Griffin Internet logo

The National Right to Some Life Committee
by Thomas A. Droleskey
April 17, 2001

Myths die hard. They are created by the repetition of lies, and lies repeated over and over again burn into the consciousness of people until they become established as unquestionable truths. That is how the National Right to Life Committee has established itself as the supposed leader of the pro-life movement. Whatever may have been the intent of those who founded it, the committee — having turned into a gigantic money-making machine — considers itself to be the only legitimate player in pro-life circles in Washington. Over the years very few people have been willing to explode the myth that the NRLC has established — namely, its undeserved reputation as a champion of the cause of the sanctity of innocent human life in the womb.

The committee’s undeserved reputation has fooled members of Congress and their staffs. It has fooled countless millions of supporters, including well-intentioned bishops, priests, and members of the Catholic laity. It has fooled the national media into believing that one can call oneself pro-life while supporting the destruction of innocent life in the womb in cases where it is alleged that a mother’s life is at risk. It has fooled pro-life commentators into believing that there is a secular and religiously indifferentist way to oppose the slaughter of the innocent that makes no reference whatsoever to the teaching deposited by the God-Man in His true Church, which He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It is that last lie that has led the lion’s share of those involved in the pro-life movement to take no position on the evil of contraception, the very thing that fostered the mentality resulting in the acceptance of surgical abortion in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Contraception, which denies the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity of marital relations, is an abject evil in and of itself. It is inexorably linked to abortion, as Pope John Paul II noted in Evangelium Vitae in 1995. The intrinsic evil of contraception has led to the rise in divorce, the abandonment of children by spouses who have committed adultery with the impunity provided by contraceptive pills and devices, the corruption of the young, the promotion of sodomy, and the proliferation of procured abortion as the “solution” in the event of “unplanned” pregnancies (as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992). Over and above their intrinsic evil, most contraceptives actually kill fertilized human beings. They are abortifacients, especially the so-called morning-after pill, on which the National Right to Life Committee takes no clear position.

The NRLC’s dereliction on the morning-after pill misled many so-called pro-life legislators in Virginia to vote for the legalization of that baby-killing agent in March. Here’s how it works. NRLC’s political action committee “scores” the votes of legislators at the national and state levels on what it considers to be “pro-life” litmus tests. Its determination of what qualifies as a litmus test is crucial. For example, the NRLC does not look at votes cast by U.S. senators to confirm or to reject nominees to serve on the federal judiciary: that paves the way for supposedly pro-life senators (most of whom actually support abortion in some instances) to cast votes in favor of open pro-aborts without being penalized on the NRLC scorecard.

So it was with the legislators in Virginia. “Pro-life” lawmakers felt free to vote in favor of the morning-after pill because they knew the NRLC would not penalize them. The absence of explicit opposition by the National Right to Life Committee on a matter encourages poorly catechized career politicians to take positions that are actually anti-life. What do those poor saps know? They take their lead on such matters from the “leading” pro-life organization. The NRLC’s silence clearly signals them that the issue is not one on which supposedly pro-life legislators risk receiving bad marks on the organization’s scorecard.

Thus, a pill quite plainly designed to kill a living human being is considered to be acceptable in the eyes of career politicians, most of whom have quit thinking for themselves and instead rely on the “expertise” of a secular lobbying organization — one that refuses to take positions consonant with the standards of objective justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate.

Each innocent human life is inviolable from the moment of fertilization to the time of natural death. To assert that there are exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life, as the National Right to Life Committee does as a matter of principle, is to make a mockery of the sanctity of innocent human life. It is to say that a little bit of killing of the innocent in the right kind of circumstances is morally justified, thus making opposition to abortion conditional and relativistic. The irony is inescapable: support for abortion on demand is itself an exercise in relativism and so-called situation ethics, reducing the acceptance of innocent human life to a set of circumstances subject to the relative conditions of those involved in a decision to “terminate a pregnancy.” How can we say that we support abortion in some instances while opposing it in others? The taking of an innocent human life is either always right or always wrong. It cannot be sometimes right and sometimes wrong. That would fly in the face of the principle of non-contradiction (two mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true).

I have documented the way in which the NRLC has sold out the cause of the sanctity of innocent human life in the electoral realm time and time again, certifying as “pro-life” candidates (such as former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio) who actually support the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. It is almost as though the NRLC’s leaders have come to believe that the pro-life cause is a losing one, that opponents of contraception and sex instruction and all exceptions to the sanctity of innocent human life are unrealistic extremists who refuse to make the necessary compromises required by prudential judgments in the realm of public policy-making. The NRLC’s betrayals have done terrible violence to the cause of fundamental justice founded in truth and to the political clout of pro-lifers, subordinating the cause of the unborn to the exigencies of career politicians who care only for our votes at election time and do nothing of substance to advance the culture of life once they get elected (if they get elected, that is). And the betrayals have done a great deal to advance the culture of death in our society, to say nothing of altogether removing from the political and public policy radar screens the cause of the restoration of legal protection to all unborn children without any exception whatsoever.

Let me reiterate some things I have been saying for a long time now:

(1) No one who supports a single abortion is pro-life. Such a person is less pro-abortion than others. However, he is not pro-life. The term “pro-life” must be used to refer to those who are unconditionally opposed to the taking of all innocent human life without any exception whatsoever.

(2) No organization that supports the taking of even one innocent human life must be referred to as “pro-life.” “Pro-life” would mean that it was completely and totally dedicated to the vigorous defense of life against all abortions, both surgical and chemical. Instead the organization should be referred to as one that is conditionally and partially in favor of limitations on the right to abortion.

(3) There is no secularist, religiously indifferentist way to oppose contraception and abortion. Truth is not an abstract concept. Truth is a Person. He is Jesus Christ. And He has deposited the totality of His unchanging truths in the magisterium of the Church He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. It will not be until we frankly and unapologetically refer to Him and the teaching He gave His Holy Church that we will have any real chance of reversing the culture of death in this country and the world.

Our Lord did not create a powerful lobbying organization to mute His Holy truths. He created His Church to be the instrumentality by which all men everywhere would have access to His saving truths. Indeed, the Apostles left the Upper Room in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday to proclaim the truths of Truth Incarnate without regard for how they would be received by those they were attempting to evangelize. We can do no less. There is only one antidote to the culture of death: the graces won for fallen men by the shedding of the God-Man’s Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and administered to them by Holy Mother Church. Empowered by such graces, we can never fear a loss of respectability in the eyes of anyone. We must be faithful to the Great Commissioning we took to ourselves in Baptism and reaffirmed when we received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

We deceive ourselves and others if we think we can find some substitute for the example of Apostolic zeal given us by the Apostles themselves. Too much ground has been lost and too many innocent lives have been sacrificed on altars of political expediency and human respect for us to continue to refuse to proclaim the truths of the Crucified and Risen Savior as He has revealed them to His true Church.

The National Right to Life Committee not only refuses to proclaim those truths, it steadfastly opposes many of them, believing in its own political cleverness. It is time to recognize that the NRLC is part of the problem we face in this country, not part of the solution.

This column is distributed by the Griffin Internet Syndicate.
Copyright © Griffin Communications, 2001. All rights reserved.

To subscribe to columns by Thomas Drolesky, write
Griffin Internet Syndicate
or go to the Subscription page.