If Governor Newsom signs California’s transgender youth “refuge” bill into law, it will be one of the most explicit and radical assaults on parental rights that our nation has ever seen. While debates about how best to care for children with gender dysphoria are ongoing, one thing is clear: encouraging troubled children to run away from home and dividing them from their parents is certain to inflict great harm.
Author: Melissa Moschella (Melissa Moschella)
Natural Law, the Common Good, and Limited Government: Friends, Not Foes
Traditional conservatives and others committed to the principles of limited government have nothing to fear from natural law-based accounts of the political common good. In fact, natural law accounts offer the strongest principled basis for defending liberty and limited government by showing how such values are themselves core aspects of the common good.
The Ethics of Abortion: Clarifying Misconceptions
Articulating and responding to common misconceptions concerning the ethics of abortion will help to clarify and advance the debate, moving past misleading slogans to engage in a forthright and respectful public dialogue in the wake of Dobbs, and seeking to build a genuine culture of life that supports the needs of both women and children.
School Choice: Protecting Parental Rights, Resolving Curriculum Wars, and Reducing Inequality
In Part I of this essay, I outlined the key tenets of critical race theory and showed how popularized versions of this controversial theory have made their way into many public schools across the nation. Today, in Part II, I explain why the teaching of CRT-inspired ideas in public schools is contrary to parental rights; I propose school choice measures as a crucial part of the solution.
Critical Race Theory, Public Schools, and Parental Rights
Today, in Part I of this essay, I explain critical race theory and show how many of its ideas have made their way into public schools across the country, prompting a backlash that has led to the introduction of anti-CRT education regulations in many states. CRT views values like “objectivity” as tools of oppression. It’s clear that many public schools are indeed incorporating plenty of CRT-inspired ideas like these in their curricula.
Moral Repugnance, Abortion, and COVID Vaccines: A Dialogue
The following began as an email exchange, initiated by Richard Stith’s message to the authors of recent Public Discourse articles—particularly this statement by Catholic scholars—arguing for the moral permissibility of receiving the COVID vaccines. Melissa Moschella responded to the message, and an insightful dialogue ensued, which we believe would be of interest to many readers. Here is a revised version of the exchange.
The COVID Vaccines Are Not “Morally Compromised”
The use of HEK 293 or similar cell lines in no way perpetuates the grave injustice of abortion or implies approval of abortion. To call a cell line, a vaccine, a railroad, a medication, or any other physical thing morally compromised is simply a category mistake, because good and evil are characteristics of the human will, not of physical things.
Reproductive Technologies and Human Dignity
Given the risks of assisted reproductive technologies and gene-editing technologies for both individuals and society as a whole, a hands-off, libertarian approach to these issues is ethically irresponsible. Because these technologies imply a radical transformation in our understanding of the meaning of parenthood and our approach to the next generation, we must ask ourselves what sort of world these technologies are creating, and whether it is the sort of world that we want for our children and grandchildren.
Old Natural Law Theory, Marriage, and Sexual Ethics
“Old natural law theory” begins with the natural end of our sexual faculties and derives ethical principles from there. But this approach has to rely implicitly on prior value judgments in order to distinguish between biological facts that are axiologically or morally relevant and those that are not. The second in a two-part series.
Sexual Ethics, Human Nature, and New Natural Law Theory
“New” natural law theorists and “old” natural law theorists both see human flourishing as the proper end of all ethics, including sexual ethics. Yet they disagree about how human nature informs practical reasoning. This first in a two-part series.
Embryology and Science Denial
The HHS has recently—and rightly—described life as beginning at conception. Dr. Richard Paulson’s denial of this claim contradicts the standard scientific position, and his arguments against that claim are fallacious and inaccurate.
Parental and Governmental Authority in Medical Decisions: The Tragic Case of Charlie Gard
By preventing Charlie Gard from receiving further medical treatment, the United Kingdom is exceeding its legitimate authority, and violating the right of Connie Yates and Chris Gard to make an intimate and important family decision about how best to care for their sick child.
A Bipartisan Case for School Choice
Let’s set aside partisanship and unite to provide disadvantaged children with the educational opportunities they deserve. Rather than deny low-income families the same educational choice that wealthier families enjoy, we should seek other ways to improve the quality and efficiency of public schools.
Worth the Risk? Rivka Weinberg on “How, When, and Why Procreation May Be Permissible”
A new book sets out a system of “procreative ethics” based on the idea that life is not a gift but a risk. From this point of view, imposing that risk on someone requires serious justification.
To Whom Do Children Belong? A Defense of Parental Authority
Parents have unique authority over their children because they bear non-transferable obligations toward their children. The state must respect the right of parents to fulfill their duties toward their children. The second in a two-part series.
To Whom Do Children Belong? How Same-Sex Marriage Threatens Parental Rights
Same-sex marriage further encourages the state to encroach on the domain of that indispensable pre-political community, the family. The first in a two-part series.
The Fundamental Case for Parental Rights
Parents have a fundamental right to raise and educate their children as they see fit. Their authority precedes that of the state.
A Time for Heroism
If we hope to protect the unborn, promote sexual integrity, preserve the truth about marriage, and defend the freedom of religious conscience in our country, we cannot simply live good lives—we must live heroic ones.
The Rights of Children: Biology Matters
Every child has a right to be loved by his or her biological parents. Third-party reproduction violates this right by intentionally conceiving a child in a way that will alienate that child from at least one of her biological parents.
To Whom Do Children Belong?
Children’s relationship to the political community is fundamentally different from that of adults, because it is mediated through their belonging to a family and living under the authority of their parents.
The HHS Mandate and Judicial Theocracy
If we are to preserve our First Amendment rights, judges must refrain from telling plaintiffs challenging the HHS mandate that they’ve got their theology wrong.
Religious Freedom’s Legal and Moral Basis
The right to religious freedom was crucial to the Founders’ vision of America. Religious freedom is a right to be protected because it enables us to fulfill our human obligation to seek the truth. The second in a two-part series.
Religious Freedom Under Fire
The threats to religious freedom in our nation are real, and they’re serious. And things will get worse unless we defend our rights. The first in a two-part series.
Taking (Conscience) Rights Seriously
As a pluralistic liberal democracy, we should craft our laws so that individuals will never be unnecessarily coerced into violating their consciences.