Supreme Court invalidates Texas abortion law (H.B. 2)

By a 5-3 vote, the US Supreme Court today invalidated two key features of Texas’s H.B. 2. In an opinion by Justice Breyer, the Court invalidated the requirement that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals and the requirement that abortion clinics meet the standards Texas sets for ambulatory surgical centers. Here is a link to the opinion.

Because the vote was 5-3, Justice Scalia’s participation in the decision would not have affected the outcome.

Justice Thomas’s dissent notes that the decision “exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.'” He continued: “I write separately to emphasize how today’s decision perpetuates the Court’s habit of applying different rules to different constitutional rights–especially the putative right to abortion.”

Richard M.

Bachiochi on Dignity and Autonomy

Erika Bachiochi, visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, recently wrote an article, “Abortion and the Supreme Court’s Misguided Notions of ‘Autonomy’,” for National Review about the relationship of “dignity” to “autonomy” in Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence. In it she contrasts the American version of “dignity” influenced by Kant and Mill with the European version, which relies more heavily on the Judeo-Christian intellectual tradition, leading to more restrictive abortion laws.

British Medical Association rejects move to change position on assisted suicide

Here is a link to a blog post by Dr. Peter Saunders reporting on this positive development. This news from England comes at the same time as the American Medical Association’s unfortunate decision to approve a resolution to study the question of assisted suicide.

Richard M.

The Scholarly Achievement Award

The University Faculty for Life Scholarly Achievement Award in Creative Writing, Literary Criticism, or Research has encouraged students since 2004 to submit their best academic work for the cause of life.  The five essays and literary contributions received in the Creative Writing and Research categories total 24,054 mellifluous words, 94 lugubrious footnotes, and 773 scholarly bibliographic entries—figures almost equaling last year’s contributions.

The judges for the context were Dr. Jeff Koloze of Koloze Consultants and Walsh University, Dr. Sandra Coyle, in the English Department at Jacksonville University, and Dr. Clara Sarrocco of the Institute of Religious Studies.  Please know that the judges greatly appreciate that you, the faculty, took time from your schedules to promote the contest and to encourage your students to submit their best work.  Thank you!

Of the five entries, four were awarded honorable mentions.  In the Creative Writing category, honorable mentions go to:

  • Allie Dawson, a Philosophy and Literature student at Ave Maria University, for her short story “Her Actions Are His Dreams”


  • Anna Robinson, a student at Immaculata University, for her poem “The Joy of Love”

In the Research category, honorable mentions go to:

  • Jess Adkins, a PhD student in the Philosophy program at St. Louis University, for her essay “Robbed of Life: A Thomistic Position on Terminal Sedation”


  • Kathryn Harvey, who graduated with an MA in Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University, for her essay “Matters of Life and Death: A Roman Catholic Perspective on Physician Assisted Suicide”

Finally, the winner of this year’s University Faculty for Life Scholarly Achievement Award in the Research category is

  • Isaac Longworth, a student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, for his essay “The Societal Impact of Victim Photography”

Here is an excerpt from his essay:

[W]e cannot shy away from exposing the full horror of abortion by use of pictures, merely because it might shock or offend people.  In fact, the very nature of aborted victim imagery should evoke feelings of shock, sorrow, and outrage because abortion itself is shocking, sorrowful, and outrageous.  These are natural emotions a person should feel when faced with visual evidence of the brutal slaughter of the youngest of our kind.  Use of these images will no doubt draw ire from pro-abortion individuals and groups, but, if the pro-life movement is not making the pro-abortion movement nervous and angry, then perhaps it is not doing its job well enough.  The pro-abortion movement fears images of aborted children, because these images show two things at the same time, namely: the humanity of the preborn child, and the inhumanity of abortion.

The University Faculty for Life Essay Contest is a significant way that pro-life students can be challenged to build their publication portfolios, to be recognized by pro-life academics for their work, and, most importantly, to exercise their talents to advance the cause of life.  This year’s entries continue to demonstrate that students are willing to use their talents for life-affirming purposes with encouragement from you, their faculty.  With your cooperation, let us hope that next year’s contest will inspire students to submit even more challenging work.

[Thanks to Jeff Koloze for this report. Ed.]

2016 UFL Life and Learning Conference

The University Faculty for Life held its annual Life and Learning Conference at Marquette University in Milwaukee from June 10-11. The focus this year’s conference was on end-of-life issues.

The conference featured three plenary sessions, several break-out sessions, and a panel discussion of brain death as a criterion for determining when death occurs.

Plenary speakers included

  • Timothy Jessick, DO, Specialist in Hospice and Palliative Care, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee.
  • Thomas Cavanaugh (University of San Francisco) whose talk was called, “Let Me Count the Ways: Why Physicians Ought Not Kill.”
  • Christopher Wolfe (University of Dallas) whose talk was called, “Washington v. Glucksberg and Physician-Assisted Suicide: A Pyrrhic Victory?”

Discussants in the brain death panel included: Christopher Tollefsen (University of South Carolina); Fr. Thomas Berg (St. Joseph’s Seminary); Jason Eberl (Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine); Maureen Condic (University of Utah School of Medicine); Robert Buchanan, M.D. (University of Texas at Austin); Melissa Moschella (The Catholic University of America); Christian Brugger (St. John Vianney Theological Seminary); Josef Seifert (International Academy of Philosophy); and Thomas Cavanaugh (University of San Francisco).

At the evening banquet on Saturday Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J. of Fordham University received the Rupert and Timothy Smith Award for Distinguished Contributions to Pro-Life Scholarship. Jeff Koloze also announded the winners of the 2016 Scholarly Achievement Award (see separate post for details).

As usual, Saturday evening featured the post-banquet gathering where members stood on a “chair” (actually a stage) and shared highlights of their past year.  There were jokes as well, and other forms of conviviality.

The Presidents’ Reception


Dr. James P. Loftus, President of Cardinal Stritch University and Dr. Michael R. Lovell, President of Marquette University, meet with UFL members at a reception on Friday evening.




Dr. Timothy Jessick describes and explains the reality of hospice care.


Jason Eberl takes a position in the brain death panel discussion.



Lunch on Saturday allowed participants to discuss the various talks and panels.

Smith Award


President of UFL R. Mary Lemmons presents the Smith Award Fr. Koterski.

Beckwith on 21st century arguments for life

Frank Beckwith was interviewed by Reformed pro-life activist Jonathon Van Maren in “Pro-Life Arguments for the 21st Century: Dr. Francis J. Beckwith & Jonathon Van Maren.” He talks about the popular and academic arguments that are effective in the 21st century.