For Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Founders, three of the most pre-eminent rights were as “self-evident” as they were “unalienable”: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
But for the American Civil Liberties Union, pretended heir to Jefferson and self-proclaimed protector of our nation’s civil rights, it is increasingly and tragically apparent that “one out of three ain’t bad” – and even there, they have problems.
For the ACLU, the pursuit of certain select happinesses (and not those of the sort envisioned by the Founders) for a certain select few is worth the sacrifice of virtually any liberty, and worth more than millions of innocent lives.
On matters of life and death, the ACLU has married itself to an agenda that undermines both the rights and defenders of the weak, the vulnerable, the voiceless … the unborn, the aged, the ill – in short, the very types of people the ACLU professes to protect but doesn’t.
ACLU attorneys insist that courts and elected leaders have a right to stop elections and constitutional amendments, circumvent the votes and override the will of the people to create same-sex “marriage,” but not to save innocent lives. They demand free speech for anyone opposing almost any war but legally throttle any voice raised against partial-birth abortion or in disapproval of certain choices of sexual behavior.
Even with a scorecard, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of which civil liberties the ACLU still favors – or even purports to favor – and which ones it deems expendable.
On abortion, for example, the ACLU couches its aggressive activities (including explicit approval of FACE and tacit assent to RICO, which have been used to severely limit the free speech of peaceful pro-life advocates) as a noble struggle for “reproductive freedom.” But it’s hard to classify any freedom as “reproductive” that despises unborn children and endorses their savage destruction up to the moment when all but their skull has emerged from the womb. Indeed, it’s hard to credit as “freedom” a movement so single-minded in its determination to silence, even punish, so many expressions of alternative viewpoints.
A far-reaching victory for the ACLU’s abortion-driven agenda came in 1971 with U.S. v. Vuitch – ironically, a case in which the Supreme Court upheld a law against abortion. Nonetheless, the court ruled that “the mother’s life and health” caveat that had long been attached to anti-abortion laws could be expanded to include an expectant mother’s psychological well-being. So despite the rightness of the ruling itself, the reasoning behind it led to disaster. Eventually, this definition of “health” was used to say essentially that a woman was legally justified in having her child’s life ended if for any reason she felt bothered by the prospect of giving birth to the child.
It was a breathtaking new development. Imagine if murder was legal, so long as the killer could show the victim’s continued life would have had a negative impact on the killer’s psychological life and health.
The decision paved the way for Roe v. Wade and its terrible and bloody aftermath – but that wasn’t enough for the ACLU. Over the last nearly 35 years, in the tradition of Margaret Sanger, they’ve gone on to assert that abortion might actually be healthier for a mom than carrying a baby to full-term and is certainly cheaper than the costs of raising a child.
The ACLU even goes so far as to celebrate the “courage” of abortion providers. Sponsoring a “National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers,” the ACLU wrote in 2002, “We must change the climate overall from one where abortion providers are vilified to one where they are honored and upheld as the heroes they are.”
There are many emotions one can associate with abortion – fear, desperation, loneliness, sadness, regret, anger, depression. But enthusiasm? How does any organization, in good conscience, celebrate those who, for money, will pith the brain of a healthy, full-term child like you would a frog in a high-school lab experiment? At least PETA is there for the frog.
Yet there’s no other way to describe the ACLU attitude toward death. They eagerly endorse euthanasia, as if the tragedy of assisted-suicide were some kind of triumph of the human spirit. They fought gleefully and brutally for the “right” of Terri Schiavo’s husband to starve her to death, as if there were some kind of glory in the mortal torture of that most helpless woman.
How can any organization be so vocally committed to happiness and “freedom” but yet be so deeply opposed to recognizing the infinite value of – and the right to – life itself?
Mercifully, that’s a question that’s begun to plague a growing number of the ACLU’s own members. Indeed, unless the group finds a way to embrace the sanctity of life as enthusiastically as it does the sanctity of “rights,” more and more people are going to wonder if the ACLU’s increasingly predatory agenda is really … viable.