Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Abortion as religion

Ann Althouse blogged on a Washington Post column "about a woman who, as a Jehovah's Witness, refused to accept a blood transfusion, and suffered the loss of her unborn child and then the loss of her own life". Quoting from the column,
"'Refusal of a lifesaving intervention by an informed patient is generally well respected, but the rights of a mother to refuse such interventions on behalf of her fetus [sic] is more controversial,' [doctors at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Australia wrote in a letter published this month in the Internal Medicine Journal]. 'A doctor indeed has moral obligations to both the pregnant woman, and perhaps with differing priority to the unborn fetus [sic].'"
Althouse remarks,
"Why did the WaPo columnist — By Elahe Izadi— or WaPo editor put '[sic]' after 'fetus'? The child died in utero. It seems as though somebody wants to get some distance between abortion rights and religious freedom rights. But that separation is not justified. Abortion rights — in America anyway — are premised on the woman's right to form her own beliefs:
'At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.' [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (U.S. Supreme Court, 1992)
"That's religion. Face it. Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?"

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