I was impressed by how well this article articulates some of the root issues in the discussion of life in regard to our current presidential administration.
Professor Kmiec and I share common ground in the belief that every member of the human family—irrespective of race, class, and ethnicity, but also irrespective of age, size, location, stage of development or condition of dependency—is entitled to our care and respect and to the equal protection of our laws. This is what it means to be pro-life. . .
[Obama speaking] “Now understand, understand, class of 2009, I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it . . . the fact is that at some level the views of the two camps are irreconcilable.”
So it is clear that what divides us . . . is not whether the being whose life is taken in abortion and in embryo-destructive research is a living individual of the human species—a human being; it is whether all human beings, or only some, possess fundamental dignity and a right to life. Professor Kmiec and I affirm, and the President denies, that every human being, even the youngest, the smallest, the weakest and most vulnerable at the very dawn of their lives, has a life which should be respected and protected by law. The President holds, and we deny, that those in the embryonic and fetal stages of human development may rightly and freely be killed because they are unwanted or potentially burdensome to others, or because materials obtained by dissecting them may be useful in biomedical research. . .
Professor Kmiec and I believe in the equal fundamental rights of all, including the equality of mother and child. We recognize that women with undesired pregnancies can undergo serious hardships, and we believe that a just and caring society will concern itself with the well-being of mothers as well as their children. We agree with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who by precept and example taught us to reach out in love to care for mother and child alike, never supposing that love for one entails abandoning care and concern for the other. . .
One wishes that President Obama had listened carefully, and with an open mind and an open heart, to the pleas of Mother Teresa during her last visit to the United States. Her message was that a pregnant woman in need is not in need of the violence of abortion. What she and her child need are love and care—love and care from all of us. Our task, Mother reminded us, as individuals and as a society, is to love and care for mother and child alike. . .
On which issues will we support the President’s direction, and on which will we challenge him because he is heading in the wrong direction? Those pro-life Americans who voted for him and support him should not object when we speak for the most vulnerable and defenseless of our fellow human beings, even when that means severely criticizing the President’s policies. They should stand with us on common ground, and join their voices with ours.
Robert George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, and is a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. He sits on the editorial board of Public Discourse. This article is based on the text of remarks given at a debate between Robert P. George and Douglas W. Kmiec at the National Press Club on May 28, 2009.
Sweden is now approving gender-based abortions. We continue down the slippery slope.
I couldn’t help revisiting this video.
-Tim C. Williams