‘To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all,” said President Ronald Reagan in his 1984 proclamation declaration on National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Each year, as Sanctity of Human Life Day, Jan. 18, approaches, I find myself reflecting on the meaning and purpose of the day.

As the president and CEO of a global nonprofit adoption, child welfare and family preservation agency with a mission to protect and enhance the lives of children and families, I certainly affirm Reagan’s decision to establish this day in opposition to, and on the anniversary of, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

However, to me, there is so much more to celebrate and sanctify on this day than is related to that court case.

In his proclamation, Reagan urged us to give thanks on this day for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life. This is how we at Bethany demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ.

As a Christian, I see this day as a reminder of our privilege and duty as God’s people to love and defend everyone from the fatherless to the widow to the foreigner living among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19 NIV).

As a human being, I see this day as a reminder that each of us has the privilege and duty to embrace, preserve and protect life. I believe we must always protect and support those in need wherever and whenever we can because each life, born or unborn, reflects the very nature of our Creator.

There are a number of ways, big and small, that you can defend the sanctity of life every day of the year. Open your home to a suffering child who may need interim or long-term foster care. Reach out with love and friendship to those around you who may be struggling or alone.

Pray for the certified pregnancy counselors at organizations across the country, including Bethany, who work alongside mothers with unplanned pregnancies to offer life-affirming options. Also pray for the mothers.

Adopt a child with special needs who may otherwise languish in a foreign orphanage. Serve as a mentor, coach or positive role model in someone’s life.

Speak and listen with kindness and respect to everyone you meet. Financially support organizations dedicated to serving the most vulnerable among us if you can.

Whatever you say, think or do, remember that life is a gift and that all lives deserve to be sanctified on this day, and every day.

Bill Blacquiere is president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services.

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