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Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Kansas City Archdioceses and the Girl Scouts

The Archdiocese of Kansas City has embarked on a silly crusade against the Girl Scouts, arguing that the Girl Scouts are somehow allied with Planned Parenthood and therefore not in tune with Catholic values. Fine. Aside from the Catholic tradition of protecting pederasts (see Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France, innumerable other books, not to mention the Ferns report in Ireland that documented widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests and many other books and articles,) the church has embarked on a path that seeks to force those of different religious persuasions to adopt their view. The Girl Scouts position is clear

One argument is that there is no explicit right to abortion in the Constitution. Explain to me where there is *not* that right. There are plenty of unenumerated rights. That's the whole point of the 9th and 10th amendments. Individuals have every religious right to be against abortion under the free exercise clause, but the establishment clause prohibits government from providing support for any(!) religious belief system. The Catholic Church in recent years (contrary to their stated positions during the anti-Catholic wave when Kennedy was running for president) is trying to force society in general into adopting their anti-sex, anti-abortion, anti-contraception, very narrow religious point-of-view, and trying to get government (read their position in the Hobby Lobby case not to mention Notre Dame's silly argument that was destroyed by Posner in the 7th Circuit) to enforce their religious views. That's a violation of the Establishment Clause.

Another argument is that murder was against the law at the time of the writing of the Constitution. Certainly. But abortion as murder is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even St Thomas Aquinas didn't consider abortion to be murder until the "quickening" of the fetus, something that occurs around the 20th week. (The idea that a fetus could be human before the formation of the cerebral cortex is ludicrous.) "Although Bracton said that abortion of a quickened fetus was homicide, later writers insisted that it could not be homicide at common law. The proposition that abortion cannot be homicide is reiterated by practically every major writer on English criminal law, from William Staunford and William Lambard in the sixteenth century, through Edward Coke and Matthew Hale in the seventeenth century, to William Hawkins and William Blackstone in the eighteenth century. Homicide was agreed to require the prior birth of the victim."* The writers of the Constitution were intimately familiar with those writers. Abortion was an ecclesiastical offense. Don't inflict your narrow religious views on the rest of us. We believe in the free exercise of religion, not the free exercise to practice only one form of religion.

Even more ironically, if the Catholic Church had any sense, they would be supporting Planned Parenthood, which promotes and supports contraception. Preventing pregnancy obviously reduces abortion. If they were really serious about opposing abortion, they would be standing on the street corners handing out condoms.

*Read more: Abortion - Abortion In English Law - Fetus, Quickening, Homicide, and Century - JRank Articles

Other excellent reading is "Facts of Life: Science and the abortion Controversy" by Harold Morowitz
and The True Meaning of the Establishment Clause
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