Here's a sneak peek!
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What do the Stoics, Jewish scholars, Aristotle, and modern-day physicians have in common?
The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade treated the Stoics, Jewish scholars, Aristotle, and modern-day physicians as equally valid, competing sources of wisdom on the question of when a human life begins. Let that sink in. In 1973, seven of the nine most powerful jurists in the United States turned a blind eye to the reality of life in the womb – and to justify it, they cited the opinions of people who lived hundreds, even thousands of years ago, people who did not have the benefit of the scientific method, let alone ultrasound technology.
This is what the Court said in Roe:
We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.
It should be sufficient to note briefly the wide divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult question. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. This was the belief of the Stoics. It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith.And then the Court speaks about Protestantism for a bit, and about English common law, I’m going to skip ahead, pick up the quote again:
The Aristotelian theory of mediate animation, that held sway throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, continued to be official Roman Catholic dogma until the 19th century, despite opposition to this ensoulment theory from those in the Church who would recognize the existence of life from the moment of conception. The latter is now, of course, the official belief of the Catholic Church. As one brief amicus discloses, this is a view strongly held by many non-Catholics as well, and by many physicians.In a legal system with separation of church and state, and in a country that values policymaking based in reality, of that entire list, the only source worth mentioning is “many physicians.” That should have been dispositive. What do the physicians say? What do the scientists say? No offense to the Stoics, but their thoughts on prenatal development have no business guiding our laws today. Perhaps we should count ourselves lucky that the Supreme Court didn’t cite Spartan philosophy, which permitted infanticide.
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