This week’s column contains a couple of tips for people concerned that Americans’ efforts to protect children fall a little short when we deliberately kill hundreds of thousands of them every year.


First, the effort to make Maine the 26th state with a “Choose Life” license plate, which has been scooting along under the media radar for some time now, finally has lifted off the runway.

In order to gain altitude, however, the new plate’s backers need help. They have raised the funds to get registered with the secretary of state’s office, and now they need 2,000 people to fill out a form expressing a desire to have such a plate on their cars.

A $25 check to cover registration fees also is required.

David Alexander of Augusta, president of Choose Life Maine, Inc., the group backing the plates, says his group has to “pre-sell at least 2,000 specialty plates before the Bureau of Motor Vehicles can submit legislation” that would authorize issuing the plates. Should lawmakers approve the legislation, “pre-registrants will receive a voucher from the bureau to pick up their new license plates.”

If not enough plates are requested, or lawmakers decide to turn down the plate (thus also rejecting the revenue it would bring in), Alexander says his group will refund applicants’ $25 checks.

“Our goal,” he says, “is to satisfy the state requirements in 2012. Perhaps one day the Choose Life Maine specialty license plate that you will have on your vehicle will be seen by a woman troubled by her pregnancy and be encouraged to keep her baby.”

Alexander says that once the state gets its share, remaining income from the plates will go to in-state crisis pregnancy centers that help mothers keep their babies.

The forms are available online at or www. MaineRightTo Applications for our family’s two cars are already in the mail.


Another event of note is the national 40 Days for Life campaign, which has a Maine component. The campaign is named for a period of fasting and prayer mentioned many times in the Bible, including the amount of time Jesus spent alone in the wilderness after his baptism.

Using those times of self-denial as its template, the organization (www.40days organizes periods of peaceful prayer and fasting outside facilities that provide or support abortions.

The group has been growing annually since the first vigils outside an abortion clinic in Texas nine years ago, and now has grown to encompass all 50 states and other nations, including vigils in Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Argentina, Armenia, Belize, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Puerto Rico and Spain.

The national group claims the vigils have dissuaded 5,000 mothers from aborting their babies, and that the vigils were at least partly responsible for shutting down 21 abortion clinics nationwide because of the unfavorable publicity those baby-killing centers received.

Whether all that happened because of the vigils, few others among us can claim to have saved 5,000 lives.

Those interested in the Maine effort, which is sponsoring a vigil in Augusta that started Wednesday and will go from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, until April 1, can check out maine.

Finally, it’s important to point out that the right-to-life movement takes its name directly from the Declaration of Independence, in which Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the founders recognized that without life, no other rights have meaning.

But it is not only “anti-abortion,” despite attempts to pin that negative, overly restrictive label on it as if it summed up all its views.

The pro-life movement also opposes changing our laws to make it easier to deny life-saving or life-sustaining treatments to the aged and infirm, who, along with the unborn, are the most vulnerable among us.

The Culture of Death hasn’t given up seeking support for changes in the law that would permit people to receive assistance in taking their own lives and provide legal immunity to those who assist in such efforts.

Mainers turned down a referendum to that effect when it was offered to them in 2000, even though pre-election polls showed voters favored the idea by margins of 2-1 or even 3-1.

That’s one reason why it’s unwise to say “polls show such-and-such” on intensely debated social issues — including the upcoming second-time-around vote on same-sex marriage.

Many things can get enough signatures to get on a ballot, but persuading a majority of voters to back them is something else again.

As I’ve noted, Mainers who want to take effective actions supporting life have a couple of options this spring they didn’t have before.

And if you ever open your front door to find someone standing on your porch with a petition saying that death is a medical treatment, there’s another effective action to take.

Shut the door.


M.D. Harmon is a retired journalist and a freelance writer. He can be contacted at [email protected]