Tuesday, 22 January 2013

"The court never dealt with the question of foetal personhood"

Transcrição completa, no inglês original, da entrevista a Francis Beckwith. Ver reportagem aqui.

Full transcript of interview with Francis Beckwith. See here for news story.

You have argued that Roe v. Wade is a weak decision from a legal point of view. Why is that?
There are several reasons. The court never, in a direct way, dealt with the question of foetal personhood. Though it did attempt to address it in several places it never really wrestled with the arguments in a serious way.

For example, when Roe v. Wade passed in 1973 most of the states prohibited abortion based on laws that had been in place since the 19th century and those laws were there because they were intended to protect unborn children. The court said that wasn’t the purpose of those laws, and it relied heavily on several law review articles that we know now are mistaken.

So that is one main reason, the other is that there had been, up until the 1960s a very long tradition, found in the Constitution, that the laws about Health and Morality come from the states, not from the Federal Government. So when the Supreme Court found a fundamental right to abortion in the Constitution it overturned a very long tradition of those types of laws being part of the powers of state governments.

Do you see Roe v. Wade being overturned?
I think it could happen. Right now the composition of the court is very, very close. If there was a decision now all it would do would be to send the question back to the states. So you would have would be the same situation as prior to Roe, people in different states making their case and you would have a hodgepodge of laws, so overturning Roe v. Wade would not prohibit abortion, all it would do would be to return the question to the states.

Next Friday thousands of people will march against abortion in Washington. How important are these marches?
I think they are very important, for several reasons. I think the way pro-lifers conduct themselves during these rallies sets a great example. They show themselves to be not angry, but people who want to protect unborn human life, and they do so obviously with deep conviction but also in a respectful way, which is really unusual when it comes to political rallies over such issues in which people disagree strongly.

It also shows political leaders, as well as other citizens, that there are people who hold these views and they are willing to publicly announce it and that gives encouragement to other pro-lifers and also tells politicians that these are people who need to be taken into consideration.

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