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.
Pillar: Sexuality & Family
The second pillar of a decent society is the institution of the family, which is built upon the comprehensive sexual union of man and woman. No other institution can top the family’s ability to transmit what is pivotal—character formation, values, virtues, and enduring love—to each new generation.
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.
In light of the vocations issue and concerns about privacy, a policy that significantly intrudes on priests’ privacy should be a last resort. However, given the tremendous damage the earlier sex scandals did to the Church’s credibility, as evidenced by declining attendance and financial support, renewed concerns about priestly celibacy may justify such a resort.
We are in the midst of a technology shift that could revolutionize reproductive healthcare and family planning. Millions of couples are using apps that promise “natural contraception.” It’s time to engage these couples, inviting them to explore a better way, and giving them the support they need to grow closer through the self-restraint demanded by Natural Family Planning.
A 1937 novel by Carol Ryrie Brink offers a feminine version of the popular “kids shipwrecked on an island” plot. The protagonists do not have to spear boars or devise a polis. Rather, they must show that they can live as women, taking care of the four babies shipwrecked with them. Can the girls make the most of the resources available to them, remain cooperative and kind to each other under tremendous strain, and prioritize the well-being of the vulnerable people entrusted to their care?
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.
When gendered embodiment is treasured, maleness and femaleness are understood not as acts we perform, but as our very bodily essence. Being a man or a woman is not simply what one does, it is who one is.
My marriage is an entity with ramifications and consequences that echo outside our home. The same is true in reverse: what happens in other marriages can affect ours. A marriage needs friends, and it can likewise supply friendship to others’ unions.
Sex makes marriage much more than just friendship with “benefits.” The sexual excitement, the powerful bonding, the oneness, the potential creation of human life, even the vulnerability—all of this alchemizes friendship and sexual attraction into marriage. We have been separating sex from marriage for decades now, with foreseeable destruction. This latest innovation adds more fuel to the inferno.
Today, sociology is overwhelmingly dominated by the radically individualistic and gender–feminist ethic that drives contemporary American culture. Yet it was not always so. Émile Durkheim, the Frenchman whom many call the founder of sociology, offered a rigorous scientific and philosophical account of sexuality, marriage, and the family that affirms the traditional view.
A growing number of jurisdictions have taken steps to pass bans on “conversion therapy,” a term referring to efforts or interventions to change or suppress the sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) of persons. These bans enforce a message of expressive individualism—that the only acceptable response is to “affirm” a person’s SOGI—and rest on a faulty anthropology on sex and gender. They infringe upon aspects of individual and group autonomy, and they negatively impact public order, health, and moral considerations.
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.
Should social conservatives embrace large-scale economic programs aimed at subsidizing family formation and childbearing? Is it more effective to focus on long-term economic growth? Are our declining birth rates really cause for concern, anyway? If they are, to what extent can the problem be solved by governmental family subsidies?
The Arkansas legislature knows something the governor apparently does not: hormonal treatment of adolescent gender dysphoria yields little across samples and studies. Transgender youth medicine involves numerous known and serious risks that are already identifiable, while the long-term effects and possible harms of off-label drug uses are completely unknown.
The time has come for people of faith to acknowledge reality and seek a resolution that protects both LGBT civil rights and religious liberty. The Fairness For All Act is a serious effort to reach a sustainable and balanced resolution while there’s still time.
There are far more egregious consequences of the Equality Act than its lack of protections for religious freedom. It celebrates and legitimizes a way of life that is fundamentally destructive, both on an individual and societal level. The Equality Act would not merely alter legal code. It would engender and nourish a burgeoning assault on any who publicly dissent from the new secular orthodoxy.
One feature of Mitt Romney’s Child Allowance proposal has been critically under-billed: the extremely high likelihood that it would reduce the abortion rate. Conservatives arguing that a rise in single parenthood is an unacceptable cost of a child allowance are necessarily arguing, as a corollary, that some of those children instead being aborted is an acceptable cost of the current policy regime. But if abortion is murder, then keeping single parenthood down by murdering the infants is surely not an optimal anti-poverty policy.
Humans are, hands down, the single most fascinating set of creatures on the planet. If you want to understand how humans work, just make a few, sit back, and watch them do their thing.
Surrogacy arrangements are not in the best interests of children. When thinking about whether to legalize surrogacy, policy makers should consider the epigenetic effects of pregnancy, the loss to the children arising from separation from their birth mothers, and the special challenges associated with parenting by commissioning parents.
The lastingness of each person’s reality as male or female is so integral to the faith’s architecture, that to deny it—even to equivocate about it—is to undermine Catholic faith itself. No Catholic institution should risk that effect.
As a post-Trump conservative coalition struggles to define itself, social and religious conservatives should seize the opportunity to step up and play a leading role, making support for families a central tenet of the American right.
Some people don’t consider adoptive parents to be the “real” parents. While it is undeniable that biological parents give their children their genetic composition, the parents who raise them leave an enormous mark on children’s character and spiritual makeup. Over many years, adoptive parents influence their children’s education, the habits they develop, the affections they form, and their beliefs and values. In this way, adoptive parents become indispensable to the identity of the child.
We should endorse true claims of value—especially those related to marriage and the family—and reject specious ones. But discussing different family forms in terms of “privilege” smuggles in conclusions before the discussion begins.
As a recent British court decision correctly affirmed, the puberty blocking treatments being given to gender-dysphoric young people constitute experimental medicine. There is neither demonstrated efficacy nor evidence on long-term outcomes, and the risk of serious harm and irreversible damage is real. The same standards of medicine should be applied to gender dysphoria as other medical issues.
A moral theologian urges Pope Francis to bring his forceful defense of prenatal children into a more central place of his pontificate. It is time to stand up firmly and forcefully for their dignity in a culture which increasingly sees them as disposable things that can be violently discarded.