Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The March 2004 First Things
is now online. Here's a short article from that issue, by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus's "While We're At It" section.

"I don’t mean to pick on Wesley Clark. On this question there is no substantive difference between him and other politicians who strive to prove their impeccable pro-abortion credentials. But the language is different. “I’m not going to be appointing judges who are pro-life,” he told the Manchester Union Leader. One imagines an aide whispering, 'Our people do not say "pro-life," General.' Clark also told the paper, 'Until the moment of birth, the government has no right to influence a mother’s decision on whether to have an abortion.' That would seem to go beyond Roe v. Wade, which allows that there is a government interest in unborn life, at least in its later stages, if the mother has no 'health' reason for wanting an abortion, which includes psychological health, which means she has a right to an abortion if she would be distressed by not having an abortion. Again, the difference is not substantive, but the general’s language is strikingly blunt. Then, on the allegedly complex but obviously obvious question of when life begins, the general accepts the price of medical and metaphysical incoherence in order to win the Most Candid Candidate Award. He says, 'Life begins with the mother’s decision.' (Unless, presumably, she later decides to have the child killed.) Clark’s statement does have the quasi-Cartesian clarity that drives the pro-abortion movement, even if most of them hesitate to put it so unequivocally: I decide this is not a human life; ergo this is not a human life. More generally stated: I think it is not; ergo it is not. The principle has breathtakingly large potential for the alleviation of inconvenient reality. Yes, there is a price to be paid, but is sanity really so important? "


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