As the natural successor to the classic civil rights movement, the pro-life cause ought to have been a bipartisan cause; it should certainly have been the cause of Catholic progressives. Yet as early as 1967, Richard John Neuhaus, then a Lutheran pastor and a civil rights veteran, warned his fellow-liberals in a Commonweal article that they were betraying the civil rights cause by flirting with “liberalized “ abortion laws. Neuhaus’s article won a prize from the Catholic Press Association; but that was then, and this is now. And as the Democratic Party has become ever more intransigent on the abortion question—with rare exceptions like Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois), a true pro-life hero—the pro-life cause has been abandoned by the old pro-civil rights coalition, even as African-American communities are decimated by the abortion license.
In any case, the pro-life stakes in 2012 could not be greater. Men and women of conscience will form their judgments accordingly.
The president inaugurated in January will mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling during his term.