The decision of the Supreme Court in June Medical Services v. Russo, a case which was previously covered in this blog, was a blow to pro-lifers trying to use the legislative process to chip away at abortion-on-demand. Chief Justice John Roberts, once again, joined with the liberal bloc to deliver a bad judgment. What went wrong?
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
One of the challenges of analyzing any jurisprudence by Roberts is that he seems to be inconsistent. Someone will guess his decision based on politics (he’s conservative…right?), and then he’ll flip. People talk about his commitment to the “legitimacy of the court,” and then he upholds a decision which he explicitly believes is wrong.
Roberts could have a grand, overarching plan for guiding jurisprudence over the course of decades, chipping away at old foundations to lay the groundwork for good decisions. But it more frequently feels like his pragmatism causes him to hurt conservative causes at critical junctures.
First, I’ll look at his explicit justification for the decision in Russo as he states it. I’m of the opinion that his surface-level obedience to stare decisis is not the only thing going on in his thinking. Roberts is playing something of a game with the rules of the Supreme Court, and I’ll explain what I think is going on later in this article.
Josh, Rachel, and Elijah Thompson from Dank Pro-Life Memes discuss the various ways pro-life advocates tend to define the word “abortion,” and how this can be confusing to pro-choice people. They also talk about tips for responding to life of the mother cases, and explain how some pro-choice advocates mean something completely different than we think when they ask about that.
I am sad to announce the resignation of Rachel Crawford as Director of Training, which becomes effective on July 24th, 2020. Rachel would like to thank all of our followers who support our work and have helped to bring our message to pro-life individuals who benefit from our content. She is excited to see what God has planned for her next!
Rachel had big shoes to fill when she stepped into Timothy Brahm’s position as Director of Training. Looking back at her work in the last year, it is clear to me that she not only filled those shoes well, she far exceeded my expectations. I think the best compliment a manager can give to a resigning employee is, “I would hire you again in a heartbeat.” And I can definitely say that about Rachel. She did great work, and she is always welcome back.
There is a new pro-choice argument that has begun to gain popularity. Many pro-life advocates have not heard of it yet, but to change minds on abortion, you need to know how to both identify and graciously refute it.
Estimated reading time: 26 minutes.
When I teach pro-life apologetics, I usually explain that there are two primary disagreements between the pro-life side and the pro-choice side and a bunch of distracting arguments that have grown from misunderstanding the issue at hand.
Most pro-life people are familiar with the first primary disagreement. These are pro-choice arguments that deny the humanity of the unborn child. These arguments about personhood definitions largely dominate the philosophical literature on abortion. People argue about what constitutes a person and then explain how the human embryo does or does not qualify. Notice that this is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. Science tells us what is killed during abortion: an embryo or fetus that is living, whole, and human. And philosophy tells us whether or not that human embryo’s life is valuable.
The second disagreement in the abortion debate is centered around bodily rights, in other words, the slogan that we have all heard before: “My body, my choice.” This argument is different from the first disagreement because it isn’t about whether or not abortion is killing a person. Instead, it argues whether the killing can be justified by the woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy.
A pro-choice person could agree with the pro-life community on the first personhood point, but still justify their position by arguing from bodily autonomy. However, it is more likely than the average pro-choice person will disagree with me on both points.
This new argument that I am going to refute today I am calling the “Abortion is Self-Defense Argument” and it doesn’t address either of these first two controversies. In fact, it can be used by someone who agrees with the pro-life position on both points, and that is one of the reasons I believe it seems so convincing on its face.
By modeling a high standard of courtesy in dialogue, you can raise the bar for everyone else, and going to great lengths to understand what she means is an incredibly courteous gesture.