In the April 8, 2002 edition of this column, I called for "conscientious objection" on the part of businesses of all kinds that might be called upon to service abortion facilities. In June of that same year, Pastoral Life magazine published a longer version of the same article, and I preached about it on EWTN.
These articles pointed out that businesses, and the individuals employed by them, should simply refuse to provide their services to the maintenance of a killing center. The legality of abortion does not create the obligation to participate in it. I called upon plumbers, electricians, office supply companies, delivery services, printing companies, lawn and garden companies, snow removal services, computer consultants, office machine repair services, sanitation workers, roofing companies, taxi drivers, security companies, lock and key companies, cleaning and maintenance services, sign and fence companies, food services, exterminators, and every other conceivable business, to simply say no to any request to service an abortion facility.
That is why I, along with so many others, are so encouraged to see what is happening in Austin, Texas. The proposed construction of an abortion mill by Planned Parenthood is at a standstill because plumbers, concrete suppliers, and other workers refused to take part in the project. Eventually, because of this lack of cooperation, the general contractor had to pull out as well. Chris Danze, and "Texas Contractors and Suppliers for Life" have found broad support in the local community and the Churches, who have helped to implore businesses not to get involved and have told them that they in turn would not do business with those who are involved.
It is, in the end, all a matter of free choice. That's what makes the reaction of Planned Parenthood's president, Gloria Feldt, so odd. She describes this whole effort as "bullying" and "fascist tactics." She says they are "repugnant to democracy" and constitute "strong-arming everybody else into adhering to [anti-choice] ideology."
But if free choice is valued in our society, why should those who oppose abortion be forced to participate in it?
Pro-abortion groups defend abortion as an exercise of "conscience." But how is it that "conscience" can justify having an abortion, but can't justify refusing to cooperate in helping others have one?
Moreover, refusing to participate in building or servicing an abortion mill is not only an exercise of choice, it is a moral obligation. To work in any way for a facility whose purpose is to perform abortions is morally wrong.
Pope John Paul, speaking of laws allowing abortion, insists that "there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection" (The Gospel of Life, n.73). The US Bishops write that such laws "cannot … be supported, acquiesced in, or recognized as valid" (Living the Gospel of Life, n. 33). If we think that because abortion is legal we have to service the facilities that commit it, we have "acquiesced in" abortion laws.
Let the People of Life arise, then, and let a new chapter of pro-life activism begin!