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Somewhere beyond the vast and gentle sands, sails bob on the horizon and fleecy clouds pause at a distance, letting the sun splash on the play of happy children who weren’t aborted. Jack Higgins drew this idyllic shore Sunday in the Sun-Times. Only one adult is in sight in his cartoon — Henry Hyde, sitting blissfully in the lifeguard’s chair, a moppet in his lap. If such a moppet ever sat in yours you’ll take Higgins’s point.

The tribute to Hyde on Tom Roeser’s blog says the late author of the 1976 Hyde Amendment “passed legislation that not only defended rights but saved millions of lives.” Can this be true? — Hyde’s amendment simply forbade the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.  But The American Prospect told us in May that “studies conclude that between 18 and 35 percent of women on Medicaid who would have had abortions if government funding were available — at least 64,000 women a year, according to a conservative estimate–instead carried their pregnancies to term.” That’s some two million children in all, all frolicking on the beach, their impoverished mothers nowhere in sight but hardly missed thanks to the vigilant Henry Hyde.    

Roeser says Hyde had his own vision of the thanks he’d get, and it was less romantic than Higgins’s only inasmuch as he did not expect it from the living. According to Roeser, “Henry told me one day . . .  that the great incentive to be pro-life is this: that no matter how we may have messed up earlier in life, if we defend the unborn children, his great expectation is that when the most unworthy of us arrives Up There, they will hear a chorus of angelic voices. They will be the voices that were stilled by abortion but who will greet us.” For Hyde himself, Roeser predicts more–“an orchestral symphony the size of the Mormon Tabernacle choir.”

All those poor pregnant women asked for was a choice, but little did they dream what it is: for their children either paradise on earth at Camp Hyde or a seat in a celestial choir. Their burden has lifted.