facing or at high risk for economic and social well-begin challenges, through effective human services.

HHS restores pro-life ethics to medical and scientific research:

The research pursued under this strategic goal is to be conducted consistent with the understanding that human subjects protection applies to all human beings from conception to natural death.

As we are well aware, the abortion industry in the United States happily dismisses scientific truth in favor of embracing a religion of choice. Unborn lives are sacrificed daily to that almighty god that makes ending such lives not only permissible but celebrated in today’s culture.

The plan unequivocally states that the department seeks to protect life, and that life encompasses “conception to natural death.”

Though such a truth should be a matter of routine, it is groundbreaking in 2017.

The plan was under a review period until October 27. Until that time, both the general public, as well as elected officials and other organizations were allowed to comment on its contents. Unsurprisingly, there was a fair amount of backlash from those who believe that the plan undermines women as a whole, especially their reproductive health rights. How dare such statements be made about conception!

Democratic Senators were less than pleased.

From their letter:

…in repeatedly stating that life begins at conception, the draft Plan imposes certain ideological views on all individuals, fails to account for a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health decisions, and runs counter to well-established constitutional case law. The concept of life beginning at conception has not been mentioned in previous strategic plans, dating back to at least 2000.

So, too, the ACLU (which recently “celebrated” illegal immigrant Jane Doe’s abortion) has some concerns with the horrid mentions of conception within the plan. Here is part of their letter.

We are also very concerned that HHS has added multiple references to “the unborn” and life beginning “from conception” to its plan. This language, which runs contrary to medical evidence, standards of care, and well established constitutional case law, is clearly intended to undermine the ability of women and others to make the best reproductive health decisions for themselves and their families. This language has no role in advancing and protecting the public health of a diverse population.

Well, oh my goodness! How dare the HHS refer to the unborn as having dignity, rights, and personhood. These Democratic Senators and the ACLU are seemingly unaware that legality does not equal morality. That is more than evident in the established decision known as Roe v. Wade. It has been more than 44 years since abortion was legalized, yet abortion remains morally incorrect because it is murder. 

How this will impact future policy decisions or even conversations about the unborn is not yet fully realized. Several key pro-life leaders are encouraged by the advancement, as the National Catholic Register reports.

“This could have far-reaching consequences,” said Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. Mancini, who previously worked for the office of the secretary in HHS, told the Register that the agency’s strategic plan has a “pretty robust impact” in terms of policy direction.

Clarke Forsythe, the senior counsel for Americans United for Life, told the Register that the strategic plan’s language that life begins at conception is a “great development” that is scientifically and medically accurate. He added that 38 states have fetal-homicide laws. At least 23 of them have fetal-homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy.

“I don’t know if it would have any obvious legal impact,” Forsythe said. “But I think it’s a significant organizational statement and a significant political statement.”

The HHS Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022 is close to being finalized. Pro-life Americans should be encouraged that the department is recognizing all who exist whether that life is newly established in the womb or advanced in age and resting in a nursing home.

Each life has worth, and it is inherent.