Roe v. Wade @36 part 2

further to Ed Whelan’s point below regarding the effect of Roe v. Wade in bypassing democratic processes, here is Father Neuhaus’ article regarding this awful anniversary.

These are the issues addressed in a remarkable new book out this month from Princeton University Press, The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right, by Jon Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. The book is by no means a pro-life tract. It is an excruciatingly careful study, studded with the expected graphs and statistical data—but not to the point of spoiling its readability—in the service of probing the curious permutations in contemporary political alignments.

The Port Huron Statement issued by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1962 called for a participatory democracy in which, through protest and agitation, the “power structure” of the society would be transformed by bringing moral rather than merely procedural questions to the center of political life. Almost fifty years later, Shields notes, “some 45 percent of respondents in the Citizens Participation Survey who reported participating in a national protest did so because of abortion. What is more, nearly three quarters of all abortion-issue protesters are pro-life, an unsurprising fact given that the pro-life movement is challenging rather than defending the current policy regime. Meanwhile, all other social issues, including pornography, gay rights, school prayer, and sex education, account for only 3 percent of all national protest activity.”

The pro-life movement is a movement for change, indeed for what some view as the radical change of eliminating the unlimited abortion license. “Meanwhile,” writes Shields, “the pro-choice movement is a conservative movement defending the status quo. Pro-choicers have little to gain from engaging their opponents and from the deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion.” And, of course, they have the establishment media massively on their side. The head of New York State Right to Life explained to Shields that “a major part of her work is simply trying to convince journalists that pro-life activists are ‘normal.’ It is hard to imagine a pro-choice leader describing her work that way.”

emphasis added.

by the way, a book I read a couple of years ago demonstrates how effectively the pro life side has utilized the necessity of having to use “deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion.” Ramesh Ponnuru has masted the art. I highly recommend his book to anyone interested in seeing a tightly argued comprehensive defense of life.

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