The Morality of Undercover Prolife Work

Janet Smith gave a great plenary address at this years UFL Conference on the question of whether it is morally permissible to lie to abortion clinic workers to obtain the truth about their practices.  She notes at the outset that both St. Thomas and St. Augustine believed that all lies are immoral, but in some circumstances are venial sins.  She questions these conclusions, asking whether these saints have adequately taken into account the fallen nature of this world.  For a good introduction to the debate over lying to get the truth about abortion clinics, look at her First Things essay, Why Tollefsen and Pruss are Wrong about Lying.

Teresa Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches bioethics, property law, and constitutional law. A nationally prominent speaker and scholar, she is active in attempts to rebuild the Culture of Life and protect the institutions of marriage and family. She often represents groups of state legislators, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association in appellate case related to medical-legal matters. She represented the governors of Minnesota and North Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court as amici curiae regarding the effectiveness of those states’ parental involvement laws. She has served as special attorney general for Oklahoma and Kansas related to legislation designed to protect the well-being of minors and unborn children. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittees on the Constitution, as well as numerous legislative committees in the states.