Once each person is no longer taken as an unquestionable given, eventually everyone will have to show that he/she has a life of net positive value (is justified in living) in order for it to be thought reasonable for him/her to go on living.
Here is a link to Michael Paulsen’s paper entitled “The Insistent Analogy to Slavery.”http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2395002
This paper was presented at the “Roe at 40″ conference at Washington & Lee Law School. The conference was supported by University Faculty for Life, among others, and largely came about through the hard work of Sam Calhoun. The papers from the conference, including Professor Paulsen’s paper, will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Washington & Lee Law Review.
It looks like the “contraception reduces abortion” trope is beginning to lose its power, even among abortion providers. This LifeSiteNews article, “Two-thirds of women seeking abortions were using contraception: Britain’s largest abortion provider,” highlights many studies and statements, even by abortion promoters and providers, that contraception not only doesn’t reduced abortion rates, but actually increases them. The article focuses on a recent study by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, “UK’s largest abortion provider,” that two-thirds of women who have abortions were using contraception at the time they conceived their child.
Here are a couple of articles about the recent Guttmacher study that shows that abortion rates are declining in the U.S. Guttmacher speculates that the reason for the decline is contraception use. The first NRO article, “U.S. Abortion Rate Falls to Its Lowest Level Since 1973,” by UFL member Michael New, shows that Guttmacher’s explanations for the decline lack a basis in their data. The second “Regulating Abortion Reduces Abortion,” by James Heaney, shows how Guttmacher’s own date supports the assertion that stricter abortion laws have reduced the incidents of abortion.
UFL member Pete Colosi gave a talk about the importance of specifically religious discourse in public square debates about moral issues, including esp. the life issues. He focuses on the dialogue between Habermas, Pera, and Benedict XVI/Ratzinger. He points out, for instance, that Habermas promotes the idea that religious ideas should have equal footing in public discourse, according the same kind of respect by secularists that any other ideas are afforded. He thinks that society at large and secularists specifically can learn from specifically religious arguments for moral positions. Pera, an atheist, even holds that even if no one actually believes in the doctrines of Christianity, that civilization will only survive if we build our public life on the principles of Christian (Catholic) Social Teaching as articulated by believers. Ratzinger, although he agrees with Habermas and Pera, further argues, that there needs to be the Christian witness of persons who have a living faith in order for the teachings to having positive effect in the public life of society. Here is a video of the talk, “Ratzinger, Habermas and Pera on Public Reason and Religion.”
We must pick up and use the fact that the abortion rate is declining, rather than get sidetracked into a fight about its immediate causes and consequences. Even if it were true (which I doubt) that the greater availability of contraceptives (rather than pro-life educational and law reform efforts) is the primary cause of this decline, and the greater use of contraceptives (rather than more babies being born) is its primary consequence, this trend would be extremely advantagous for the pro-life movement.