HHS “compromise” is Unacceptable, says former Vatican ambassador, Catholic University of America president, and others

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(HT: Catholicvote.org)The following public letter was issued today by Mary Anne Glendon (former United States Ambassador to the Vatican), John Garvey (President, Catholic University of America), Princeton scholar Robert P. George, Notre Dame law professor Carter Sneed, and Yuval Levin of the Ethics & Public Policy Center. Right now the letter is being circulated and in the process of acquiring many more signatories. I am proud to say that I signed it only moments ago when it was sent to … [Read more...]

Not a Good Argument for the HHS Birth Control Mandate

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In response to the new HHS regulations, about which I have written several entries (see below), some have responded by pointing out that most Catholics practice birth control in defiance of the teachings of their Church. I've got news for you: Catholics also commit adultery, lie, cheat, steal, and sometimes even become Protestant. I suspect that there are also Mormons who drink coffee, Orthodox Jews who sneak bacon bits on their salads, and Southern Baptists who make the occasional visit to … [Read more...]

Dignity Never Been Photographed: Scientific Materialism, Enlightenment Liberalism, and Steven Pinker

That is the title of an article I published in the Summer 2010 issue of Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics (vol. 26.2).  (The title, if you have not noticed yet, is from a line in the Bob Dylan song, "Dignity"). Here's how the article begins (endnotes omitted):In March 2008, the President’s Council on Bioethics published a volume entitled, Human Dignity and Bioethics.  It consists of essays penned by council members as well as other scholars and practitioners invited t … [Read more...]

The Argument From Creating Brainless Children

In a chapter I recently published-- "The Human Being, A Person of Substance: A Reply to Dean Stretton," in Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos: A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments, edited by Stephen Napier. (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011), 67-83--I respond to criticisms of an argument I have used in several venues, including my 2007 book, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press). My 2011 defense of that argument--"the argument from creating … [Read more...]

Can the Personhood of the Embryo Be Rejected Based on Supposed Bad Consequences of Believing In It?

Karen, in the combox in a previous post, raises this concern: Persons get to sue.  If this law passes [i.e., the Mississippi personhood amendment], miscarried embryos can sue their mothers for negligence that resulted in the miscarriage. Examples of things that cause early miscarriage are bicycling, horseback riding, breastfeeding, drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol.  Insurance companies face astounding potential liability for covering restaurants or holiday camps that allow women of childbearing … [Read more...]

The Human Being, a Person of Substance

That's the title of a chapter I recently published in the book, Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos: A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments, edited by Stephen Napier. (Dordrecht: Springer, 2011), 67-83. Other contributors in the book include my Baylor colleague Alexander Pruss as well as Jason T. Eberl, A. A. Howspeian, Christopher Tollefsen, Helen M. Alvaré, and David Hershenov. You can read my entire chapter via Google Books here. Here's how the chapter begins (citations omitted): Over the p … [Read more...]

Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion” at Forty

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from portions of my August 3, 2011 presentation at the University of Colorado symposium commemorating the 40th anniversary of Thomson’s article. Here's an excerpt: What Thomson is granting, then, is a view of personhood consistent with the pro-life position only insofar as it is aligned with a minimalist understanding of autonomy and choice. That view isolates the individual from other persons – generationally, contem … [Read more...]

August 3 Symposium on the 40th anniversary of Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion”

Tomorrow, August 3, I will be at the University of Colorado in Boulder participating in a symposium on the 40th anniversary of Judith Jarvis Thomson article, "A Defense of Abortion," published in 1971 in Philosophy and Public Affairs. (For more on the symposium, go here. It is open to the public.) What makes Thomson's argument so important is that she grants to the prolifer his most pivotal premise, that the pre-born human is a person from conception, but nevertheless concludes that abortion is … [Read more...]

Baylor’s Class of 2011 includes one of Texas’ smallest surviving preemies

From the Baylor website: Another 2,000 graduates joined the ever-growing family of Baylor alumni over the weekend, as the Class of 2011 received their diplomas during commencement ceremonies at the Ferrell Center. (Click here for a slideshow of the weekend.)Among the graduates was Allyson Ray, a name that just might ring a bell way back in the memory of some Central Texans. Ray made headlines back in 1989 when she became the smallest baby in Texas ever to survive; born at just 14 ounces and … [Read more...]

John Paul II and Evangelicals: An Ecumenism of Reason and Life

That is the title of an essay I just published at HeadlineBistro.com, "a service of the Knights of Columbus dedicated to bringing readers the top, daily headlines that Catholics need to know."  My essay is one of several published this week by HeadlineBistro.com in celebration of the May 1, 2011 beatification of the late Pope John Paul II. My essay begins: As we reflect on the life of John Paul II at the eve of his beatification, we should remember the ways in which the late pontiff touched t … [Read more...]


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