The current issue of the National Right to Life News, which proclaims itself the "official publication" of the anti-abortion movement, carries as its lead story an account of a recent anti-abortion rally in Washington at which President Bush, by telephone hookup, warmly commended the group and repeated his unflagging support of the movement. What the story does not say, however, is that in reality there is a fundamental difference between Bush's position and the extreme position taken by the National Right to Life Committee.
Strict right-to-lifers would permit abortions only in those cases where the mother's life was demonstrably in danger -- say, in cases of tubular pregnancy where there is no possibility of live birth but grave danger to the woman's life. Bush, on the other hand, would permit abortions in cases of rape, and that difference is profound -- and ultimately irreconcilable.
True right-to-lifers believe that human life comes into being at the moment of conception. From that strict point of view, there is no moral distinction between an abortion the day after conception or the day before delivery. Further, there is no moral distinction which would permit an abortion because of the manner in which the conception took place. It's "innocent human life," no matter the stage of development. This of course is an extreme position which is rejected by the overwhelming majority of Americans, but at least you have to give the right-to-lifers credit for consistency in their beliefs.