Magazine article The Human Life Review

New Jersey: Another View on Abortion

Magazine article The Human Life Review

New Jersey: Another View on Abortion

Article excerpt

[The following is taken from the On the Right column by William F Buckley, Jr. ((D 1999. Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.)]

Two years ago, two fellow critics of the Supreme Court's decision in 1973 overturning the states' abortion laws, met to ask, How might opponents of abortion proceed to make their case and advance their arguments without slamming shut the gates on civilized political exchange?

At one of the initial meetings, Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition was there, as also Henry Hyde, the legislator; George Will, the columnist; and Peter Flanigan, a prominent figure on Wall Street who has engaged in civic and educational work throughout a productive career that included a term as assistant to President Nixon. After innumerable meetings and much correspondence, a statement emerged, endorsing a bill that has been introduced in the New Jersey Legislature. It is called the Post-Viability Abortion Ban Bill.

The common insight was to the effect that Republicans and Democrats should collaborate to make progress in modest measures toward the desirable goal, which of course would be a society in which abortion was voluntarily rejected by mothers as a means of dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Simply to call for a constitutional amendment (which will never happen), it was agreed, is to forfeit practical measures that might save individual lives by making incremental progress against abortion on demand.

One participant thought it useful to grab the brass ring held out by Gov. Christine Whitman's message of 1997 when she vetoed the bill outlawing partial-birth abortion (the bill was passed over her veto). Mrs. Whitman argued that she thought the attempted prohibition unconstitutional (the court subsequently affirmed her judgment), but suggested that a different formulation on the abortion question might be welcome.

State Sen. Joseph Kyrillos has introduced such a bill, which will be debated next fall. The organizers mobilized their little legion, and the legislation has been endorsed by nine men and women whose opposition to abortion has been categorical, but who believe that incremental progress is the reasonable way to go.

Charles Colson is a signatory, the learned and adamant head of the Prison Fellowship. Robert P. George is an illustrious legal and philosophical figure at Princeton University. …

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