By Greg Schleppenbach
To those who see abortion for what it is—an abortionist purposefully and brutally killing an innocent, defenseless human life in her or his mother's womb, —advocating for its legality (even as a constitutional "right") is nothing less than extremism.
So, it seems hard to imagine an even greater level of extremism being advanced by the abortion industry and its adherents in elected office, the media, and elsewhere. But the evidence is clear and plentiful.
For starters, the abortion industry has been shifting its euphemistic mantras from "freedom of choice" and "if you don't like abortion, then don't have one" to "abortion is health care." This rhetorical shift is necessary for its pursuit of a more extreme policy agenda to force Americans to embrace abortion as mainstream health care and to pay for it.
This agenda includes forcing health care providers and institutions to provide, participate in, or refer for abortion—and to force all Americans to pay for abortions through their health care plans. Tragically, we can already see this agenda becoming reality. Just in the past few years, California, New York, Oregon, and Washington have begun forcing churches and/or others who oppose abortion to provide coverage for it in their health care plans. A growing number of health care providers are being forced to choose between involvement in abortion via participation or referral, or losing their jobs. Several states and municipalities have passed laws forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to tell women where they can get abortions.
The abortion industry also wants to force taxpayers to fund abortion by repealing the Hyde and Helms amendments and any other laws that prohibit use of taxpayer funding for abortions. Abortion advocates oppose bills that ban late-term abortions or prohibit abortions solely because a child is disabled or is the "wrong" sex. They even oppose bills that would require providing the same degree of care to a child born alive following an abortion as is provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.
All of these pro-life policies enjoy overwhelming public support that transcends an individual's party affiliation, sex, race, and economic status. Yet, in line with its inherent extremism, the abortion industry opposes or wants to eliminate these policies.
Equally extreme is the "Women's Health Protection Act" (S. 510/H.R. 1322), a federal bill with a title as deceptive as its provisions are dangerous. It would invalidate almost every state or federal law that seeks to restrain or regulate abortion by demanding that the law treat abortion like a routine women's health procedure.
Abortion extremism goes beyond policy advocacy. Just one example was in the recent March 9 edition of the Washington Post: an opinion columnist proudly declared that she "would've aborted a fetus with Down syndrome" because, she said, "that was not the child I wanted." It's hard to imagine a more extreme, cold, and grotesque view than that.
I believe that most Americans would be appalled by—and oppose—an industry that embodies such extremism, if only they know about it. It's up to us to make sure that they do.
Greg Schleppenbach is the Associate Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on how you can join in the bishops' pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife.