January 22, 2013
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Forty years. I started going to March-for-Life-type events in the late 1970s, and I remember the pro-life movement in my hometown as having more of a crunchy, Berrigan-brothers-meet-Mother-Theresa vibe than it came to have later. On the one hand, the right conjured by the (all-male, as Charlie Camosy points out in this nice post) Court in an opinion from which even most abortion-rights supporters feel a need to avert their case, seems deeply entrenched: judicial nominees are carefully instructed how to speak out it, Planned Parenthood raises millions to support its campaign in support of it by warning of ever-present threats (some, I hope, real; many imagined) against it, its dehumanizing premises are aggressively exported from rich countries to poorer ones; and even substantial numbers of Catholics profess to embrace (what they take to be) its teaching.
On the other hand, though, it does seem like progress has been made: The March-for-Life culture is young, enthusiastic, and happy. (Hundreds of Notre Dame students, God bless them, will take long bus trips to DC this week to carry the "March for Life" banner.) The public -- even those who identify as "pro-choice" -- seems more open to reasonable regulations, as do reasonable judges; and fewer people than before preach the "it's just a clump of cells" line.
It's probably unfortunate, but also (I think) unavoidable, that the most-discussed-issue here at MOJ, over the years, has been (in one way or another) abortion. And yet, if (as I am inclined to think is the case) the most important contribution that "Catholic" can make to "legal theory" is a correct understanding of the person, then there is no way that a blog dedicated to the development of Catholic Legal Theory could avoid addressing, and criticizing, our deeply unjust and profoundly anti-human abortion-law regime. "A person is a person, no matter how small." Don't give up.
UPDATE: Here's a similar post I did, on the same subject, at Prawfsblawg.
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