Tag Archives: Abortion

Cherry, “Faith, Family, and Filipino American Community Life”

Last month, Rutgers University published Faith, Family, and Filipino ProductImageHandlerAmerican Community Life, by Stephen M. Cherry (University of Houston-Clear Lake). The publisher’s description follows.

Stephen M. Cherry draws upon a rich set of ethnographic and survey data, collected over a six-year period, to explore the roles that Catholicism and family play in shaping Filipino American community life. From the planning and construction of community centers, to volunteering at health fairs or protesting against abortion, this book illustrates the powerful ways these forces structure and animate not only how first-generation Filipino Americans think and feel about their community, but how they are compelled to engage it over issues deemed important to the sanctity of the family.

Revealing more than intimate accounts of Filipino American lives, Cherry offers a glimpse of the often hidden but vital relationship between religion and community in the lives of new immigrants, and allows speculation on the broader impact of Filipino immigration on the nation. The Filipino American community is the second-largest immigrant community in the United States, and the Philippines is the second-largest source of Catholic immigration to this country. This ground-breaking study outlines how first-generation Filipino Americans have the potential to reshape American Catholicism and are already having an impact on American civic life through the engagement of their faith.

Liviatan on Abortion and Islam in Cultural Debates

Ofrit Liviatan (Harvard) has published an article, “From Abortion to Islam: The Changing Function of Law in Europe’s Cultural Debates,” in the current volume of the Fordham International Law Journal. Here’s the abstract:

The Article rethinks the law’s role in present-day European debates over Islam in light of its calming effects on the once fiercely-fought abortion reforms across Western Europe. Using examples from Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland the article demonstrates that the role of the legal process in each of these culture-based debates diverged along its two social functions. Reflecting growing public anxieties, legal actions concerning Muslims typically focused on generating social and cultural change, foreclosing the likelihood of political compromises. In contrast, at the time of abortion reform legal measures acted as mechanisms of social and cultural order, contributing to the pacification of the fierce public controversies even as moral disagreements over abortion endured. Drawing on this comparison, the article suggests that Europe’s constitutional review processes present a compromise-building path to deliberate contemporary conflicts over Islam.

The Article proceeds in three parts. Part II and III analyze the legal developments in the context of Islam and abortion across Western Europe, revealing a contrasting dynamics in the roles of the legal process in each of these debates. Part IV assesses the effects of the legal process in each of the debates and rules out alternative explanations for this divergence. It argues that the factor of time or European secularization cannot account for the current intensity-difference in each of these debates. The article concludes by proposing a path to launch the currently absent constitutional conversation over Islamic-based tensions in Western Europe. Modeled on abortion reform, constitutional courts should reach beyond proportional balancing and dictate policy frameworks addressing both the roots of Muslim disadvantages and the anxieties of the European public.

Wilson, “The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America’s Culture Wars”

This August, Stanford University Press will publish The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America’s Culture Wars, written by Joshua C. the street politics of abortionWilson (University of Denver).  The publisher’s description follows.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade stands as a historic victory for abortion-rights activists. But rather than serving as the coda to what had been a comparatively low-profile social conflict, the decision mobilized a wave of anti-abortion protests and ignited a heated struggle that continues to this day.  Picking up the story in the contentious decades that followed Roe, The Street Politics of Abortion is the first book to consider the rise and fall of clinic-front protests through the 1980s and 1990s, the most visible and contentious period in U.S. reproductive politics. Joshua Wilson considers how street level protests lead to three seminal Court decisions—Planned Parenthood v. Williams, Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western N.Y., and Hill v. Colorado. The eventual demise of street protests via these cases taught anti-abortion activists the value of incremental institutional strategies that could produce concrete policy gains without drawing the public’s attention. Activists on both sides ultimately moved—often literally—from the streets to fight in state legislative halls and courtrooms.

At its core, the story of clinic-front protests is the story of the Christian Right’s mercurial assent as a force in American politics. As the conflict moved from the street, to the courts, and eventually to legislative halls, the competing sides came to rely on a network of lawyers and professionals to champion their causes. New Christian Right institutions—including Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice and the Regent University Law School, and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law—trained elite activists for their “front line” battles in government. Wilson demonstrates how the abortion-rights movement, despite its initial success with Roe, has since faced continuous challenges and difficulties, while the anti-abortion movement continues to gain strength in spite of its losses.

Supreme Court to Hear Abortion Protest Restriction Case

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in McCullen v. Coakley, a case out of Massachusetts involving a free speech challenge to a law that makes it a crime for speakers other than clinic “employees or agents…acting within the scope of their employment” “to enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk” within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of a “reproductive health care facility.” The Court’s decision in Hill v. Colorado (2000) is also arguably in play. In Hill, the Court (6-3) upheld a Colorado statute making it unlawful for a person within 100 feet of an abortion clinic entrance to “knowingly approach” within 8 feet of another person, without that person’s consent, in order to pass leaflets, display signs, or engage in oral protests, education, or counseling of that person.

See this post and the linked amicus brief authored by our friend and CLR Forum former guest Kevin Walsh for argument about how the Court could strike down the Massachusetts law in McCullen without overturning (or even disturbing the core holding of) Hill.

Liviatan on the Changing Function of Law in Europe’s Cultural Debates

Ofrit Liviatan (Harvard U.) has posted From Abortion to Islam: The Changing Function of Law in Europe’s Cultural Debates. The abstract follows.

The Article rethinks the law’s role in present-day European debates over Islam in light of its calming effects on the once fiercely-fought abortion reforms across Western Europe. Using examples from Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland the article demonstrates that the role of the legal process in each of these culture-based debates diverged along its two social functions. Reflecting growing public anxieties, legal actions concerning Muslims typically focused on generating social and cultural change, foreclosing the likelihood of political compromises. In contrast, at the time of abortion reform legal measures acted as mechanisms of social and cultural order, contributing to the pacification of the fierce public controversies even as moral disagreements over abortion endured. Drawing on this comparison, the article suggests that Europe’s constitutional review processes present a compromise-building path to deliberate contemporary conflicts over Islam.

The Article proceeds in three parts. Part II and III analyze the legal developments in the context of Islam and abortion across Western Europe, revealing a contrasting dynamics in the roles of the legal process in each of these debates. Part IV assesses the effects of the legal process in each of the debates and rules out alternative explanations for this divergence. It argues that the factor of time or European secularization cannot account for the current intensity-difference in each of these debates. The article concludes by proposing a path to launch the currently absent constitutional conversation over Islamic-based tensions in Western Europe. Modeled on abortion reform, constitutional courts should reach beyond proportional balancing and dictate policy frameworks addressing both the roots of Muslim disadvantages and the anxieties of the European public.

Dilley & Palpant (Eds.), “Human Dignity in Bioethics”

9780415659314Last December, Routledge published Human Dignity in Bioethics: From Worldviews to the Public Square (2012) edited by Stephen Dilley (St. Edward’s U.), and Nathan J. Palpant (U. of Washington). The publisher’s description follows.

Human Dignity in Bioethics brings together a collection of essays that rigorously examine the concept of human dignity from its metaphysical foundations to its polemical deployment in bioethical controversies. The volume falls into three parts, beginning with meta-level perspectives and moving to concrete applications.

Part 1 analyzes human dignity through a worldview lens, exploring the source and meaning of human dignity from naturalist, postmodernist, Protestant, and Catholic vantages, respectively, letting each side explain and defend its own conception. Part 2 moves from metaphysical moorings to key areas of macro-level influence: international politics, American law, and biological science. These chapters examine the legitimacy of the concept of dignity in documents by international political bodies, the role of dignity in American jurisprudence, and the implications—and challenges—for dignity posed by Darwinism. Part 3 shifts from macro-level topics to concrete applications by examining the rhetoric of human dignity in specific controversies: embryonic stem cell research, abortion, human-animal chimeras, euthanasia and palliative care, psychotropic drugs, and assisted reproductive technologies. Each chapter analyzes the rhetorical use of ‘human dignity’ by opposing camps, assessing the utility of the concept and whether a different concept or approach can be a more productive means of framing or guiding the debate.

Izunwa & Ifemeje on Right to Life, Abortion and the Principle of Double-Effect

Maurice Okechukwu Izunwa and Sylvia Ifemeje (both from Nnamdi Azikiwe U., Awka) has posted Right to Life and Abortion Debate in Nigeria: A Case for the Legislation of the Principle of Double-Effect. The abstract follows.

The controversy as to whether abortion on demand will be legalized in Nigeria has been long and protracted. This is not unconnected with the fact that the issues that border on life are always sensitive for society and all the more for the legislature and the Courts. Notwithstanding the comparatively conservative status of law on abortion in Nigeria, arguments from differential fields of knowledge relating to the amendment of the law as it is, are far reaching. A great many insist that all forms of willful abortion should be criminalized. In this school of thought, we find the Catholic Church at the baseline. Nevertheless, the leftist pro-choice school defends the opinion that it is only fair and just that a woman should be left to decide in such a grave matter about her life and health. This essay makes an ethical detour in differential arguments as a necessary prerequisite for the much needed legal mediation of the rival camps. It proposes the legislation of the “principle of double effect” as the legal middle course.

Wilson on The Calculus of Accommodation

Robin F. Wilson (Washington and Lee U. School of Law) has posted The Calculus of Accommodation: Contraception, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, and other Clashes Between Religion and the State. The abstract follows.

This Article considers a burning issue in society today—
whether, and under what circumstances, religious groups and individuals should be exempted from the dictates of civil law. The “political
maelstrom” over the Obama administration’s sterilization and contraceptive coverage mandate is just one of many clashes between religion
and the state. Religious groups and individuals have also sought religious exemptions to the duty to assist with abortions or facilitate same-sex marriages. In all these contexts, religious objectors claim a special
right of entitlement to follow their religious tenets, in the face of equally compelling claims that religious accommodations threaten access and
may impose significant costs on others. Legislators and other policymakers have struggled with how to advance two compelling, and at
times conflicting, values—access and religious liberty. This Article examines, and responds to, a number of “sticking points” voiced by legislators
about a qualified exemption for religious objectors to the duty to facilitate same-sex marriages—concerns that bear an uncanny resemblance
to reasons why some believe the Obama administration should not yield
further on the contraception mandate. This Article maintains that religious accommodations qualified by hardship transform what could be a zero- sum proposition into one in which access and religious freedom can both be affirmed.

Storrow on Religion, Feminism and Abortion

Richard F. Storrow (City U. of N.Y. School of Law) has posted Religion, Feminism and Abortion: The Regulation of Assisted Reproduction in Two Catholic Countries. The abstract follows.

Perspectives on abortion and religious values have been two primary influences on the development of the various regulatory regimes that govern assisted reproduction around the world. This article examines why two countries with similar histories of allegiance to Roman Catholicism have developed highly divergent legal regimes to regulate assisted reproduction. Italy has enacted one of the most restrictive regimes known, Spain one of the most permissive. The comparative analysis employed here will afford insight into how the development of legislative responses to assisted reproduction correlate with religious commitments, feminist sentiment and the regulation of abortion. This article concludes with a discussion of what implications its analysis might have for the regulation of the infertility industry in the United States.