Letter From the Editors
Bioethics in Law & Culture Winter 2019 vol. 2 issue 1
Joe Kral, M.A.
Ana Brennan, J.D.
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At the time of this writing Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has signed the Reproductive Health Act into law. It is a radical bill that not only allows abortion to take place up until birth it also allows non-physicians to perform the abortions. While on its surface it appears to prohibit abortion after 24 weeks gestation, it contains the “health” exception loophole which would allow for abortion to up to birth. To compound this tragedy, not only was the bill signed to sounds of applause and cheers on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but Gov. Cuomo also had the One World Trade Center lit pink to celebrate. A truly dark day for not only New York, but for the country as well. Unfortunately, this has encouraged a few other states to follow suit and file similar bills within their own state.
However, this is not to say that the pro-life movement has not responded in their own way. More states are filing either Fetal Heartbeat Bills or Trigger Bans to counter what New York has done (and what other states are trying to accomplish). Fetal Heartbeat Bills obviously try to mandate that abortion is illegal when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. Trigger Bans would mandate that when the Supreme Court of the United States finally overturns Roe v. Wade a law would immediately be triggered into effect which would prohibit the practice of abortion in that particular state. Bills, such as these, are a great sign that pro-life legislative advocates are taking necessary steps to help stop the encroachment of the Culture of Death within their states.
This situation has certainly created an environment where the discussion of what exactly is meant by a “right”. Some have argued that the New York law is far too expansive. However, even that notion misses the point of what a “right” is exactly. Within the Natural Law tradition, rights correspond to one’s obligations. So when one speaks of a right to life there is a duty to let one live. From that duty of one, the other has the corresponding right; here it is the right to life. There is no moral obligation within the Natural Law tradition that mandates that one has the duty to kill an innocent human life, nor any duty to let another kill innocent human life. The pro-life movement certainly recognizes this Natural Law idea of rights and wishes to establish the proper order of law; that is to establish that every human life ought to be protected under the law.
In addition to legislative gains, this past year has been marked by the growth and success of the Society of St. Sebastian. The Society has published 40 Sebastian’s Point articles. The vast majority of these articles focused on various pieces of pro-life public policy and were written by pro-life public policy experts. Many of these articles were picked up by LifeNews.com and were spread even further. The Society also published its Journal of Bioethics in Law & Culture 4 times last year. Again, the journal had several notable legal scholars including, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life, Dorinda Bordlee and Nik Nikas of Bioethics Defense Fund, and Chris Maska of Texas Alliance for Life contribute their considerable legal knowledge. The journal was also graced this past year with the knowledge of political science professors Ashleen Bagnulo and Kody Cooper. It would be wrong not to include the many other notable organizations that have consistently tweeted out our articles; many thanks to Human Life Action and the National Catholic Bioethics Center!
More and more organizations are recognizing that the Society of St. Sebastian is becoming the place for intellectual thought regarding pro-life public policy. Professional pro-life activists and even legislators have reached out to the Society looking for information regarding various pro-life issues. The Society looks forward to another successful year in becoming the intellectual source for pro-life lobbyists, students, and scholars when it comes to the subject of pro-life public policy.
To that end, we are publishing our fifth issue of Bioethics in Law & Culture. This issue explores two topics: The first by Dr. David Franks, Chairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, who explores The Book of Revelation and the Didache on how Christians are to morally act when it comes to the subject of abortion and how Christians are to take that belief into the culture. Second, this issue also explores an older article by Dr. Michael New. Dr. New explores how contraception polices and pro-life policies are tied together.
Finally, many thanks to Dr. Jacqueline Abernathy, Deanna Wallace, and Bradley Kehr for their testimony. More and more experts are sending the Society their testimony so as to build up a library of knowledge on the various pro-life legislative issues. The Society of St. Sebastian is committed to becoming the intellectual backbone of pro-life public policy and all who contribute help make this happen!
Joe Kral, M.A.
President & Editor in Chief
Ana Brennan, J.D.
Vice-President & Senior Editor