Anti-Rights Profile: The American Life League


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“More interested in making a statement than making a difference”

This paper is taken from Opposition Notes: An investigative series on those who oppose women’s rights and reproductive health, by Catholics for a Free Choice

The American Life League (ALL) is on the right wing of the antichoice movement, marginalized and isolated even among ostensible allies. Although ALL has made many ambitious statements of intent since it was founded some 25 years ago, it has failed to deliver on many of its promises and has attracted sharp criticism for apparent financial missteps.

So extreme are ALL’s views on abortion and other subjects that it has regularly denounced such reliable conservatives as George W. Bush and Rush Limbaugh for failing to adopt ALL’s own extremism. The league has taken fire from other antichoice groups and—despite oft-professed devotion to the Vatican—from church leaders.

In 2004, a spokeswoman for Washington, DC, archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sought to distance him from an ALL campaign for denial of communion to prochoice politicians. She told the Washington Post McCarrick had been “very clear” that “our teaching” allows Catholics to decide whether to receive communion.1 Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the firmly antichoice National Right to Life Committee, said of ALL in 2003, “I think they’re more interested in making a statement than making a difference.”

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