Three MIT students reply to an editorial on abortion in their school's newspaper with an exceptional letter.
The question is not, as Yost states, “whether we choose to assign [the embryo] human rights,” but rather whether we choose to respect the rights inherent in every human being. As freely acting agents, we may choose to infringe upon the rights of a person (with or without good cause), but we cannot choose to rescind a human right because we did not grant that right in the first place. Simply by virtue of being human, all human beings are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” It is the duty of the state to protect those rights....
To deny the fundamental nature of the right to life is to deny the basis of all human rights. If, as Yost suggests, we were to accept the assignment of arbitrary precedence to human rights, we then must permit the justification of any infringement upon the rights of another. In a society where anyone can elevate their right to liberty or property or religion above another’s right to live, the weak are helpless before those who are able to assert their rights more strongly.
The National Catholic Register has a report on Fr. Charles Curran's talk at SMU on abortion and how he thinks the bishops are wrong to try to change abortion laws.
However, Curran states, the bishops’ thesis is wrong for four reasons:It seems that someome could use Curran's "speculative doubt" argument to argue that the bishops are wrong to think it should be illegal to kill infants.
* “The speculative doubt about when human life begins;
* “the fact that possibility and feasibility are necessary aspects involved in discussions about abortion law;
* “the understanding and role of civil law;
* “and the weakness of the intrinsic evil argument.”
Catholic tradition, from Thomas Aquinas to today, “recognizes speculative doubt about when the soul is infused or when the human person comes into existence,” said Curran. Aquinas is often cited as someone who, while opposing abortion, “held for delayed animation.” Critics often argue that Aquinas’s thinking on the matter suffered from the faulty biology of the day.
“But an opposing view sees Aquinas’s position of delayed animation as based on his philosophical understanding of hylomorphism, which sees matter and form as the constitutive causes of a being. The matter has to be suitable and capable of receiving the form.” Curran argues that “from the beginning, the matter of what we now call the fetus is not apt or suitable for receiving the human soul. Some growth and development are necessary before the human soul can be infused.”