When the killing of human beings becomes a pre-meditated methodical policy — put forward as a public good — massive slaughter results, and can be called a “holocaust.”

History puts a face on leaders who considered mass murder a political “good” — leaders like Adolph Hitler of Germany, Mehmet Talaat of Turkey, Pol Pot of Cambodia, Mao of China and Joseph Stalin of Russia.

But what about American leaders responsible for our own ongoing holocaust: abortion? History has yet to put a face to them, but those who value the sanctity of human life are obligated to ferret them out and hold them responsible.

This is the latest in an occasional California Catholic Daily series, “Faces of the American Holocaust,” in which we put faces to those behind the mass murder of innocents in the U.S.

American Civil Liberties Union

By R.J. Grace

In 1997, Margaret Crosby, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, argued before the California supreme court that a 1987 California law that required a child under the age of 18 to have written permission from her parents before she could get an abortion was a violation of her right to privacy. The court agreed. Ever since that day a child that cannot be given an aspirin in school without a note from her parents can walk into a Planned Parenthood facility and have her unborn child destroyed without saying a word to her parents.

Keeping in mind the fact that any child under the age of 18 who is pregnant has been the victim of rape, this means anyone who rapes a child is now, and has been since 1997, afforded a degree of protection as a result of ACLU’s work.

Under the banner of “reproductive rights” the ACLU has argued again and again against laws proposed by elected representatives that would make it necessary for any child under the age of 18 to get her parent’s permission before being able to get an abortion. In Illinois, ACLU lawyers are currently challenging a 1995 Illinois law that also requires parental notification before a child can get an abortion.

Probably the most infamous case they are involved in today is the lawsuit they filed against the U.S. government to cut off funds to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – funds used to aid and assist women who have been sold into slavery. Since 2006, the federal government, through the department of Human Health and Services, has given the U.S. bishops money to fund their efforts to help women who have been rescued from human trafficking. The bishops provide health care, housing, food, job training and other assistance to these women in need. The ACLU demanded that the government stop funding this work because the bishops will not recommend or provide abortions and contraception to them.

All across the country, the ACLU joins forces with Planned Parenthood to stop laws that are pro-life. In 2011, they sued the governor of North Dakota after he signed a law that would have required a 72-hour waiting period before having an abortion. The ACLU sued the state of Kansas in 2011 after a law was passed that would have prevented state Obamacare health exchanges from including abortion in their plans. The ACLU argued that this created a barrier to women who wanted access to abortion. A Kansas judge did not buy the argument from the ACLU and let the law stand.

In July of 2012, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for passing a law that prohibited abortion beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. Even though the law contained exceptions in order to protect the life of the mother, the ACLU labeled the law as “extreme and dangerous” for the mother.

The ACLU is actively involved in promoting the spread of contraception to children in schools. In 2007, in what they call an “Historic Victory for Sex Education”, the ACLU waged an “intensive advocacy campaign” in California that resulted in the California Department of Education adopting “…its first-ever set of K-12 Health Education Content Standards”. These standards included “essential information” on “sexual orientation, contraception, and other important topics critical to the health and wellbeing of young people in California.”

Since the law was passed, the ACLU has been aggressively waging a battle with school boards that resist the new law and have programs in place that emphasize abstinence. In 2008, the Fremont Unified School District had a sex-education program in place that taught abstinence to the children. The ACLU stepped in and made them abandon the program and replace it with a program in line with the new California law. Abstinence was replaced with condoms and books such as My Two Moms.

The same fight was taken to the school districts in Sonoma County in 2009, where they also had an abstinence curriculum in place. They were required to replace their curriculum with contraception and same-sex lessons. In a note of irony, ACLU staff attorney Margaret Crosby was quoted as saying, “California law requires that sex education be based in public health science, not ideology…”

ACLU attorneys have been at the forefront of the efforts to overturn Proposition 8 as well as in the efforts to overturn the ban on performing abortions at military hospitals located overseas.