We have to go stage by stage, with the living will, with the power
of attorney, with the withdrawal of this; we have to go stage by
stage. Your side would call that the 'slippery slope.'
Derek Humphry, Director of the Hemlock Society.
Introduction to the Three-Step Process.
I am sometimes asked whether I "believe in" the slippery
slope, as though it requires an act of faith. I believe in the
slippery slope the same way I believe in the Hudson River. It's there.
There is no better metaphor to describe those cultural and
technological skid marks which are evident to all who have eyes to
Pastor Richard John Neuhaus.
Action and Social Inertia.
Occasional bizarre Supreme Court decisions notwithstanding, all of
the points of the many anti-life agendas primarily abortion, 'gay
rights,' euthanasia, organized atheism, Communism, and pornography are
generally fulfilled through a policy of slow and steady incrementalism,
also known as "gradualism."
A large society has an unbelievable amount of psychological inertia.
Pro-lifers know that it is very difficult to motivate a large group of
people to take action. Therefore, if an organization wishes to stimulate
a great societal change, it must respect this inertia. The only
practical way to make progress is not in one huge leap, but in small and
A spokeswoman for the pro-euthanasia group Concern for Dying
summarized this strategy in a letter to a pro-lifer when she said that
"You are right when you say that our people believe rational
suicide to be acceptable our position is that individuals make their own
decisions and that those decisions should be honored by others. We also
know from experience that if we try to foist our ideas too strongly and
too soon on a society not yet ready to consider them, we will damage if
not destroy our effectiveness. By moving cautiously and without
stridency, we gain a larger audience for our views."
This "progress" is invariably accomplished in three stages,
as described later in this chapter.
Only Three Generations ...
Anti-moral social revolutions always happen over three generations.
The first generation initiates the conversion by raising the idea and
debating the issues; the second generation does the legwork and
implements the revolution; and the third cements the 'progress' into
place and defends it against any counterattacks.
There is, of course, no fourth generation. There never has
been, and there almost certainly never will be. No country has yet been
able to survive if most of its citizens look inward instead of outward,
and are only concerned with self-gratification. Such people will accept
no limits whatever on their behavior, no matter how legitimate or
necessary such limits may be.
In the larger scheme of things, all anti-life "social
advances" are intimately related to one another and actually assist
one another in many ways. The net result is a gradual and almost
imperceptible disintegration of a society's moral fabric, as shown in
the national and worldwide slippery slopes depicted in Chapter 2,
"The Anti-Life Mentality."
Since anti-lifers share the same basic philosophy, their various
movements work together with remarkably little friction. They sit on
each other's boards, issue press statements and resolutions in support
of each other, bestow "prestigious" awards to anti-life
activists in other fields, and share money, information, and influence.
As one example, the American Humanist Association (AHA) lists its
affiliations with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the
'Religious' Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR). It is also a
Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) of the United Nations.
The AHA has presented its "Humanist of the Year" award to,
among others, Betty Friedan (1975), Faye Wattleton, former president of
the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (1986), and Ted Turner of
CNN (1990). Masturbation guru Sol Gordon was a 1990 recipient of the
Humanist Distinguished Service Award. Not surprisingly, Isaac Asimov was
president of the AHA until his death in April of 1992.
This kind of networking exists in every one of the fifty States, as
well. For example, as of 1990, Barbara Dority was president of Humanists
of Washington State, executive director of the Washington Coalition
Against Censorship (a pro-pornography group), and served on the boards
of the Washington State chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union
and the Hemlock Society.
All of this is not proof of some massive Neoliberal conspiracy,
because the actions of Neoliberal individuals and groups are dictated by
a very simple yardstick: The increase of personal freedom. This means
that all of the Neoliberal groups do not need to resort to
conspiracy; they work together naturally with a remarkable lack of
Step One of the Gradualism Process:
Admit Possible Evil, But Lobby Hard.
The anti-lifer's first step in the erosion of an existing moral
standard is to admit that a certain behavior (contraception, abortion,
euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, etc.) may be immoral to many or
even to the majority of people.
However, even as they are admitting the evil of the practice(s), the
anti-life groups point out that the laws are being widely ignored in
these particular areas, so society had better legalize such behaviors
since they are "happening anyway." The laws are cast as
oppressive and restrictive, and the perpetrators of the immoral or
illegal acts are portrayed as downtrodden and near-helpless
Euthanasiasts are employing this tactic right now. For example, at a
meeting of the Canadian Pediatric Society in June of 1978, Dr. Frank M.
Guttman suggested that "Legal mercy-killing and infanticide is
necessary because it is happening anyway and legalizing it would
encourage more respect for the law."
It never occurs to these anti-life activists that such logic could be
applied to any evil, including rape, robbery, and murder.
However, the average member of the public has a natural revulsion
towards "oppressors" and does not want to be counted among
their number. So, the average member of the public does nothing while
the evil is being artificially legitimized and then, when it is too
late, demands to know why our society is in such atrocious condition.
It is also absolutely essential for the anti-life special-interest
lobby to acquire the treasured "victim status" in this step,
as described in Chapter 9.
Step Two of the Gradualism Process:
Legalize the Behavior, Then Muddy the Waters.
After the subject behavior (contraception, abortion, euthanasia,
homosexuality, pornography, etc.) is legalized (almost invariably
through the court system, since the people and state legislatures
generally don't approve), the anti-life groups transform such behavior
from a legal matter into a moral question that really cannot be
judged right or wrong.
This important step is accomplished by the use of "moral
relativism," which itself is founded in situational ethics the idea
that there are really no "black and white" issues, and that
people must be free to make all decisions based upon their own
consciences and their own special situations.
This concept, which is nothing more or less than moral and ethical
anarchy, is the basis of public school philosophy in this country.
The Neoliberals freely employ the mighty weapon of "mystagoguery,"
which consists of claiming that an issue is so complicated that no
ethics system may solve it or even examine it rationally. If this
precept is accepted, of course, everyone must be able to make up his own
mind on every moral issue.
This logic leads us to wonder how, if our society's most powerful and
experienced minds working together cannot solve an ethical problem, how
each individual person can be empowered to do so. The classic example of
"mystagoguery," of course, is the pro-abortion slogan "We
really don't know when life begins."
In any case, the newly legal behavior now gradually becomes a
protected "civil right," solely because the courts have ruled
it permissible. Of course, it never occurs to the anti-lifers to look at
the other side of the coin: That the behavior would therefore be
entirely impermissible when it was illegal.
The anti-lifers who have infiltrated the government will now bring
its full force to bear in order to protect these behaviors in the name
of "equality" and "fairness."
And so, the new "civil right" becomes progressively
entrenched at all levels and in all three branches of the government. It
picks up a dedicated legal and bureaucratic following and becomes
"rooted" in "advances" that have come before. In
this manner, it "hardens" and gradually becomes a vital and
functioning organ of the "body of social progress" that the
anti-lifers insist cannot be removed without killing or maiming all
Eventually, free speech directed against the new "progress"
becomes more and more expensive; dissenters are ridiculed and
stereotyped at first, and gradually their viewpoint becomes anathema to
the same "civilized" people who claim to champion free speech.
Ultimately, the opposition must be jailed or eliminated in order to be
Anti-lifers who have burrowed into the system also create a thicket
of laws and regulations that support the "progressive" agenda
while hobbling the opposition. As Joseph Sobran has said, "The more
they multiply rules to protect abnormal people, the more they forget the
rules normal life depends on. We may know what they think today; but
there is no telling what they will think tomorrow. They make plenty of
rules, but not according to any rule; and as a result, all their rules
are unruly. We live amid a kind of riot of rules. Apparently the only
kind of rule we must never make is a rule against what "happens
anyway." In other words, we can make any rule we like, provided we
know it will never be broken."
This second step of the gradualism process is the most critical of
the ratcheting effect. It is very easy to make so-called
"progress" in society, but it is almost impossible to
"turn the clock back," no matter how greatly such an action
may benefit society. The ratchet never reverses. It may pause for a
while until society digests the change and becomes accustomed to the
latest "progress," but then the ratchet will inexorably click
forward once again.
Step Three of the Gradualism Process:
Demand and Receive Pervasive Support.
Finally, the subject behavior (contraception, abortion, euthanasia,
homosexuality, pornography, etc.) is moved beyond the status of a mere
"civil right." It has become a positive social good,
deserving vast (and frequently compulsive) general support by society.
One excellent example is the mythical "right to privacy,"
first discovered only 25 years ago by the United States Supreme Court in
its Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which legalized artificial
contraception for married couples.
Anti-life groups cast their opponents in the role of wrong-thinking
kooks, and 'backwards' viewpoints continue to be systematically
ridiculed, censored and suppressed in order to insure that the new
"right" remains inviolable.
Examples of Coercion.
The "pro-choice" slogan is a myth. Pro-abortionists say
that the people who oppose abortion don't have to have them, hence the
popular bumpersticker IF YOU'RE AGAINST ABORTION DON'T HAVE ONE!
Similarly, pornographers and sodomites say that all they want is to be
But the anti-life psychology demands not only that the public not
interfere, but also that everyone must capitulate totally and support
abortion, pornography and homosexuality wholeheartedly! In other words,
everyone must not only tolerate these practices (since tolerance
implies living with something one really doesn't approve of), but
vigorously defend the rights of others to commit them.
This coercion takes many forms, as described in the following
Forced Abortion Funding.
Pro-abortionists say that we must be free to choose. However, every
major pro-abortion group also demands that every taxpayer contribute
towards paying for abortions for 'poor' women. Whenever a ballot measure
or initiative is presented to the people for the purpose of banning
state funding of abortion, NARAL, NOW, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood
are in the forefront of the opposition. And if state funding is banned,
the ACLU and other groups will immediately challenge the ban in court.
Pro-Lifers Need Not Apply.
With the eager backing of every pro-abortion group in the country,
many medical schools used to grill prospective applicants on their views
and then refuse admission to all candidates who dared express any
opposition to or uneasiness about abortion. Many obstetrics-gynecology
graduates were refused residencies for the same reason. This atrociously
biased state of affairs had to be corrected by an act of Congress.
No Conscience, Please.
Pro-abortion groups still contest the right of physicians to not
perform abortions. All pro-abortion groups oppose medical 'conscience
clauses' for doctors and nurses. The so-called "Freedom of Choice
Act" (in the version existing at this writing) sponsored by
virtually all pro-abortion United States Congressmen and Senators, would
specifically ban all institutional conscience clauses. The original
version would have prohibited individual conscience clauses as
In fact, many pro-aborts have stridently claimed that any medical
professional who holds a pro-life view is, by definition,
incompetent and must immediately get out of medical practice!
Print This Or Else!
In early 1990, a Vermont Catholic couple who ran a private printing
press, Regal Art, refused to print membership forms for the state
chapter of 'Catholics' for a Free Choice (CFFC) because CFFC lies about
Catholic teaching. Linda Pacquette, a member of Vermont CFFC,
complained to the Vermont Human Rights Commission, which threatened the
Bakers with a $10,000 fine and a lawsuit for compensatory and punitive
damages. The charge? "Religious discrimination!"
Note that this couple runs a private printing press. They
receive no government money, and are not a tax-deductible charity. In
other words, they are a private small business but they are being forced
into printing material that violates their religious beliefs!
'Crimes' Against Pedophiles.
A Roman Catholic priest in St. Paul, Minnesota was threatened by a
judge with up to a year in jail for the 'crime' of refusing to hire as a
young boy's teacher a sodomite with a long record of child molestation.
And, in New London, Wisconsin, a private religious center for
troubled boys (which takes not a dime of government assistance) was
forced by the State to sign a binding pledge to hire avowed, practicing
homosexuals or have the boys forcibly removed from the center within 48
hours, have the center closed down, and face multi-thousand dollar
AIDS and Civil Rights.
A 100-year old private dental clinic for the poor in New York City
had to finally close its doors after being forced to pay a $50,000 fine
by the City's Human Rights Commission, for the 'crime' of simply
referring two AIDS carriers with bleeding oral lesions elsewhere. The
clinic personnel simply did not believe they had the equipment or the
expertise to help them. Now, the thousands of poor that the clinic used
to see on a regular basis have to pay for their care or go without
A pharmacist in Oregon was harassed and picketed by gangs of
homosexuals after he announced that he would no longer sell condoms in
his pharmacy because they conflicted with his Catholic beliefs. The
sodomites condemned him for not slavishly and mindlessly endorsing their
version of "safe sex."
And so, what was originally an abnormality has now successfully
evolved into normality. The former perversion has become a part of the
warp and woof of society, and is one of the means by which the society
And the ratchet prepares itself to click forward once again.
Mandating Philosophies: The Inevitable Result.
He who rides the tiger cannot choose to dismount.
Anti-lifers correctly realize that, in order to most efficiently
preserve their social "progress," they must outlaw or
de-legitimize all forms of "discrimination," including even
unfavorable thought against, for example, homosexuals.
However, when a group forcibly outlaws thought discrimination (in
this case, making 'homophobia' a so-called hate crime), society
eventually loses the ability to discriminate between right and
wrong in that particular area. If enough issues are forcibly placed
beyond the realm of debate or even thought, a society ultimately loses
the ability to assert any truth in the featureless landscape of
Removing Abortion From Public Debate.
The debate on abortion has lately taken this worrisome turn. After it
became obvious that pro-lifers were successfully confronting the public
with the facts about abortion, certain pro-abortion leaders began to
advocate outright censorship of pro-life views.
In July of 1989, the United States Supreme Court allowed individual
States to slightly limit access to abortion with its Webster
decision. Faye Wattleton, former president of the Planned Parenthood
Federation of America, complained that "This decision leaves
abortion to the vagaries of our residents."
Several months later, Wattleton (who was named Humanist of the Year
by the American Humanist Association in 1986) wrote in The Humanist
that "We need to remove the abortion issue forever from the
legislative arena. We need a universal recognition that our civil
liberties are off-limits to partisan debate!" [emphasis in
In other words, Wattleton, who was head of the largest pro-abortion
organization in the world, would like to prohibit state legislatures and
even individual citizens from possessing a dissenting opinion about
The Results of Coercion.
This totalitarian form of censorship is as pernicious as it is
As appealing as such a strategy may seem to these totalitarian
thinkers, the act of placing an issue off-limits to debate or thought
flies in the face of common sense. When anti-lifers push for
'anti-discrimination' laws that actually elevate homosexuality to an
exalted status, they are naive enough to be shocked and surprised at the
backlash that inevitably results, both in the form of legislative
opposition and outright violence. They fail to see that merely
legislating against deeply-rooted beliefs will not cause them to
evaporate instantly. They fail to recognize that the act of suddenly
criminalizing deeply-held philosophies and beliefs will lead to
widespread resentment, alienation, and a backlash of great depth and
Legislating against 'homophobia' will no more effectively eliminate
fear and loathing of sex perverts and their repulsive sex acts than a
law banning agoraphobia will instantly remove all fear of open spaces.
And arrogantly insisting that abortion is "off-limits to
partisan debate" will make many thinking people bristle at the fact
that one group is summarily banning freedom of opinion in their chosen
field unless one holds the politically correct viewpoint a basic
characteristic of society in Nazi Germany.
Will Roe v. Wade Save the Country?
Perhaps the most classic example of permanent backlash this country
has ever witnessed occurred as a result of the Supreme Court's
despicable Roe v. Wade decision.
There is no question that Roe v. Wade is an evil decision that
has cost this nation more than thirty million of innocent lives.
However, the Supreme Court may have indirectly saved this country by
short-circuiting our slow slide down the slippery slope and plunging us
into the cold waters of the abortion abyss in a single day.
Prior to 1973, the anti-life forces in this country had been making
small but very steady advances all over the country with their deadly
abortion and euthanasia agendas. In the absence of Roe, they
probably would have continued this slow advance, taking advantage of the
principle of incrementalism.
Roe v. Wade changed all of that. In one day, abortion on demand
was swept into all 50 states. The pro-life movement took nearly a decade
to get over the shock and react properly. This reaction, delayed as it
was, might never have taken place if abortion had slowly crept into
place with little fanfare. If Roe had not been handed down, we
might have had abortion on demand with virtually no pro-life movement to
fight it in this country today.
Humanist Tom Flynn acknowledged this short-circuiting when he wrote
that "Had this [abortion] debate run its course, consensus might
have settled on a standard substantially more permissive than the
viability based, twenty-four week criterion established by Roe v. Wade
perhaps even abortion on demand throughout pregnancy.
"Unfortunately, Roe v. Wade interrupted the process in 1973.
Abortion became the law of the land before most Americans had been
convinced that it was morally licit."
In other words, Roe v. Wade violated the immutable law of
social incrementalism and gave the pro-life movement a focusing point.
Without Roe, pro-lifers really could not properly focus on the
thousand little steps that the anti-lifers would have used to gain the
same result of abortion on demand.
A second grassroots pro-life response occurred when newly-elected
President Bill Clinton (showing great insensitivity, a Neoliberal sin),
deliberately insulted millions of pro-life activists by revoking several
Federal pro-life laws at the exact time that the 1993 March for Life in
Washington, DC took place. The four largest pro-life organizations in
the country all reported jumps in membership applications and
contributions of more than 25 percent. Perhaps the election of the only
pro-abortion and pro-sodomite President in the Republic's history will
be the last straw for decent people.
Only time will tell.
Thanks to the Media.
Strangely, the efforts of the pro-life movement are being greatly
aided by its most intractable enemy: The media. Almost every secular
television, radio, newspaper and magazine outlet has been constantly
trumpeting the "imminent demise of Roe v. Wade" since
the Supreme Court's mid-1989 Webster decision.
The perceptions of a quarter of a billion people are changed only
slowly, and this massive media 'saturation campaign' has given the false
impression that abortion access has been drastically restricted. Major
bursts of media and abortophile propaganda have occurred with the Webster
and Rust decisions and the Pennsylvania case heard by the Supreme
Court in 1992.
Thanks to this propaganda, rank-and-file pro-abortion people are
getting used to the idea of a post-Roe America, and are
more and more unlikely to "rise up in protest" as the
abortophiles would like them to. In other words, the media is preparing
the ground for pro-life "reverse incrementalism."
It is now up to the pro-life Movement the "conscience of the
nation" to reverse the deadly anti-life tide and restore respect
for all human beings in this country.
It remains to be seen whether or not we have learned our lessons from
the Neoliberals' mistakes.
 Derek Humphry, Director of the Hemlock Society, in a December 18,
 Pastor Richard John Neuhaus, quoted in "The Return of
Eugenics." Commentary, April 1988, pages 15 to 26.
 Mrs. A-J. Rock-Levinson, Executive Director of Concern for Dying,
in a 1978 letter replying to a pro-lifer's question. Quoted in Father
Paul Marx' And Now ... Euthanasia. Human Life International,
1985, page 23. Second revised edition.
 The Humanist, January/February 1991, page 44.
 "Infanticide." National Right to Life News,
April 1979, page 5.
 Joseph Sobran. "Liberals Obsessed with Imaginary
Dangers." Conservative Chronicle, July 25, 1990, page 30.
 Eugene F. Diamond, M.D. "Do the Medical Schools Discriminate
Against Anti-Abortion Applicants?" Linacre Quarterly,
 One example of such a demand can be found in Marc D. Stern's
article "Abortion Conscience Clauses," in the November 1975
edition of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, pages
571 to 627. Further information on pro-abortion opposition to
'conscience clauses' can be found in the Winter 1979 and Summer 1981
issues of the Human Life Review (pages 88 and 41, respectively).
Also see Jack Fowler. "Prolife Hospital Faces Sanctions." National
Catholic Register, February 3, 1991. Pages 1 and 9.
 Free Speech Advocates fundraising letter of September 1990.
 "Pro-Life Printers Wage Battle of Conscience." Free
Speech Advocates newsletter, January 1991, pages 2 and 3.
 "The New School Tie." National Review, July 12,
1985, pages 20 and 21.
 "Ray Kerrison." New York Post, July 4, 1989.
 Faye Wattleton. "Reproductive Rights Are Fundamental
Rights." The Humanist, January/February 1991, page 21.
 Tom Flynn. "'Pro-Choice:' Wrong Turn for Abortion
Rights?" Free Inquiry ("An International Secular
Humanist Magazine"), Winter 1991/92, pages 6 and 7.
Further Reading: Gradualism.
Florynce Kennedy and Diane Schulder. Abortion Rap. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1971. 238 pages. In 1970, a band of Neofeminists pressed a
Federal suit challenging New York State's abortion laws. The suit was
never decided, because it was declared moot when the New York
legislature overturned the laws in April of 1970. But the testimony
obtained had so much propaganda value that excerpts compiled by two of
the attorneys for the plaintiffs were published in this book. The result
is a veritable text on anti-life strategy, tactics, and thinking. You
will find excellent examples of aggressive compromise (incrementalism),
use of the victim status, transference, and the begging of every
possible question, along with accompanying abundant propaganda,
outrageous levels of anti-Catholic bigotry, and quaintly archaic
© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111
This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia,
published by American Life League.