Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beckwith on Roe v. Wade

The esteemed Francis Beckwith marks a grim anniversary.


  1. Thanks for noting this. A small personal reflection on the date sub specie aeternitas: . Plus a related post about Planned Parenthood and MLK, Jr.:


  2. Beckwith's '06 article: "The federal court ruled that the Texas law was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and infringed on a woman’s right to reproductive freedom". [italics added]

    Now, tell me, what is vague? I don't know if the Court used the term "reproductive freedom", and although everyone knows what it really means (the ability to obtain an unrestricted abortion) it is, nevertheless, one of those phrases that, when parsed, is very odd. How an abortion, which is the opposite of reproduction, is linked is quite a linguistic trick.

    Someone that regularly posts here, and someone to whom we owe more than a little, in a recent essay on property rights, wrote: Thus, as one classical natural law theorist has put it, “the rights of all men are limited by the end for which the rights were given”; and, therefore, to cite another, "there can never be a right to that which is immoral.

    But none of this matters. The Court is a de facto legislative body, and no one remembers a time when its powers were very limited. Indeed, that rulings like this are allowed to stand demonstrates how any practical constraints on the justices are self limited--they can pretty much get away with anything; perhaps they simply don't know it yet, or perhaps their hubris is restrained only by an atavistic vestige of propriety that, today, is almost anachronistic.

    On the other hand, the idea of placing "originalists" on the court is naive. Until such grotesque abberations as the incorporation doctrine and the commerce clause are fixed, nothing is guaranteed to change.

  3. How an abortion, which is the opposite of reproduction, is linked is quite a linguistic trick.

    If it we're mandated that you had to buy health insurance, would you accept that you had "health care freedom" just because you were given a choice of plans from which you had to choose?