The Bishops, Abortion and Healthcare

They see themselves as crusaders for human rights—protectors of the innocent, the voiceless, and the powerless. After years of enduring the slings and arrows of opposition, these activists are finally in the power seat. They are among the most important voices on a crucial political question: will abortion finally scuttle health-care reform?

They are America’s Roman Catholic bishops.

It goes without saying that the Catholic hierarchy has always been pro-life. Nevertheless, the new prominence of this ancient fraternity is somewhat surprising. For one thing, the American public hardly regards the institutional Catholic Church as sacrosanct. Thanks to continuing sex scandals, many Americans—even American Catholics—roll their eyes on the subject of the Catholic hierarchy’s ability to stand as a moral example.