Pro-Life Basics for a Post-Roe America
Two Helpful Videos
The great blessing of the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade finds most social conservatives out-of-practice in their thinking about abortion policy. We became just so used to the neutering of democratic deliberation on this issue. If the national debate about abortion remained prominent during the decade after the 1992 Casey decision, from the time of the second George W. Bush administration, it faded more and more from notice. The positions taken became rote, with little expectation that they would change anything. But in the wake of this week’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization news, debates about abortion law in the red and purple states are a sense underway already, happening in the text and email chains of state legislators as you read this. And to all Americans, whether they want it or not, a more general debate about abortion policies is on the way.
My quoting, in my last post, some of the most powerful passages from a chapter of Hadley Arkes’ Natural Rights and the Right to Choose, was meant to point those readers of this substack who are more political-philosophy and constitutional-law attuned back to a valuable book on the abortion debate.
In this post, I offer a few more resources useful for our needed refresher education on abortion, but ones of a less complicated kind.
First, here is one of four videos summarizing the arguments of professors Patrick Lee and Robert P. George in their essay “The Wrong of Abortion.” This argument is a purely moral one that does not involve the constitutional debate, and these videos feature the popular “sketch-pad” method of visual illustration.
Here are links to the second, third, and fourth parts of the video series; and here is one to the 15-page essay these short videos are based upon. Those who want to delve more deeply should seek out another work co-authored by George, this time a book with Christopher Tollefsen, Embryo: A Defense of Human Life.
Early in their book, George and Tollefsen deny that “premises from revelation or religious authority play any role whatsoever in the argumentation to follow.” The same applies to the essay by George and Lee.
Second, I would also like to share with you a video released by two rectors of my own denomination, the Anglican Church of North America, one of them my own pastor and friend, Fr. James Linton, of St. John’s Utah. Linton is very clear on the sorts of mistakes that pro-life Christians need to not make as the coming state legislative debates unfold. The Church, he says, must not accept anything less than “criminalizing abortion from the moment of conception,” and must not let certain language that was deployed in certain bills in hopes of snipping at the margins of the Roe abortion right, such as language about the ability of fetuses to feel pain, to diminish that central demand. In doing so, he sketches some of the core Biblical teaching that applies here, especially at 13:37-14:46.
So watch the videos, crack the books, and if you’re in an American state where leeway exists, begin to think about what you will say, as a individual citizen, or as a member of a religious body, to your state legislators.