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.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Doug, please respond to the FOCA question!

Doug Kmiec, Cathy Kaveny, and Nick Cafardi make some good arguments for voting for a Democrat who actually helps women choose life as opposed to a Republican who pays only lip-service to the pro-life cause (even though lip-service from a bully pulpit counts for a lot). As a life-long Democrat, a passive member of Democrats for Life, and an active member of Consistent Life [formerly “Seamless Garment Network”], I would be quite open to such an argument.

But that argument would be valid only if we had candidates like Jimmy Carter running against pitiless Republicans.

By contrast, Obama has refused to endorse our modest Democrats for Life proposal to help women choose life. Far worse, he has said that his first act in office will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. FOCA will hurt women as well as children, especially because it will eliminate state laws that discourage overly hasty abortion decisions.

Why don’t Doug and his friends ever respond fully to the FOCA question raised by Weigel and George? (I call Doug “Doug” because he was my colleague here in Valparaiso for two years or so, during which, by the way, I don’t recall him ever hinting that he agreed with my pro-life stance. I was pleasantly surprised to hear of his views later on.)

More generally, they don’t seem to take seriously Cardinal George’s statement that “children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can't be something you start playing pragmatically against other issues.”

My suspicion is that all three of them –and indeed John McCain as well—have failed to grasp the fundamental pro-life argument for human equality. That is, they must somehow imagine incorrectly that the unborn child is being constructed in the womb, and therefore acquires a human nature only gradually. My critique of this common “constructionist” conception of gestation, and explicitly of John McCain, and my presentation of the more correct “developmental” view can be found in my list of articles on the Mirror of Justice website, or just by clicking here: http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/stith/constructiondevelopmentandrevelopment.pdf


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