Kathryn Lopez

Boehner was defending religious liberty in the face of its unprecedented erosion, as church institutions and individual Americans were faced with a government health-care mandate forcing them to violate their religious principles. This gender-based abortion issue is similar: It involves a demand that we look away, that we ignore our responsibility to protecting the dignity of some of our fellow citizens. Not so long ago, we were a people that led the way on such things, a beacon for human rights and freedom. But you're not free, under this administration, if you're Notre Dame, or a businessman who happens to be Catholic, whose conscience requires more of a commitment than Mass on Sunday. And even though we talk a good talk about "social justice," we look away as life becomes a casualty of "choice," with taxpayers' money much too close to the awful action.

The White House claimed that the gender-based abortion legislation (which failed, because it was brought up in a procedure that required more than a majority vote) would intrude on medical decisions and criminalize doctors, so President Obama opposed the bill. Similar claims are made whenever anyone tries to restrict or regulate abortions. But when the rush to dismiss such objections stops, what we're faced with is a country that is increasingly comfortable with injustice: Eliminate the inconvenient; fine those who resist demands that violate their conscience.

But Boehner strode onto the House floor and said "no" to the latter. He insisted: "If the president does not reverse ... the attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must." That's not the leader of a party attacking women, but one who seeks to remind us who we used to and still can be. You don't have to agree with him on abortion or much of anything else, frankly, to know something isn't quite right here. That's why a little anger is called for, as principles that have distinguished us are compromised, as what should be actual common ground is chipped away by radical policies and cynical politics.

We may not know her eye color, but that we can protect her right to be born in a country where she'll be free still isn't all that radical a notion.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.