The history put forward in abortion litigation by advocates of abortion has never been about history. By their own admission, they “fudge it as necessary,” keeping up “the guise of impartial scholarship while advancing the proper ideological goals.”
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The issue of abortion cannot be reduced to the narrow question of the status of the child in the womb. The answers rest upon broader assumptions about what it means to be human. If we are to believe those who defend a right to abortion, it is nothing less than the power to end the life of her unborn child that guarantees a woman her humanity—that is, the autonomy befitting her status as man’s equal. That is a denial of what really makes us human: our natural dependence upon, and obligations towards, one another.
That motherhood and childhood begin in pregnancy is highly embarrassing to liberal anthropology. The physical and genealogical dependence of children on their parents attacks the thesis that we are isolated individuals rather than members of families that precede and survive us.
After almost fifty years of abortion jurisprudence, the US Supreme Court has an opportunity to overrule the arbitrary viability standard, to expand states’ ability to regulate pre-viability abortions, and to narrow down Doe’s unconscionable definition of health. International and foreign law on abortion can provide legal support for such a ruling.
Although the ideas presented in The Concept of Social Justice are just a start, they provide a crucial foundation for the salvific and eternal work that Catholics must complete in the political arena.
In some states, it’s almost impossible for pro-life governors to appoint originalist judges. That’s why we must pursue state-level judicial reforms before Dobbs is decided. To make the most of this opportunity, most of us need to turn our attention away from DC and toward our state capitols.
Many key constitutional clauses were drafted as compromise provisions intended to win over the members of intensely warring intellectual and political tribes. This ought to cut strongly in favor of a dispositional humility about an interpreter’s ability to definitively discern the most accurate original meanings of these clauses. In these situations, statesmen ought to err on the side of certain substantive ideals of natural justice, human flourishing, and the common good.
Today at Public Discourse, we are featuring brief responses to Abigail Favale’s essay, "Feminism's Last Battle," by four writers: Erika Bachiochi, Margaret Harper McCarthy, Leah Libresco Sargeant, and Angela Franks.
We are witnessing a kind of last battle, a feminist Armageddon that will determine whether feminism, as a movement centered upon the wellbeing of women and girls, will endure into the future or self-immolate. Only a return to realism can provide a stable definition of woman, the requisite ground for effective feminism.
In her new book, Erika Bachiochi presents a compelling vision of female equality and happiness that embraces a woman’s capacity for childbearing and encourages sexual virtue and strong marriages as an antidote to difficulties that abortion can never hope to solve.
The doctrine of stare decisis is a dangerous tool, malleable, and peculiarly susceptible to manipulation and abuse. It entices and deceives. If just two justices compromise their principles and betray the Constitution, Dobbs will be lost. If so, Dobbs will displace Casey as the worst Supreme Court decision of all time, and the justices rendering it will merit the most severe condemnation of history. But if the Court overrules Roe and Casey, the Dobbs case would rank among the most magnificent decisions in the Court’s history.
This is a signal moment in America’s constitutional history. One of the most notorious decisions in the Court’s history is likely either to be repudiated and overruled—discarded, finally and definitively—or else reaffirmed and entrenched, perhaps permanently. The stakes could not possibly be higher.
The resolution on abortion that was passed at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville was well-intended but woefully flawed. It offers no exception for the life of the mother, and it opposes incrementalism. Those two items are serious shortcomings that would lead to the loss of more innocent lives, not fewer.
The question is not whether we will wrestle with the morality of art, but how artful our wrestling will be. Irony is not an essence or an end: irony is a means toward other aims. By nature, it appeals to our moral sensibilities, even if at its most mature it does so indirectly.
Every “no” to the state in the name of religious conscience is predicated on a greater “yes” to a power higher than the state.
Even if abortion had nothing whatsoever to do with the development of COVID-19 vaccines, many pro-lifers would be just as vaccine-hesitant. Often, convincing our neighbor to take a vaccine requires rebutting objections that have nothing to do with abortion.
It is wrong to force religious individuals who are highly skilled medical and mental health professionals to violate their core religious convictions by compelling them to support and participate in terminating life, or in elective therapies that seek fundamentally to alter the human person, whether to achieve transgender ends or transhumanist ones.
Joseph’s service to Pharaoh provides important lessons to Jews and Christians considering roles in government in an increasingly pagan America. Today, we neither reign from the throne in Jerusalem nor cower in the catacombs of Rome. Is there a place for us in the palace of Egypt?
If we have a calling in life, it is because someone has called us. God calls each of us by name to a specific path of holiness and service to others. Important as professional success may be, the only success of ultimate importance is holiness. The only real tragedy in life is not to have been a saint.
Policy can tax vice and remunerate virtue. But policy cannot do what churches, fathers, mothers, friends, and coworkers can do, which is to invite individuals into fruitful, sacrificial communities.
If stopping gestation no longer inevitably entails the death of a fetus, then the entire landscape of abortion rights and jurisprudence has fundamentally changed.
Free market dogmas are inapplicable to the managerial oligarchy. A politically coordinated cabal of opaquely owned companies is not private property in the way a local coffeeshop is. To do nothing while a managerial mob uses the wealth we have entrusted to them to seize power over us is a betrayal of ourselves, our nation, and our posterity.
Neither Michael Pakaluk’s criticisms of a statement by pro-life scholars on COVID-19 vaccines nor his positive arguments against those vaccines hit their mark. The purchase and use of HEK293 and similar cell-lines are not intrinsically impermissible. Well-formed people of good faith may be moved by the very strong reasons that exist to take the vaccine to do so.
Even as a woman shapes the child growing within her, the joys and trials of pregnancy are shaping her, sanctifying her, and teaching her how to depend on others during this season of peculiar service.
Gladden Pappin, like many other social conservatives, has been too swayed by the experiences of one country: Hungary. His credulity with regards to the Orban government’s family policy claims has led him, and many other conservatives, to a consequential misunderstanding of what has actually happened in Hungary—and what it implies for conservative policy in the United States.