Dobbs may be the most important, magnificent, rightly decided Supreme Court case of all time. It is restorative of constitutional principle. It upholds the values of representative, democratic self-government, and the rule of law, at the same time that it supports the protection of fundamental human rights. It is literally a matter of life and death. It is potentially transformative of American society, for the better. It is a rare act of judicial courage and principle. In every way, Dobbs is a truly great decision.
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Examining the bodily autonomy argument for abortion highlights a crucial pro-life point: abortion is wrong not only because strangers shouldn’t kill each other but also and especially because parents have special obligations to their children, and it isn’t governmental overreach to require parents to fulfill those obligations.
If a post-Roe future is defined by even deeper divisions and bare-knuckle election politics, and not by a cultural shift in our thinking about how to not only protect innocent life but to support the parents who give and nurture that life, then we will have failed—again.
Body-self dualism, and its social manifestation in expressive individualism, underlie the rejection of our given human natures. Rather than seeing ourselves as somehow inhabiting bodies that are used as mere instruments, we should see ourselves as incarnate, bodily beings embedded in communities and bound by natural and supernatural laws.
Today, Jacques Maritain’s optimistic vision of Christian liberalism is often contested or dismissed as outdated, but a revival of his emphasis on Christian participation in society and politics is urgently needed—and is in many ways already in evidence in Christian political activity in America.
For P. D. James, we are drawn to detective fiction because it shows that even when social evils such as war, terrorism, and pandemic cannot be conquered, individual crimes can be solved by rational means—thus confirming our hope that peace and order can be restored from disruption and chaos.
While some legal scholars have criticized the recently leaked draft Dobbs majority opinion on the basis that it is not originalist, they are overlooking two important points—originalism contains a place for stare decisis (i.e., legal precedent) and American constitutional practice is currently an eclectic mix of originalist and nonoriginalist aspects.
In a post-Roe America in which the question of abortion will likely be in the hands of citizens and state lawmakers, it will be particularly important for Kansans to undo their supreme court’s recent error of removing the legal foundation for basic regulations on abortion.
A Minnesota law professor’s attack on the draft Dobbs opinion seems based more on desperation than scholarship. This and other misguided efforts to demonize critics of Roe need to be refuted so we can focus our attention on the real issue of the ugly realities of abortion.
In their rigorous sociological account of Christianity in America today, George Yancey and Ashlee Quosigk provide many important insights, particularly in relation to progressive Christians, though overall the book simply confirms the enduring truth that Christians have always disagreed among themselves about faith and politics.
Josh Craddock’s vision for a post-Roe legislative agenda imaginatively builds on and renews decades of pro-life thinking, but it risks generating resistance within the conservative legal movement. There may be an alternative, more disarming path that conveys to the public the need for Congress to act to protect human life in the womb.
The prospect of a post-Roe America calls not only for celebration, but also for a realistic appraisal of the road ahead, which will require the pro-life movement to rebuild itself as a movement that goes beyond partisan divisions and that also helps create a social, political, and economic order in which life is encouraged and supported.
The overturn of Roe could be a key pivot point back to the ordered, republican decision-making the Constitution demands, encouraging a return to legislative politics that demands calm reflection, moral seriousness, negotiation and compromise, and living with principled disagreement.
Built Better Than They Knew Studies endeavors to show that our practice of self-government rises above simplistic ideological reductions and achieves political equilibrium. From its beginnings, our country has been a blend of ideas, practices, and understandings of what it means to be a free and flourishing human person within community, local and national. That means that our theory must be sufficiently aware of a political practice that involves contrasting accounts of how Americans choose to be constitutional.
Genuine postmodernism—a real reflection on the failure of the modern project—would be a recovery of the idea that the lives of free and rational beings are really directed by purposes given us by nature and God.
The recent anniversary of Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech provides an opportunity to reflect on the enduring relevance of his insights into the role of virtue and action in education, the importance of family life that is ordered towards the creation and formation of the next generation, and the need to build political community based on truth and integrity.
The focus of pro-life advocacy should always be on the fact that the unborn child is a human being, with a moral status equal to a born child, and not on distractions about social policy, sexual ethics, or other rights claims that overlook this biological reality.
How we treat imperiled newborns—not only after a failed abortion attempt, but also in a more traditional NICU setting—is essential for fully grasping the current understanding of the right to abortion. When we examine the central role ableism plays in both sets of issues, thinking about them together provides an anti-ableist critique that has important implications for both prenatal and neonatal justice.
In the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned this summer, pro-life legislators must act to protect human life in the womb. They should introduce legislation to recognize the personhood of the unborn, strip the ability of federal courts to hear challenges to this recognition, create a private right of action to help enforce anti-abortion policy, and use the taxing power to cripple the abortion industry.
Given the ongoing evolution of abortion law in the United States, it makes sense to engage and evaluate the constitutions and laws of other jurisdictions. Although these sources and materials do not determine the meaning of our Constitution, they can illuminate our scientific, medical, and ethical debates. A particularly valuable resource, which explores abortion jurisprudence across a variety of legal contexts, is Unborn Human Life and Fundamental Rights: Leading Constitutional Cases under Scrutiny, edited by William L. Saunders and Pilar Zambrano.
Many Catholics have found their consciences rattled by COVID vaccine mandates and are seeking conscience protections and exemptions. But to champion conscience for its own sake, without appreciating what forms and informs it, is to err on a fundamental level. Any consideration of conscience must be aided by the virtues, those firm dispositions of the soul that enable us to act well in every circumstance—no matter how complex or challenging.
Several Catholic dioceses have conflated the teaching of the Church with scientific or prudential judgment about the common good during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led many bishops to dismiss legitimate concerns about COVID vaccines felt by individuals with sensitive consciences. In so doing, these bishops ignore the Church’s teachings about the grave duty to obey one’s conscience.
Russia is no “Christian powerhouse.” That narrative is little more than an easily falsifiable propaganda campaign by its kleptocratic governing class. Russia struggles not only to preserve its ancient faith tradition—in spite of significant government expenditures to the Orthodox Church—but also to protect and preserve its families in the face of substance abuse, domestic violence, and unmitigated cronyism.
Millennials and Gen Zers have been subjected to decades of social messaging that the good life is predicated on fostering unbounded dreams, reaching for ever-towering heights of achievement, and “changing the world.” Two new books push back against this narrative, urging readers to make a stand against the chaos and vapidity of our world by delineating a small corner of it that will demand our care and attention, making choices that limit yet enrich our existence.
While the legal end to abortion will be an important step in the pro-life movement, we also need to shift away from the sexually permissive culture that has resulted in high demand for abortions. Modern feminism’s widespread dissatisfaction with the “anything goes” approach to sex could spell renewed interest in restraint, commitment, and even the good of children—all themes and virtues that the Bible displays with wisdom.