It has become a staple of baseball lore, and I was reminded of it while watching Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby on television during the All-Star Game festivities.
In 1932, the great New York Yankees slugger, Babe Ruth, is said to have “called his shot.” Some accounts say Ruth stepped up to the plate, pointed to the outfield wall at Wrigley Field, and, moments later, proceeded to hit a towering home run into the stands just above where he had pointed. The Yankees went on to win that game and the World Series.
Today, it is our team, the pro-life movement, which finds itself at bat. The election of President Donald Trump, the coming remake of the post-Kennedy Supreme Court with an expected solid 5-4 conservative majority, the presence of pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, all mean that we are better positioned than we have been in years to step to the plate and hit a home run by passing legislation to prevent unborn babies from being killed that can be signed into law and upheld.
At this crucial moment in the abortion debate, will the pro-life movement strike out? Will we settle for a sacrifice bunt that might incrementally advance the base runners but won’t guarantee anyone scores the game-winning run? Or will we, like the Sultan of Swat, call our shot and swing for the fences, knowing that success puts the winning runs on the scoreboard?
That’s the important question. I believe we in the pro-life community should follow Ruth’s example and swing away. After all, it was the Bambino who said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Truer words were never spoken. The Babe struck out 1,330 times. But, ultimately, it was his ability to hit home runs that mattered most to the success of his teams.
In the spirit of Babe Ruth, I’m pleased to announce that I’m not the only one who believes that the time has come for the pro-life team to “call our shot.” In the House of Representatives, 174 members of Congress have co-sponsored legislation I introduced, H.R. 490, the Heartbeat Protection Act, which makes it illegal for any abortionist to perform an abortion on a baby with a detectable heartbeat. Under this legislation, if a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.
Further, as I write this, there are 162 pro-life organizations and leaders (uniquely, of the major life groups, only the hidebound National Right to Life is withholding support) that back the Heartbeat Bill and have chosen to “call our shot” at this time with this legislation; 31 groups joined our effort just this week.
I’m reminded that when Ruth went deep, he only had eight other Yankees in the lineup behind him. We have 336 members of Congress, pro-life leaders, and pro-life organizations behind H.R. 490.
The pitch that will end abortion in America is there for the pro-life movement to hit. It’s as obvious as a hanging curveball was to Ruth, a lifetime .342 hitter. It’s as constitutionally solid as the contact Ruth made on each of his then-record 60 home runs in 1927. If there were a Hall of Fame for pro-life legislation, it, like Ruth in Cooperstown, would be enshrined in its first year of eligibility.
It’s H.R. 490, the Heartbeat Protection Act, and we are calling for it now. It is our best shot at ending abortion in America.
Babe Ruth was correct when he said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” That’s why my colleagues and I will keep fighting to bring the Heartbeat Bill to a vote.
Perhaps another lesson is there to be learned in Ruth’s discussion on how to hit home runs. To do so, Ruth said, “I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball. … The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.”
Swing hard. Live big. The Heartbeat Bill does exactly this. When enacted, millions of lives of children of every race, creed, and ethnicity, will be saved with the stroke of the pen. Abortion, as we have known it for too long in America, will have ended.
For unborn babies facing the prospect of being aborted, it’s the bottom of the ninth. With everything riding on the outcome, I can’t think of anyone I’d want at bat more than Babe Ruth.
Steve King represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002.