The O'Malley administration made it a priority to protect the rights of those who have committed heinous crimes, been judged by a jury of their peers and sentenced to the ultimate punishment that can be levied against them. Why is protecting those who have been convicted and judged a higher priority than those who have yet to even be born?

Last week during his final State of the State Address, Gov. Martin O'Malley made an interesting comment. He said: "Along the way, we have come together, time and again, to protect the dignity of every Marylander." Mr. O'Malley applied the comment to any number of accomplishments he has claimed for his administration, including official recognition of a Native American tribe, expanded rights for illegal immigrants, recognition of same sex marriage and elimination of the death penalty.

But his comment ignores one key group of people that he and Maryland's Democrats refuse to protect.

Mr. O'Malley's speech came just one day after the 41st anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision. Twenty-five miles away, thousands of people from across the country descended upon the National Mall on one of the coldest days in years to protest this decision to invent a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy and kill an unborn child. It was treated merely as a footnote by most of the political media, something even the public editor of The New York Times noted was not appropriate.

It is interesting, in a sad way, how little credence Democrats such as Martin O'Malley will give to the rights of the unborn child. Here in Maryland, Democrats made abolition of the death penalty one of the cornerstones of their legislative agenda for several years and finally succeeded in 2013. There are several reasonable arguments for the elimination of the death penalty. Those arguments are not at issue here. The issue is how the O'Malley administration made it a priority to protect the rights of those who have committed heinous crimes, been judged by a jury of their peers and sentenced to the ultimate punishment that can be levied against them. Why is protecting those who have been convicted and judged a higher priority than those who have yet to even be born?

In Texas, State Sen. Wendy Davis was made a national hero for unsuccessfully filibustering against greater regulations on abortions. While such standards don't meet the goal of eliminating abortions, these amendments to Texas law protected the rights of the unborn and ensured that women were not subject to unsanitary and unsafe medical conditions. Far from being extreme, the changes included prohibiting the killing an unborn child after 20 weeks, recognizing the concept of fetal pain, requiring abortion clinics to meet minimum surgical medical standards and requiring medical oversight for the use of abortion-causing drugs.

Ms. Davis' filibuster and vehement opposition, while completely unpopular in her home state, made her such a national hero that facts about her political resume were conveniently discarded. But what about Wendy Davis' opposition to this bill was heroic?

It's time for politicians and medical policy makers to expand their thinking on abortion. Abortion cannot and must not be predicated around the idea that the only life impacted is that of the pregnant mother. I encourage all activists and political leaders to set aside time to read "The Selfhood of the Human Person" by John F. Crosby. Mr. Crosby, a professor of philosophy at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, uses rational arguments to explain the nature of the personal individual — that which makes us who we are. In his work, Mr. Crosby makes it clear that we maintain an individual selfhood and that we are inherently a unique person from the time of conception until the time of natural death. As Mr. Crosby writes, "Each person has an essential something that would be forever lost to the world, leaving a kind of irreparable metaphysical hole, in it, if the person embodying it were to go out of existence altogether."

There was another important line from Governor O'Malley's State of the State Address: "I can see the year that is coming when not a single child in Maryland will die a violent death." Is there any more violent a death than to be aborted in the womb? To justify certain actions, Democrats often say "if it would save just one child." Since abortion was given legal protection after Roe v. Wade, more than 56 million unborn children have been killed in utero; another 336,000 will be killed this year alone.

The tide is turning: a Gallup poll shows that now more Americans consider themselves pro-life than pro-choice. A popular bumper sticker says that "abortion leaves one dead and one wounded." A civilized people should not allow this to happen. We as a nation must be willing to do the right thing and respect the dignity of those born and unborn.

Brian Griffiths is a frequent contributor to Red Maryland, a conservative radio network and blog whose content appears regularly in The Baltimore Sun and on baltimoresun.com. His email is brian@briangriffiths.com.


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