Completely Pro-Life

  A few days ago, more than a hundred people crowded in a Capitol Hill meeting room to announce the creation of new congressional caucus. Now, there are many bipartisan caucuses in Congress, but this is one that deserves both our attention and our support. The new caucus is the Congressional Autism Caucus. Autism, a developmental disability that has been described as a sort of "mind blindness," afflicts one in every 500 children in America. It's more common than Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, or Cystic Fibrosis. Autism often robs children of their ability to communicate and interact with the outside world. And caring for children with autism can be stressful for their parents. I know this from personal experiences, since my grandson, Max, is autistic. It's a challenge for my daughter Emily, but, I hasten to add, a real blessing from God. The Congressional Autism Caucus cited the "neglect" of autism by "federal health, medical and scientific research programs." And it told the media what parents of autistic children already know, that "there are no diagnostic laboratory tests for autism, and there are no [FDA] approved treatments for its symptoms." That's why Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, along with several colleagues, formed the Caucus. The goal is to raise the profile of this issue and see what can be done for autistic children and their parents. As Smith's letter to the Caucus put it, the idea is to become "a voice for the voiceless." And if you're familiar with Chris Smith's record, then you'll understanding how fitting that formulation is. Representative Smith has made a career of being a "voice for the voiceless." The Washington Post called him "incorruptible, principled [and] concerned for the underdog." Those underdogs include the unborn. Smith's tenacity on behalf of the unborn is legendary. He won't hesitate to bring Capitol Hill to a grinding halt, if that's what it takes. When President Bush recently reversed the Clinton administration's policy on federal money for organizations that promote abortion overseas, it was mostly Smith's doing. Smith's concern for the voiceless also extends to those already born. It includes victims of religious persecution in China and persecuted people in Tibet. And, this concern led him to support an international ban on land mines. If all Smith were bringing to the fight against autism were his energy and determination, I would be happy. But he brings -- or I should say, he embodies -- something else. That's the understanding that fighting against autism comes out of the same moral convictions as protecting the unborn: both the child in the womb and the autistic child (who may not understand what you're saying) are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by God. But they are vulnerable, which is why God calls his people to pay special attention to protecting them. That's why I'm grateful to Congressman Smith for what he's trying to do. You can help too. Get your congressperson or senator to sign up as part of Chris Smith's caucus. It's a great way to help a great bunch of kids and their families and to remind Christians and non-Christians alike what it really means to be "pro-life."


Chuck Colson


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