Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Abortion and the Conversation-Shaping Effects of Law

This article describes the current controversy in the United Kingdom over what the British Pregnancy Advisory Service calls the "scandal" of the lack of late-term abortion "services."  According to the Service's chief executive, Ann Furendi, "doctors and nurses [are] becoming more reluctant to work in this area.  But she said there were very good reasons why some women left their abortions till late."  She conceded, though, that the "work" is "unpleasant and difficult" and said that "doctors and nurses are only prepared to do it if they understand the reasons why women present late."  The article continues:  "Patrick Cusworth, from the charity LIFE, said it was no surprise that many doctors and nurses do not want to get involved in late abortions.  He said: 'Many doctors that we have spoken to have indicated very deep misgivings about carrying out abortions of children that are perfectly healthy, and would have very good chances of surviving outside their mothers wombs if delivered at this particular point.  The question is, if so many doctors are increasingly unwilling to carry these out, should be tolerating this procedure at all?'"

What is interesting, and even refreshing, to me about this story is that, apparently, neither "side" in the debate feels inspired or required by "the Constitution" or "the Court" to couch abortion-related arguments in terms of "fundamental rights", "liberty interests", "undue burdens", the sweet "mystery of life", or what Justice O'Connor had for breakfast.  The legal regime and culture -- unlike ours -- appears to be one that permits compromise.



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