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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Fr. Generic Jesuit

C'mon Carl, we'll never get rid of slavery by making it illegal. We need to concentrate on the reasons plantation owners buy slaves. With some sort of social program we could redistribute the wealth of non-slave owners to slave owners . This would reduce the number of slaves. And isn't that our mutual goal, to reduce the number of slaves? We can help the economic conditions that force people to purchase and use slaves, I think we can all agree on that.

Do you really want to force cotton growers into unsafe back-alley slave auctions?


Why do those who say they want to reduce abortions but keep it legal want to keep it legal? The only honest answer is: to facilitate abortion. I can't see how anyone who advocates laws that facilitate abortion can claim to be pro-life.

Another problem with the "work to reduce abortion but keep it legal" position is that it does not address the injustice that abortion inflicts on its victims -- the unborn children. When a drunk driver who kills an innocent person is sent to jail, the law has served the important function of renderng some measure of justice for the person who was killed. Few things are worse than inflicting an injustice on someone and no one recognizing the injustice. The refusal to recognize the injustice is in some ways worse than the injustice itself.

A further problem with the "work to reduce abortion but keep it legal" position is that it fails to address the corrupting effect that legalized abortion has on our laws. Declaring a wrong to be a right renders the notion of "rights" incomprehensible and thereby tends to undermine legitimate rights. (Hadley Arkes develops this idea brilliantly in "Natural Rights and the Right to Choose.")

Peter Mc

As always, great stuff. I was wondering if you had seen this article from yesterday in u.s. news.
He actually makes some good observations, which I think are useful in the ND/Obama discussion. His implied conclusions aren't necessarily correct, but he's saying the same thing that those of us who opposed ND's invite: Our problem is more with ND than it is with Obama. As in it's not Obama's fault for accepting the invitation.

His Prince Michael

"REDUCE the number of abortions"???
END Abortion, NOW.
THE Battle, has just BEGUN
and GOD, is GREATER!

Mary Ellen

It continues to be shocking to me how many people wish to get off point in the abortion discussion, by entering what is essentially an abstract, idealistic realm of "social" ills. Abortion is not abstract. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the pioneers of the abortion movement, has turned, as have many doctors, to the side of pro-life, based on the invention of Ultra-Sound. Dr. Nathanson has made a movie called The Silent Scream, which is a film done in ultrasound of infants being aborted. These little infants, what do they do during the abortion procedure? The visibly scream. They try, in futility, to live.


Measuring is hard but it is not the real problem. Look at smoking. The government decided to reduce smoking while keeping it legal. How did they start. They came out and said smoking is bad. Why is it bad? Because it kills many people every year. But can they do that with abortion? Come out and clearly say it is bad. Why? Because it ends a human life. If you get that message out clearly and consistently then abortion reduction will work like smoking reduction worked. But can they do that? It kind of makes a mockery of their defense of Roe v Wade.

If they don't start by saying abortion is bad then it becomes totally unclear why they want to reduce abortions. Because some crazy Christians think it is wrong? That is a pretty silly reason.


My pro-life philosophy goes a little like this:

Abortion-wrong, should never be permitted
Torture-wrong, should never be permitted
Artificial Contraception-wrong, should never be permitted
Death penalty-wrong, should never be permitted (in light of technological and sociological advances)
Slavery-wrong, should never be permitted
War-only in defense against an immediate and direct threat


I think part of the problem is that a lot of folks (like my 80+ year old parents) still think (or cling to the thought) that most women who have abortions are victims of a brutal rape or are victims of incest (same difference) or that their babies will be terribly deformed and will never have a real life. Some folks might think of the naive teenaged couple who find themselves 'pregnant'after the prom.

I was disabused of these fantasies a long time ago, when my college roommate had 2 abortions in one semester and had had at least one the year before. She picked up bed partners in class or in the clubs, brought them to the dorm and did the deed. Pregnancies were d*****d nuisances, period. Then I found out the lawyer for whom I was a political aide around the same time had conceived solely to have an abortion. Her former husband bragged about it quite recently. They divorced prior to 1973 but she kept his name. You may have heard of her; she was the lead attorney for 'Jane Roe' in Roe v. Wade. She was also an aide/advisor to President Carter for women's issues.

This is the reality of abortion and the culture of death. Sex is not for creating life and families. It's a recreational sport which occasionally produces an annoying by-product.


The president says he wants to reduce abortions. His policies do not sync up with his rhetoric. I am not aware of one policy that President Obama supported that would have an immediate effect on reducing abortions. He could even keep a women's so called choice intact and still reduce abortions in a couple of simple ways but as usual his actions do not follow his rhetoric. For example, he has not been in favor of waiting periods or the requirement that all women be at least offered the opportunity to view their baby in a sonogram before aborting the baby. If the goal for the president is to reduce abortions and to keep the women's choice intact, these two simple things would achieve just that. The use of the sonogram which has been shown to reduce abortions demonstrates not what but who is being aborted.
The sonogram would give women the most complete information before choosing life for the baby or aborting him/ her. Why does the president object to have complete information before choosing what to do? We try to get complete information before having surgery. It is because he is pro-abortion. If it was only a matter of choice he would not be against the above policies.

For the president, it is not merely a matter of choice but a matter of being pro-abortion.


Larry, you'd never make it as a Jesuit.

mary tim crowley cork ireland

peter mac suggests its not obamas fault. he got invited but i read that obama looked for the invite and notre dame was benefitting from rhe bailout funding in exchange.

Paul Russell

I can't believe what I'm reading!

Dr. Beckwith depersonalizes the whole abortion argument - perhaps he missed the whole Pontificate of JPII!!

At best, his is an incomplete argument. Granted, there's always room for hard-headed policy, but a public statement of this type is extremely dangerous if it fails to acknowledge that every abortion is killing a baby and that every single digit in nthe abortion data represents at least one such child.

It's fine to parse the data to gain a real understanding of what it really means - but lets not forget what each single digit actually represents.

Dave Mueller


I'm sure that Dr. Beckwith is not saying that each individual woman who chooses life over death is not important. He is saying that, at a macro level, we really have no idea whether a reduction in the number of abortions means that we are having success or not. As he said, abortions could be reduced because of there being less women that could have abortions. The recorded number of abortions could be reduced by increased use of "emergency contraception", etc.

The point is that if the number of abortions goes down from 1.4 to 1.2 million, this doesn't necessarily mean that 200,000 more women chose life. It could mean any number of things, which statistical studies could ATTEMPT to determine.

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