A Bad Faith Argument | WORLD
Most jurists agree that Roe vs. Wade
and Family planning c. Casey are on life support. Together, these two US Supreme Court decisions support America’s abortion empire. But a Mississippi case threatens to disconnect them both.
Intentionally, Dobbs vs. Jackson WomenHealth Organization presents a direct challenge to deer and Casey. The question before the court is simple: Does the US Constitution prohibit states from restricting abortion prior to fetal viability? deer
and Casey say yes. The prior restrictions on viability, which the court set at 24 weeks, unduly burden women who wish to have an abortion, the court found. Mississippi law, which protects unborn children from nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, says no. A state can protect unborn humans before viability. Therein lies the problem: the court cannot reasonably uphold a Mississippi law that protects the unborn child after 15 weeks without a strike deer and Casey, who say you can’t protect these children until they’re 24 weeks old. If the court overturns these cases, the alleged constitutional right to abortion no longer exists.
This is precisely the outcome pro-lifers hope for and pro-abortionists fear. Given what’s at stake, don’t expect everyone to fight fairly. One way we saw an imbalance in the type of argument allowed in the high court was the delegitimization of a religious argument by a judge.
Consider Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s questioning of Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart during closing arguments in the Dobbs case last month:
“How is your [state’s] interested in something other than a religious point of view? The question of the beginning of life has been hotly debated by philosophers since the dawn of time. It is still debated in religions. So when you say it’s the only right that takes away the state’s ability to protect a life, that’s a religious view, isn’t it? »
Sotomayor’s “religious” objection to the pro-life argument picks up the most popular talking point among street-level abortion advocates. A Supreme Court judge should be better informed.
First, the arguments are valid or not, valid or invalid. To call an argument “religious” is avoidance, not rebuttal. Pro-lifers argue that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings, and abortion does that, therefore, it is wrong. If Sotomayor thinks she can refute that argument with evidence, life advocates welcome the challenge. But it will not be enough for him to reject it with a label.
Second, how does it follow that because people disagree about the beginning of life, there is no right answer? People used to disagree about slavery and women’s rights. Does this mean that there was no truth to know about these matters? Moreover, if disagreement means there are no right answers, Sotomayor’s argument is refuted because pro-lifers disagree with him. The question of the beginning of life is not a theological question. This is empirical, and the evidence from the science of embryology is clear: Judge Sotomayor did not simply arise from an embryo; her once has been
Third, the clear implication of Sotomayor’s question—that Mississippi law wrongfully imposes a religious view and is therefore unconstitutional—is flawed. The defenders of life do not impose their points of view. Rather, we propose them in the hope of persuading our fellow citizens to vote for them. This is how a constitutional republic like ours works, and this is precisely what is happening in Mississippi. Defenders of life, through their elected representatives, have the right to participate in their own government, like everyone else. They do not seek to establish a theocracy that they impose on non-Christians, only a more just society for the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family.
Fourth, it is no more religious to claim that unborn humans before viability have value and a right to life than to claim that they do not. Both statements answer the exact same question: what makes humans valuable in the first place? This philosophical (and theological) question has no neutral foundation. Either you believe that every human being has an equal right to life, or you don’t. The pro-life view is that humans are inherently valuable by virtue of the kind of thing they are. The pro-abortion view is that humans are only of value because of an acquired property like self-awareness or sentience. Note that both positions – pro-life and pro-abortion – use philosophical reflection to answer the question: what makes humans valuable in the first place? So if the pro-life viewpoint is disqualified from asking theological questions, so is the pro-abortion viewpoint.
To dismiss arguments with a false appeal to religion is intellectually dishonest. Anyone who cares about the rule of law has a question about Dobbs: Does the Constitution prohibit restricting abortion before viability? Judge Sotomayor should stick to this question rather than argue in bad faith.