Kathryn Lopez

Mark Ruffalo is a mainstay of the contemporary "rom-com" genre of movies. He's also one of NARAL Pro-Choice America's favorite actors, due to his his abortion activism.

What he may not realize is that he did more for advancing the cause of a culture of life in one of his roles than just about any statement from an actor ever will.

In the 2005 movie "Just Like Heaven," Ruffalo played a role that tackled the challenges of life, death and modern health care as his character fell in love with a woman in a coma. The storyline was fanciful, but it presented audiences with an underlying -- if much debated -- understanding: that living bodies, no matter how damaged, deserve consideration and demand respect, as all life does.

What Ruffalo may not realize is that in his most compelling sentiments -- his compassion for his mother and women in general -- he shares common ground with his pro-life adversaries.

Writing in defense of an illegal abortion his mother had before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision more than 40 years ago, Ruffalo wrote this past summer: "When I heard the story, I was aghast by the lowliness of a society that would make a woman do that. I could not understand its lack of humanity; today is no different."

Imagine the shame and pain and desperation that would lead a woman to such a place. Maybe you don't have to imagine. How about making sure no woman ever has to go there -- illegally or legally? Save for the most strident activists, most Americans don't believe abortion to be a good thing. How about focusing on alternatives instead of being stuck on politicians' hapless, insensitive or merely controversial statements?

A lot of Americans still don't even realize abortion in all three trimesters was made legal four decades ago. There's a reason legal abortion is masked in words like choice and health: We're not actually a brutal people -- well, at least not consciously. That's why, for the abortion industry to survive, it needs to make sure the horrifying details are glossed over. The problem, of course, is that if we believe in conscience, we're going to have something to answer to history (and our maker) for.

Kathryn Lopez

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