Anti-Choice Columnist Calls Out Fellow Religious Right Activists For Israel Hypocrisy

Religious Right activists often claim that they will never be silent about “Nazi” abortion rights …that is, unless those rights exist in Israel. We noted last week that Israel’s decision to expand public funding for abortion coverage was met with crickets from many American anti-choice groups that also embrace Christian Zionism and accuse President Obama of being unfriendly to Israel.

These organizations, of course, would have erupted with rage if the Obama administration had even contemplated implementing a similar policy.

In a column today, a writer at the conservative Catholic website Aleteia calls out U.S abortion rights opponents for responding to Israel’s new policy “with little comment or condemnation,” wondering if they either “missed the story” or think “abortion in Israel just doesn’t matter.”

Aleteia’s Mark Gordon writes that in order to be consistent, the same anti-choice movement that demands a ban on government funds for abortion coverage and groups like Planned Parenthood in the U.S. should also call for the end of U.S. aid to Israel: “American taxpayers should not be put in the position of underwriting the culture of death. But if that’s true of Obamacare – and it is – then shouldn’t it be true for American foreign aid?”

American pro-life and pro-family groups responded to the December announcement with little comment or condemnation. chose to run an anodyne report on the policy change, but not editorialize. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), whose mission is to “defend life and family at international institutions and to publicize the debate,” had nothing to say. The same was true for National Right to Life, Priests for Life, the American Life League and most others.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life, did note in a statement that “Unborn lives are rich with possibilities and worth saving and government should never be used to harm life and harm women.” The Family Research Council’s Arina Grossu agreed, saying, “No government should invest its money into killing its own citizens.” She also predicted that Israeli government funding would only result in more abortions in that country.” On the other hand, Liberty Counsel, “an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family,” told its members on January 9, “there has never been a more critical time for you to show your support to Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu!” Either someone at Liberty Counsel missed the story or abortion in Israel just doesn’t matter.

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, declined to comment, but perhaps that’s understandable. In addition to his pro-life work, Smith is a charter member of the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF). Formed in 2006, IAF is a kind of institutional link between the US Congress and the Israeli Knesset. Smith, a Catholic, is also the House sponsor of a wonderful bill titled “The Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2013.” The measure is intended introduce much-needed transparency to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. If passed, Smith’s bill would force insurers to notify their insured whether abortion is or isn’t covered, and whether any surcharges or other fees are used to pay for abortions. In presenting his bill, Smith wrote, “Obamacare’s abortion mandate violates federal law and makes taxpayers complicit in the culture of death.”

Smith is right, of course. American taxpayers should not be put in the position of underwriting the culture of death. But if that’s true of Obamacare – and it is – then shouldn’t it be true for American foreign aid? Israel receives about $3 billion each year from American taxpayers. About 74% of that is returned to the United States in the form of contracts with American weapons manufacturers. But given the fungible nature of money, and since Israel would buy weapons with money from its own treasury in the absence of aid, the current arrangement amounts to American funding of Israeli abortions.