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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Open Hearts at Princeton

Commonweal has posted my short essay reflecting on last weekend's "Open Hearts, Open Minds" abortion conference at Princeton.


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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Singer says: "for severely disabled infants, killing can still be a moral option." I seem to remember others who felt that way back in the 1930's and 40's in Germany. I had an uncle who fought over there and liberated some of the camps. One would have thought we had learned a lesson back then. Does Singer have fangs? Morally, yes. Those who interviewed the prisoners at Nuremberg were struck by how ordinary they were. I am fine with such discussions and meetings, but in the end there can be no compromise with the murder of children. Somehow I don't think they plan on giving it up either. So the battles will continue.

Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 21, 2010 1:34:47 PM

Very helpful report, Prof. Vischer. Will video or audio of any of the events be available online?

Posted by: Matt Bowman | Oct 21, 2010 2:25:30 PM

The (high handed) discussion of the "moral status" of "the fetus" has the same ring to my ear as the essentially equivalent discussions in the antebellum South of the "moral status" of "the Negro."

Posted by: Dan | Oct 21, 2010 11:07:42 PM

Matt, I think video will be up within the next few days. I'll post a link as that time.

Dan, one of Finnis's first points was to object to the title of the panel for precisely the reason you offer. It's another example where even the choice of terms puts a person on one side of the debate or the other. "The moral status of the unborn child" would have rankled many on the prochoice side, obviously.

Posted by: rob vischer | Oct 22, 2010 11:37:51 AM

My staff members who attended felt the pro-choice side got the better of our side. With very few exceptions, the speakers on our side were not exactly our first string.

The pro-choice side came with an agenda which was to promote their idea of common ground which is family planning. Our side did not come with an agenda. As far as i know our side did not talk about the true areas of agreement among the American people on abortion; no federal funding for abortion, no partial birth abortions, no third trimester abortions.

I understand that at one point when asked what her position on abortion was, the pro-life organizer Jennifer Campbell actually said, " I thought we were not going to reveal our positions on abortion."

This could have been a very interesting conference if the right people were involved. Not to say there were not good people there (Helen Alvare, Christian Brugger, Bill Hurlbut and a few others), but a conference where the prolife side is represented by Cathy Caveny is, well, a muggs game going in.

Posted by: Austin Ruse | Oct 22, 2010 2:39:36 PM

Sorry, that's Jennifer Miller, not Jennifer Campbell. And...the great John Finnis was a speaker...

Posted by: Austin Ruse | Oct 22, 2010 4:59:54 PM