National Personhood Alliance and Incrementalism

Recently a debate has sprung up in the pro-life movement about the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable legal incrementalism. The newly-formed National Personhood Alliance is promoting a version of incrementalism that excludes bills which explicitly mention exceptions where abortions would be allowed, such as rape and incest. Their argument is that any bill that explicitly excludes a category of unborn from the protection due to persons is immoral and unacceptable as a form of incrementalism. They do allow, however, bills that only protect some unborn, but do not mention exceptions. An example of this kind of bill would be the 20 week abortion ban. For the NPA, a bill is acceptable if it would not be overturned by a personhood-from-fertilization amendment.

The NPA works in cooperation with Personhood USA. According to, Notre Dame Law Professor Emeritus Charles Rice has endorsed the NPA, as has Catholic Bishop Kagan, of Bismarck, North Dakota.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide researchers, FYI.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recommends this research:

Loving Samuel: Suffering, Dependence, and the Calling of Love by Aaron D. Cobb

Pro-life literature colleagues, FYI: brief review of Loving Samuel: Suffering, Dependence, and the Calling of Love by Aaron D. Cobb.


Life Affirming Choices

Peter Colosi is featured in a new video, “Life Affirming Choices,” produced for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The movie looks at end-of-life ethical issues by focusing on the story of a young man, Brenden Flynn, who suffered a significant brain injury in an accident when he was eighteen. Colosi and several other provide a theoretical framework for the events in Flynn’s life and for the life-affirming choices Flynn’s parents made.

Biotechnology and the spirituality of St. Francis

At the 2013 Life and Learning Conference in San Francisco, William Hurlbut, Ph.D., gave a memorable plenary talk called ““Stem Cells, Eggs and Embryos: the Controversy Continues.” A friend recently told me about a talk that Dr. Hurlbut gave called “Biotechnology & The Spirituality of Saint Francis.” Here is a link to the audio of the talk. In the talk Hurlbut contrasts our biotechnological culture and its values of avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure with the self-sacrificing “romance” of St. Francis’s spirituality. 

Mississippi abortion case

On July 29, 2014, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed an injunction preventing enforcement of Mississippi’s law requiring that abortionists have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Here is a link to a National Right to Life News story on the case.  See

Judge Emilio Garza’s dissent is a persuasive account of the errors in the majority opinion.

Richard M.