Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Mark Helprin on Gov. Cuomo at ND and the "Guillotine of Sophistry"

This is a hard-hitting but, I think, devastatingly on-point evaluation of the "personally opposed but . . ." approach to abortion-regulation that Gov. Cuomo proposed in his 1980s Notre Dame speech and that so many others have adopted since.  A taste:


[L]ike Mario Cuomo[,] . . . they claim to be “personally” against abortion, but would leave it up to “a woman and her doctor.” This assumes the division of oneself into personhood, and what else? Granted, one would not want to force into law one’s personal preference or distaste for or against, let’s say, chipotle peppers or disco music, but to treat abortion as a matter of inexplicable, anachronistic religious doctrine; arbitrary preference; or capricious taste is to demonstrate conceptual blindness or bottomless moral cowardice.

If an unborn child were not, as in fact it is slightly more than half the time, of a different sex than the mother; if it did not have a completely different and unique DNA; if it were not viable from the start and would not survive to term and then, statistically, for 80 years more thereafter given only the absence of an act of destruction; if abortion opponents were consistent in using the emotive, Anglo-Saxon word woman and not switching to the Latin fetus instead of baby or child; if the stupidity of the question “When does life begin?” was not affirmed by the fact that the sperm and the egg are alive before the question is unnecessarily formulated; if only one body, not two, gave rise to the conflict; if in common and statute law there were not long-standing strictures upon what we may do even with our own bodies; and if the destruction of one’s progeny were not contrary to every biological imperative, decent human impulse, and civilized principle, only then—and perhaps not even then—the question would not be, is this the taking of an innocent human life, or is it not?


Garnett, Rick | Permalink