Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Abortion Horrors

I bring your attention to this awful story of a child in Italy who survived for two days after a botched abortion (though without any medical attention, he later died) as a reminder--not only of the poignant horror that is the reality of abortion--but also as a reminder of what is really lost in the often too political discussion of abortion.  What is really at stake in this debate is a question of hearts and minds.  One side is guilty of rationalizing the thing to the point where the heart is perverted by the false reasoning of the mind.  The other side is guilty of forgetting that in every appeal to right reason, there are competing interests of passion and heart.  However valuable or important they may be in and of themselves, I don't believe that the abortion issue is ever going to be resolved by rational arguments about a "right to life" or lengthy discussion of the relative merits of a Constitutional "right to privacy."  It will only be resolved (in a way satisfactory to friends of life) if and when the vast majority of the American people can look at a story like the one described above and see no excuse for it in a civilized country.
Categories > Bioethics

Discussions - 6 Comments

A couple interesting pro-life stories: Hadley Arkes converted. A few Catholic blogs have the stories. Thus he followed the logic of a major academic-moral interest of his to its conclusion.

The late Elizabeth Fox-Genovese was an historian and contributor to feminist thinking. She was a pro-life Marxist academic (not believing in individual rights, she took the unborn to belong to the human race). When she became Catholic, the unborn belonged, as we all do, to God.

Agreed, sonograms help make this clear, too. Science and moral philosophy can work together.


Thanks for calling attention to this important issue.

I agree if people really witnessed/grasped the horrors of abortion, no one could justify it in civilized society.

This is an issue I wish we would have focused on more when I was an Ashbrook Scholar. I hope the Center will start to encourage their current students to grasp how horrible abortion is. It's depressing to live in a country where millions of babies are murdered in the name of freedom!


I agree that people have to see how horrible abortion is before they will see the need to restrict its use.

Richard . . . there are no words . . . those poor babies!

For almost ten years now, I have had the same experience on a semi-regular basis. I meet people who are 1) surprised that abortions in the eighth and ninth months are legal and 2) disgusted and horrified at what they regard as the killing of a infant. On late term abortion, it is my impression that people who have grown up with high resolution sonogram technology have a sense of the horror of late term abortion than when I was growing up. They just don't know the condidtions under which it is legal.

I think, too, Pete that part of the thing people forget in yawning (as I confess, even I have been guilty of doing) when it comes to the abortion debate is that there is a generation of adults (and middle aged adults!) that have come up with the yawning. Abortion became legal in 1973 . . . since then, all of the heated debate on the question has been almost entirely in the form of slogans, legal wrangling, and political struggles formed around entrenched interest groups. Lost is the question of what, actually, we are talking about.

I have always been appalled by the thought of abortion and, of course, this isn't the first time I've reflected on horrific pictures and stories like the ones described above. But the other side has been successful in sucking our side of the debate into this mind-numbing struggle where these things are lost in translation. I know that the legal and political questions are important ones. But the bottom line is that they aren't going to go anywhere with these arguments unless or until the American people are reached first through their hearts. Because of that, I think pro-life groups should de-emphasize political action (not ignore it--but understand why it comes off as pushy and annoying to folks not yet persuaded) and focus instead on education for awhile. Like you said, there are a lot of people who just really have no idea about what is happening, what's permitted, and the horrors of it all.

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