In light of the recent birth control controversy, there’s been a revived discussion about abortion and the “personhood” of babies, especially after a paper justifying the aborting of newborns was published in a major journal. Also, in response to rising criticisms for how the Obama administration has abused their seizure of Executive power to pretty scary levels, Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, gave a speech [transcript] at Northwestern University on Monday defending the administration’s actions. Today’s articles deal with these issues.
Grab some coffee, and let’s go.
If you read nothing else from this post, please let it be this. I found myself crying in the middle of the coffee-shop I was in as I read this. Please, anyone, help give me a reasonable framework from which to respond to this. I need something beyond empty rhetoric, powerless outrage and sadness, and unrealistic policy aspirations. And also, please, if you find yourself on the pro-choice side of this, I would love your thoughts on this topic after reading this post. I’m really struggling here.
Such a good article giving a brief–yet substantive–analysis of Holder’s speech and how it holds up to legal, moral, and common-sensical scrutiny. Please read this. Also, for a very comprehensive (yet fairly brief and easy-to-read) summary of the history and background of this all-important topic and its relevance today, CFR put together this Backgrounder.
This article is exactly what it sounds like. It is a fairly damning piece about the ways that the Obama administration–contrary to its own lofty campaign promises–has made itself the most secret-obsessed, closed off, and seemingly paranoid administration in our history when it comes to secrecy, openness, and transparency.
A paper recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics got some publicity for arguing that not only do fetuses and newborns equally “do not have the same moral status as actual persons”, but that adoption is not “always in the best interest of actual people”. This is a Catholic social blog’s reaction to that paper, as well as implications for how this thinking could develop in the future. It draws interesting parallels to other ideas we once thought were “heinous” but are now somewhat accepted by some.
I can’t seem to have any of these “Must-Reads” without throwing a Greenwald article. This is surely one of the most comprehensive and in-depth analyses of Holder’s speech you will find anywhere. And this is from the mind of a man that spent over 20-years doing Constitutional and civil rights litigation.
A very interesting post that chronicles attempts to address subset of abortions: the termination of children found to have Down’s Syndrome. The author writes about the limitations of much “pro-life” legislative advocacy (for example, if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, then abortion wouldn’t be outlawed, it would merely become a state issue, and woman wanting an abortion would need only travel to their nearest state allowing abortions to get it done.) The author provides some simple, common-sensical responses, as well as some even more substantive–albeit lofty and idealistic-sounding–goals to further prevent abortions in America.
Well this was an interesting one that some friends sent me. It’s basically a Catholic saying that Bishop’s do not represent the Church, and their authority doesn’t need to be followed by Obama. As a Protestant, I believe that this is, in a sense, correct. I believe we are all ultimately subjected to our own Christian consciences as a priesthood of believers. And yet, as one friend pointed out, this author doesn’t use any Scripture to back up what he’s saying about these weighty religious authority issues. All I mean by bringing that up is that we will all always be found appealing to some sort of authority in religious matters. The only question is “what is that authority our trust is in?” Catholics quite reasonably and wisely believe that we should trust the long history of those that people in the Church have found trustworthy with such things (Protestants tend to over-compensate and say none of this is trust-worthy, only the Bible is). This author seems to view himself and his intuition as the ultimate authority in this. He’s a philosopher, after all; his reasonable, trustworthy, stable, and authoritative “gut” will guide him to truth (and presumably us–should we refer to him as “Bishop Gutting, then, perhaps?)–not the pesky, fickle, cantankerous, subjective Church. Ugh.
This talks about the upcoming legislation laying the groundwork for domestic use of unmanned surveillance drones in the United States, and how the legislative and legal groundwork is already being laid for a more-or-less perpetual police state. I know that sounds conspiratorial. Just read it. I promise I’m not crazy. Admittedly, this site looks like it’s by one of those more obscure, online ad-obsessed bloggers who fancies himself far more influential than he actually is. Eat the meat, spit out the bones, right?
This is a Catholic legal blog’s response to the paper on killing newborns. The title references Peter Singer, an “ethicist” famous for his similar justification of killing humans even up to small children, still withholding “personhood” from them. The implication is that no matter how famous he got, his views in this area were always seen as “radical”. Now, it seems, they are becoming increasingly “mainstream”.