Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Louis Jennings was a pioneer in American journalism. The editor of the New York Times during the last decades of the nineteenth century, he helped to build the reputation that paper--ultimately making it the premier daily in the entire nation. He was also a committed Christian and a stalwart in the struggle for life.

On this day in 1870, Jennings began a crusade against abortion on the editorial pages of his paper that ultimately lead to the criminalization of the procedure in every state in the Union. He understood the power of the printed page and utilized it expertly. He knew only too well that it would be necessary to provoke a public outrage over the issue, not simply a stiffening of legislation that might go unenforced.

It was his leadership, and the national visibility of the Times that ultimately swayed both the legal and the medical establishments to publicly denounce abortion as murder--ultimately outlawing it in every state and territory in the land.

Of course, that was all long, long ago.