Conservatives may hope that liberalism’s better angels prevail. But the ravages of ideological liberalism, especially the damage done by the sexual revolution to family and community, require active redress. Conservatives, drawing on the wisdom and traditions we have sustained (and which have sustained us), must help our culture relearn essential parts of being human.
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For the last three centuries, humanity has been participating in a race in which, on the one hand, it is increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas, but on the other hand, there are more and more of us engaged in research. So far, these two forces have counteracted each other, leading to economic growth. With a falling population, however, we will start to lose the race.
For a conscience coddled by a culture of self-definition and consent, choice cloaked as grace will always look preferable. But hard, engraved truths such as fatherhood offer rescue from the hell of interminable deliberation—which, as Alasdair MacIntyre has argued, is the hallmark of modern moral theory.
Where there is a mutual commitment to truth and truth-seeking, relationships can be built between religious believers and secularists, and they can indeed reason together. The minimum condition is this: interlocutors, however wide and deep their substantive philosophical or other differences, need to share the conviction that business between them is to be conducted in the proper currency of intellectual discourse—namely, reasons, evidence, and arguments.
The question that divides us is how we ought to respond to reproductive asymmetry: the reality that women carry disproportionate burdens due to our special role in human reproduction. What makes one a feminist is the view that this basic inequality at the heart of reproduction is one that deserves, in justice, an affirmative cultural response. We wish not only for maternity to be celebrated for the true privilege it most certainly is, but also for women to be encouraged and supported in other contributions they make. This requires that the burdens of childbearing ought to be shared not only within the family, but also across the wider society too.
“Post-revolutionary men and women are living in ways that are profoundly unnatural for the ineradicably social creatures that we are; and many are suffering as a result, at times without even knowing the name of what ails them. This preoccupation, and the desire to do something about it, continues to shape my work.”
I think PD is doing important work in addressing modern spiritual challenges: even just acknowledging such problems from an explicitly religious perspective can hopefully get us closer to mitigating them. Both Judaism and Christianity also engender a kind of humility, as we look to the past for wisdom and acknowledge our indebtedness to those who came before us.
American “family values” before the baby boomers and Roe v. Wade and second-wave feminism were shaped more by modern notions of industrial progress than by eternal truths about the human person. The sexual revolution emerged from axioms that had already permeated the mainstream for decades. Even among social conservatives, those axioms still shape our discourse about the family today.
Let Casey stand, and its abortion license fall.
The jealousy among fellow academics is often so strong that a good teacher or fair researcher is despised by colleagues. Many small liberal arts colleges will close. And, despite its reputation as a bastion of progressive thought, the academy usually rewards safe, uncreative thinking. If the academy still sounds good despite all this, then you should apply to graduate school.
The day you pass pro-life legislation, if you’re trying to win people over, should also be the day that you are passing new spending bills to support adoption, to support pregnant mothers—to support, not just crisis pregnancy centers, but crisis first-two-years-of-life centers! And that doesn’t have to mean bureaucratic welfare-state spending. But it means some kind of spending, in a way that I think many people active in the pro-life movement are comfortable with. Many people in the Republican Party institutionally are obviously not.
In Part I of this article, we established that many of the reasons some Jewish Americans passionately oppose overturning of Roe v. Wade are either overblown or baseless. Today, we highlight one of the ways in which overturning Roe will help to foster a political culture of federalism and subsidiarity that benefits religious minorities.
This two-part article addresses how American Jews should think about looming changes in the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence. Today, the authors discuss why many fears commonly expressed by Jews regarding a post-Roe world are overblown or outright false. Tomorrow, they will explain some of the under-appreciated ways that overturning Roe will benefit vulnerable religious minorities.
Roe is indefensible as a matter of honest constitutional interpretation. It short-circuited the political process and poisoned the Court. Its systematic flaws, widely acknowledged by a variety of progressive and pro-choice legal scholars, caused the judiciary to become the branch most, not “least[,] dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution.”
Borrowing a family policy prescription from Helsinki or Budapest is bound to disappoint. A distinctly American family policy platform must be seen as expanding choice, not constraining it, and working with our national character, not trying to reshape it, all while understanding family as the essential institution in society, one that stakes an unavoidable claim on our public resources.
A functioning constitutionalism that protects the people’s rights and fosters good governance requires a sound political theory behind it. Times have changed since the American Founding, but Thomas is right that the natural law teaching in the Founders’ political theory remains as sound and useful as ever.
What Edgar Lee Masters intended as a clever and eerie indictment of American society has proven more prophetic than the Midwestern poet could have anticipated.
There are likely vanishingly few individuals who apply the rigorous ethical criteria they use against the COVID-19 vaccine to the rest of their medical and personal decisions. Such inconsistent application of religious freedom principles in the COVID-19 vaccine debate threatens to significantly weaken desperately needed protections for Catholic medical practices.
Most Catholic priests in the United States perceive a conservative shift among younger priests. But progressive and conservative priests agree that the Catholic Church is not doing well, even if their reasons for saying so might be different.
A world ruled by muscle is going to be a man’s world. We don't live in that world anymore. And we don’t know terribly well what men and women are without that context. Are they just interchangeable? If there are essential differences, what are they? What should they be?
As the Democratic Party at the national level moves further into abortion extremism and the exclusion of those who dissent, it is hard to imagine the party embracing a more moderate and inclusive stance. But electoral consequences in the 2022 midterms could prompt this awakening.
Roe could be reversed in one of two strongly pro-life ways. The Court could declare that the child is a fellow human being and a person, and is thus constitutionally protected prior to birth. Or the Court could in effect encourage each state to recognize the child as one of us. The latter could well be politically preferable.
The world’s demographic future is highly unusual. Those younger than age fifty will witness a prolonged decline in the human population. The decline will not be caused by an epidemic or climate change, but rather by the collapse of fertility around the world.
Texas’s refusal to choose between the mother and her prenatal child, despite some important questions about the method used to achieve their goals, constitutes a blueprint for the pro-life movement. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, many more vulnerable women across the country will be without the access to abortion our throwaway culture has diabolically forced them to rely on. Pro-lifers must follow Texas’s lead and be at the ready to assist these women. We must make good on our claims that their legal and social equality does not require redistributing oppression to another vulnerable population.
The most foundational evidence for the value of the human person is the child in the womb, whose life creates beauty and obligations, possessing all the hope of humanity. When life in the womb has an ambiguous civil, social, and legal status, how can the fabric of our civilization hold together? The unborn child is the most singular affirmation we possess that our existence is not pointless.