The culture war is not yet won, abortion advocates believe, until the conquered natives bow their heads and pledge allegiance.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that states may not impose the same safety standards on an abortion that it imposes on tonsillectomies, because that may place an "undue burden," on abortion. But this court-invented near-total license to kill is not enough for the abortion lobby. They want to force everyone — especially those who disagree on religious grounds — to bloody their hands, too.
The ACLU last year sued a Catholic hospital for refusing to abort babies. "Catholic bishops are not licensed medical professionals and have no place dictating how doctors practice medicine," an ACLU attorney said.
The ACLU's stated target was the Church's "Ethical and Religious Directives," as promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The 43 pages of directives include about one page on abortion. The directives prohibit abortion, but tolerate treatments to "cure … serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman … when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."
In short, ending the baby's life is not a medical goal they permit in Catholic hospitals, but if saving the mother's life endangers the baby, that's a call for the doctor and the mother to make. The ACLU alleged "that women … are at risk of suffering…harm should their pregnancies suffer complications in the future." A judge dismissed the suit, on the ground the plaintiffs had no standing — the ACLU was, in effect, arguing that it hurt them to know that some hospital, somewhere, spares babies' lives as a matter of official policy.
This fight isn't over, though. This was the ACLU's second effort to outlaw the Catholic practice of medicine in court, and other armies on the Left are taking up the fight.
The Center for American Progress, intimately tied to the Obama and Clinton worlds, has been banging the same drum. The group's ThinkProgress blog last week published a 5,000-word feature article, complete with videos and illustrations, on the horror of Catholic hospitals not aborting babies.
The article even invoked the specter of a euthanasia requirement, suggesting that "Medicare and Medicaid funding Catholic hospitals receive could be used as leverage to force Catholic hospitals to provide a full range of reproductive health and end-of-life care." This argument is a useful reminder that every government spending program becomes a tool by which the ruling class can enforce its morality on the public.
Sandra Fluke, the lawyer who became a Democratic Party superstar by arguing that the government should force Georgetown University to cover the full cost of whatever contraception method she desired, was asked after Monday's ruling "Where does the fight for reproductive rights go from here?"
Fluke went on about "making the right to reproductive access a reality in practice, not just on paper." "Right to reproductive access," is a meaningless word salad, but in context, it means "more subsidies for abortion." Fluke called for taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid and through military health-care providers. She also suggested "our next fight," included forcing insurers to cover abortion.
The Obama administration agrees with that goal, it seems. When California required all insurance plans to cover abortion, two Catholic universities in the state tried to find insurance plans that didn't cover abortion. The state ruled that the schools were breaking the law. Obama HHS officials, ignoring the federal law that protects healthcare organizations from being forced to fund, perform, refer, or otherwise participate in abortion, sided with the state of California and refused to intervene.
President Obama's dedication to expanding abortion goes further than that. When Republicans last week passed a $1.1 billion bill to combat the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects, President Obama promised to veto the measure. Senate Democrats successfully filibustered the bill Tuesday. One reason: the bill's $95 million for family planning in Puerto Rico goes through a program in which Planned Parenthood — which performs around one-third of all abortions in the U.S. and heavily funds the Democrats — doesn't participate.
An effort to fight Zika and funding women's health is blasphemous if it doesn't tithe to the abortion industry.
The abortion lobby has long benefitted from its use of the anodyne label "pro-choice." But they aren't pro-choice. If you are a hospital, they want to take away your choice about whether to abort babies or not. If you are an employer, they want to take away your choice whether to cover your employees' abortions. If you are a taxpayer, they want to take away your choice whether to subsidize abortion.
The Left is feeling confident about the culture wars these days. And the "pro-choice" side isn't seeking peace — it's out to cover the streets in blood.
Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.