Introduction

By McFadden, Maria | The Human Life Review, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Introduction


McFadden, Maria, The Human Life Review


ANNIVERSARIES ARE A NATURAL invitation to reflect on the past, to relive memories as well as to ponder the changes that have taken place since the remembered event. The 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22, 2003) is a prevalent theme in this issue of the Review, as our contributors join many in the pro-life movement in taking stock of our struggle.

Our lead article takes as its starting point, however, another anniversary-it has been twenty years since the unveiling of the Seamless Garment, the sanctity of life strategy, if you will, offered in 1983 by the late Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin. James Hitchcock, prolific Catholic author and professor of history at St. Louis University, critiques the concept of the Seamless Garment and its effects, specifically on liberal Catholics. He confronts the liberal Catholic community with its own record on abortion-as chronicled in the weekly paper, the National Catholic Reporter, the "principal organ of American liberal Catholicism for almost forty years."

Although the paper formally accepts the Catholic position on abortion, Hitchcock finds little evidence in its pages of pro-life commitment. Focusing on the January 17th issue, which was largely devoted to assessing thirty years of Roe, Hitchcock objects to the tone set by left-friendly pro-life activist John Cavanaugh O'Keefe, who pronounced the "pro-life movement a failure." Hitchcock writes:

Although pro-lifers of course regret their failure to achieve their ultimate goals, the movement has had a profound effect on American society scarcely noticed by the NCR's writers. The movement has successfully blocked most kinds of public funding of abortion and has finally achieved legislation to prohibit partial-birth abortions. . . . Above all the movement has kept the issue alive in the United States, in contrast to most other Western countries.

That last point resonates-when my late father, founding editor J.P. McFadden, began his anti-abortion campaign soon after Roe, he sought, at the very least, to keep the issue alive. He worked relentlessly, for the rest of his life, to do that, to keep the issue an issue, amidst the ups and (crushing) downs of the legislative struggles, believing the very worst thing that could happen to American society would be for abortion to cease being controversial.

My father was also among the anti-abortion activists whom Hitchcock remembers as being "sceptical, even dismayed" by Cardinal Bernardin's Seamless Garment. Whatever good intentions there may have been-to transcend, for example, single-issue politics-critics of the approach feared the message of inclusivity would "distract Catholics from the primacy of the abortion issue," and actually lend "legitimacy to the pro-abortion stance by broadening the definition of pro-life." Hitchcock argues here that this is precisely what occurred.

Some of our readers may disagree with the severity of Hitchcock's assessment (though I have no doubt my father would find it on-target). The fact is, though many wish it were not so, there are substantial disagreements among those committed to the pro-life struggle, obviously not just within the Catholic community. Our next piece illustrates another such debate-about the Constitution. "Constitutional Persons: An Exchange on Abortion," between Nathan Schlueter and Robert Bork, caught our eye-it appeared originally in one of our favorite journals, First Things. Schlueter begins by energetically objecting to a position held by many pro-life leaders, a position he calls the "restoration interpretation": that "a proper reading of the Constitution would reject the concept of a privacy right to abortion, and thus return the nation to the pre-Roe status quo" in which abortion law would be "left to the states." Against this position he posits what he believes is the "proper" interpretation-the "unborn person interpretation": that is, "one which would extend the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to unborn persons. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Introduction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.