Maggie Gallagher
The package came to Austin Ruse's office in Washington, D.C., about a month ago, anonymously. Austin runs a small think tank, The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, whose mission, he says, is to be "a U.N. watchdog on social policy." No doubt that is why the document ended up on his desk. The thing sat on his desk for several days before he realized what a time-bomb someone had sent to him: a secret plan to create an international right to abortion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights apparently realized how damaging the memo is, too. I have in my hand a copy of the letter CRR sent to Austin Ruse, in which CRR (a group of "brilliant, focused, sophisticated lawyers who can fight and win," according to the document) "demands" that he "immediately cease and desist from copying, describing, disseminating, quoting, or in any way using or conveying the information contained in those documents." CRR's hotshot lawyers seem to be under the delusion they can rewrite not only international law, but the First Amendment too. Disclosure of their "proprietary information and trade secrets," the bullies acknowledge, will cause "CRR irreparable harm."

One certainly hopes so.

The document is dripping with contempt for democracy and decency. For example, speaking of the recently enacted partial-birth abortion ban (which passed both the House and Senate with strong majorities), CRR ponders: "What good is all our work if the Bush administration can simply take it all away with the stroke of a pen?"

Deceit is a core part of their strategy. They acknowledge there is no international norm that regards abortion as a basic human right. Even in this country, there is no such social consensus, and the document acknowledges that a growing number of young people appear to reject the idea of abortion as a right.

But who cares about truth or what the signers meant? The goal is to quietly get quasi-judicial tribunals, aka human rights commissions, to start to create an international right to abortion that can then be imposed on vulnerable poor countries dependent on international aid.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.