“Two’s company, three’s a crowd … and four’s an environmental disaster!”

One would think that if anyone’s genes need reproducing, David and Victoria Beckham would have approval. But even in our success-obsessed culture today, the achievement and beauty of Mr. and Mrs. Beckham is not enough to get them off the hook among those who believe that one’s family size should be a debate for the whole world to weigh in on.

Recently, an article in the UK Guardian criticized the Beckhams after the birth of their fourth child, Harper Seven, calling them “environmentally irresponsible.”  Simon Ross, chief executive of the UK based Optimum Population Trust was critical of the couple: “We need to change the incentives to make the environmental case that one or two children are fine but three or four are just being selfish . . . The Beckhams, and others like London mayor Boris Johnson [who also has four children], are very bad role models with their large families.” He went on to argue, as do many who are concerned with the world’s population, that with 7 billion people in the world and counting,  “there cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed.”

Mr. Ross, like others with concerns about overpopulation and the world’s food supply, fail to take a few things into account.  When Thomas Malthus predicted in the 1800’s that the population would overtake the food supply, he failed to also predict the impact of the Industrial Revolution, along with many subsequent technological innovations that allow crops to be grown faster and in harsher climates than he could have possibly imagined.

The concern about resource depletion isn’t a proven science, and studies show that human capital and labor productivity are what actually drive the increases and reductions of resources.  What’s more, worries about overpopulation disregard the principle that life is inherently good. Even if humans and the environment existed adversarially (though I believe that they don’t), human life is still an unqualified good. The choice for life shouldn’t be made on the basis of environmental concerns, though all our decisions about consumption should certainly be with prudence. And empirically speaking, if there’s a crisis in our world today, it’s underpopulation. Most countries in Europe, for example, are seeing birth rates drop below replacement levels (looked at Russia lately?), though immigration will contribute some stability to these nations’ numbers.

While we must certainly care for the environment, the answer is not that families or developed nations are to blame. Even if developed nations use a larger proportion of the earth’s natural resources, the technology coming out of these countries allows many people in the developing world to be fed, and affords a greater quality of life to everyone around the globe. The earth’s resources are not a pie whose portion for everyone at the party shrinks as new guests arrive. Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, argues that because each person has unique value, “more people means more for all of us — more economic production, more potential for artistic and scientific achievement, more innovation.” And speaking of innovation, two hundred years after the Industrial Revolution, we are still not running out of food.

What is more unsustainable than the current rate of population growth is the increasing numbers of people who do not grow up in stable, married families. Dr. Henry Potrykus, of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, recently released “Our Fiscal Crisis” detailing the relationship between the future of America’s economy and the proportion of intact, married families. It is impossible for a country to remain strong when fewer than half of its citizens grow up in homes that do not offer the stability that marriage provides.  This holds true for any nation, not just the U.S., and the negative effects of broken homes are well-documented.

David and Victoria Beckham have remained committed to one another in marriage, thus demonstrating what is right about families in Britain. To the Beckhams I say, Congratulations! The begetting and raising of human life in the context of marriage is one of the greatest adventures in the world. You are setting a good example for the world to follow.

What’s in a Name?

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban announced the birth of their second child, Faith Margaret, last week thanking everyone for their support, especially Faith’s “gestational carrier.” While Nicole and Keith were simply using the vernacular of the fertility industry, referring to their child’s birth mother as a “gestational carrier” betrays an underlying cultural attitude fostered by technological developments in this field.

With advances in the field of assisted reproductive technologies [ART], a surrogate mother can carry a baby conceived with her egg and a donor’s sperm. Now there are also gestational carriers: a woman who carries a couple’s fertilized embryo to term, but is not herself the baby’s genetic mother.

Ethics within the field of ART are, admittedly, complex, but the shift from surrogate mothers to gestational carriers, while subtle, is significant. In the past, the words “birth mother” or “surrogate mother” and “adoptive mother” have been used to describe the situation in which a baby born biologically to one mother was given to another family. But as technology evolves, so does its vocabulary.

Regardless of the technical intent behind “gestational carrier,” the term is, at its root, dehumanizing. The phrase reduces a woman to a function, instead of a person in a relationship. No longer does her title represent who she is— a woman, a mother bearing a child in her body— she is her function, a gestational carrier.

Thanks in part to technology, our society makes distinctions between function and identity. Men can be “sperm donors” without being known as the father of the baby. We have children who are biologically one man’s, but socially another’s. This calls into question the very nature of relationships. Not all fathers always act like fathers, and children may look up to another man as a “father figure,” but for most of human history, fatherhood was tied to biology, except in cases of adoption. This is no longer the case.  Technology is changing what it means to be a parent: the creation and raising of a child can involve a sperm donor, an egg donor, a gestational carrier, or surrogate mother, and the couple that the child eventually lives with and calls Mommy and Daddy. And this technology defines people by what they do, instead of who they are.  While calling someone a mother certainly does not describe the totality of who that woman is, at least the title of “mother” is defining her relationally, humanizing her, for the ability to have relationships is uniquely human.

Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, notes that the use of ART is turning baby-making into a consumerist activity. Pregnancy has been reduced to a “bits and pieces” brokered industry: sperm from a handsome Scandinavian stud, eggs from a beautiful Ivy League graduate, a womb-for-rent from a poor woman in India trying to provide food and education for her children, and brokers in the middle setting up the legal transactions to build a better baby the 21st-century way.” Individuals are applying their bodies to bringing new life into the world through a segmented, fractured process,turning children into things to be designed and purchased. The Scandinavian man and the Ivy League woman are now means to an end. Lahl argues that children are not products to be made, but with the rise of medical tourism, that is what they are becoming.

Technology brings with it as many questions as answers. In the process of advancing our physical capabilities, it (in this case) blurs the bright line of relationships. I will not make a moral judgment on all blurry lines; not all things unclear must be rejected as wrong. But how we speak about things matters for words frame how we see the world. In this case, it is important to remember that people are fundamentally ends, not means thereto. Before helping ourselves to the vast array of opportunities technology offers, it is imperative that we ask hard questions and consider the ethical implications of each. When people are defined by their functions and not their relationships, are we seeing an age in which technology helps the body while harming the soul?

The Baby-Face of Bioethics

“I don’t know.”

This was the advice Dr. Mark Mercurio, director of the Yale Pediatric Ethics program, gave to a room full of Yale University bioethics students in a lecture on how neonatologists should find their way through ethical quandaries. It is not that he is unqualified. Quite the contrary.

Dr. Mercurio’s extensive training and experience includes degrees from Princeton, Columbia, and Brown University and residence experience in pediatrics in New Haven, Connecticut— America’s first city to have a newborn intensive care unit. His fatherly wisdom and good humor have clearly aided the Yale Pediatric Ethics Program (where he serves as Director) and the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee (which he chairs).

Dr. Mercurio spoke to the summer interns at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics on the bioethical quandaries facing neonatologists forced to make life and death decisions for non-autonomous, non-cognitive human beings. Their most frequent patients are premature newborns (often with congenital anomalies or genetic disorders) with low survival chances. But the newborns can’t give informed consent for either life-saving techniques or to be taken off the ventilator. While considering medical knowledge, ethical principles and the individual facts of each case, neonatologists must listen to or refuse the parents’ judgment in light of the patient’s best interest, and affect life and death accordingly.

Consider some of the ethical issues involved: for example, the neonatologist must tell a new mother that her 23 week old, premature infant has less than a 25% chance of survival, and that she and the father will have to decide whether “it’s worth it” to try all life-saving techniques, but that even survival most likely means a life of severe impairment. Occasionally, the parents can’t decide and leave the decision up to the doctor, or make a request the doctor cannot morally honor. What if the family’s best interest conflicts with the patient’s best interest? What if the baby will be in a vegetative state and the parents are unable to provide adequate care? Is it legitimate to consider society’s best interest? What of allocation of medical resources? The neonatologist must weigh all of these factors and more, and yet act with immediacy.

The expert’s best advice to Yale’s budding bioethicists as to how to decide these life and death matters?

“I don’t know.”

This same refrain is echoed time and time again in our discussions here at the Bioethics Center. As ethicists sitting in a room at a university, “I don’t know” is the only right answer. We don’t know what the baby’s future will be; we can only conjecture from insufficient data and probabilities. We don’t know if the parents can afford medical care for the child, whether the disease will onset in its most crippling form or whether the child will live a fairly comfortable life. We don’t know if the baby wants to live or die; we argue about whether he or she is even a person yet. We don’t know how to resolve conflicts of interest between the family’s best interest and the patient’s best interest, or where the family’s best interest is the patient’s best interest. To give the wisest, safest, and humblest answer, we must always say, “I don’t know.”

But a neonatologist does not have such a privilege; a decision must be made. Dr. Mercurio referenced a continuum of benefits and burdens as an equation to be constantly balanced when looking between the right to life and the right to mercy (dying with dignity, in essence). In my mind I had the vision of a constantly tipping scale between pleasures and pains, where at any moment the needle could slip away from degrees of “worth it” and point to “no longer worth it.”

Is the decision to stay alive and not seek or allow or cease to prevent death only framed by that endless equation? When probabilities and conjectures are the only data available, making such decisions is simply not a matter of science or perfect rationality. Human judgment, faith, and emotion inevitably creep in, or even overshadow what vestiges of reason remain. Even reason is in a fallen state and cannot infallibly guide us to right decisions in cases replete with unknown variables. The presence of emotion guarantees a more human decision, at the very least. But the unqualifiedly right decision?

My fellow interns, the staff, the lecturers, and the seminar leaders at the Center come from all over the world. They have various areas of expertise, are deep thinkers, honest in their pursuit of truth, and earnest in determining ethical fairness. But when “I don’t know” is the fruit of their well-reasoned philosophies, I begin to question redemption’s place in reason. If reason itself is fallen, it is no surprise that “I don’t know” floats around the university like a disembodied ghost.

Yet there must be a place for the Spirit of truth to heal our human judgment—to give insight into human purposes beyond maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain (often the only guidelines of medical ethics), to help us discern ethical principles, to give us confidence that we are making better-than-humanly-possible decisions in the face of the unknown. My bioethical instincts say “I don’t know” about that role, but I’m fairly certain I do know that just such a Spirit is often missing. My obligation then is to pursue that Spirit Himself, and tease out the intricacies and robust impact of His work in our bioethical reasoning.

Brown and the Blight of British Bioethics

Back in 2006, I provided testimony before a committee of the Illinois state legislature on research involving embryo-destructive research and “therapeutic” cloning. At the time I was shocked by the complete unfamiliarity these legislators had with the basic concepts underlying the issue they were considering. The committee members were so scientifically illiterate that many did not understand the distinction between eggs (human ova) and embryos (a human being). The committee chairman even tried to argue that therapeutic cloning consisted of “injecting embryos into a patient’s spinal cord.”

Sadly, it isn’t only Chicago politicians who are ignorant of stem-cell science. The American Spectator has published an article I wrote about how in the UK, the Labour Party and Prime Minister Gordon Brown have gone out of their way to show just how ignorant they are about hybrids and stem cell research. An excerpt:

This week, Britain’s Labour Party made remarkable progress in securing the country’s reputation as the most scientifically illiterate and morally obtuse hamlet in the Western world. At the urging of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, both houses of Parliament defeated amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would have outlawed the creation of “chimerical embryos.”

Chimeras (whether “cybrids” or “hybrids”) are human embryos that contain genetic material from other species. Chinese researchers began in 2003 by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs to produce the first human-animal chimeras. Two years later scientists at Stanford University planned an experiment to create mice with human brains.

“To what end?” is a good question here. As James Sherley, from the Program in Regenerative Biology and Cancer, Boston, notes, “Huge volumes of…basic cellular and molecular biology must be ignored to justify [this kind of] research.”

Read the rest at The American Spectator.

Bailey and the Bioconservatives

The American Spectator has published an article I wrote on transhumanism, biotechnology, and Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey. An excerpt:

Bailey makes a similar sneaky acknowledgement using carefully selected language. “It is true that the proposed human animal cybrids would contain mostly human genes, but researchers have no intention of creating cow/human or rabbit/human babies,” he writes.

By combining the obscure technical term “cybrid” (an egg cell from an animal that contains the nucleus from a human cell) with the common, emotionally charged term “baby,” Bailey deftly obfuscates what is occurring. While the researchers are not creating cow/human babies (beings that have reached the infancy stage of development) they are creating cow/human embryos (beings that have reached the embryonic stage of development).

Denying the humanity of embryos is nothing new, of course, but the broad-based acceptance of certain biotechnologies has made such semantic evasion tactics essential.

Read the rest at The American Spectator.

Why Pro-Life Presidents Matter

What if I told you the only significant influence the President has on the economy is in selecting the Chairman of the Federal Reserve?
While the role of the president in “managing the economy” is often overstated, most serious voters would rightly dismiss such a narrow claim as absurd. Yet how often do we hear the similarly daft assertion that the only significant role the president plays in advancing the pro-life agenda is nominating Supreme Court justices?
The fact is that the president has a limited but substantial and broad-based role in protecting life and defending the most vulnerable in society. Here are five examples of why it matters that the president is pro-life:
1. Preserving the Pro-Life Riders — Each year pro-life provisions or “riders” are attached to the annual appropriations bills which prevent public funds from supporting abortions, abortion providers, or abortion promoters. The pro-life riders are attached to funding legislation and typically come up in the appropriations process or Department of Defense reauthorizations. As AdvanceUSA notes, under President Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush, federal regulations were clearly written to prevent recipients of Title X funds from referring for abortions or combining family planning services with abortion services (ex: working at the same location).
Examples of pro-life riders include:

  • The Dickey-Wicker provision which prohibits federal funding for research that harms or destroys human embryos.
  • The Kemp-Kasten Amendment which prevents funding from going to those who support or participate in a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
  • The Hyde-Weldon provision which offers conscience protections for health care entities that refuse to provide or encourage abortions. It requires federal funds to be withheld from any state that discriminates against a hospital, insurance provider, or individual doctors and nurses for refusing to participate in abortion.
  • The Mexico City Policy, first enacted by Ronald Reagan and later reinstituted by George W. Bush, which prohibits USAID (foreign aid) money from going to any organizations that promote or perform abortions.
  • Other provisions that are more specific include bans on funding for: abortions for federal prisoners, abortion in the District of Columbia, abortions through the Federal Employee Health Benefits program, abortions through Peace Corp, and abortion through the international HIV/AIDS bill.

A pro-life president can threaten to use the veto–as Bush has often done–to prevent the removal of such riders. A pro-choice resident, however, would almost certainly veto any legislation that included these pro-life provisions.
2. Filing of amicus briefs in cases before the judiciary — Where a case may have broader implications, amicus curiae briefs are a way to introduce those concerns, so that the possibly broad legal effects of court decisions will not depend solely on the parties directly involved in the case. Both John Roberts, as a Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney General, and Samuel Alito, as Assistant to the Solicitor General, submitted briefs defending the pro-life cause. Reagan’s Solicitor General Charles Fried also called for Roe to be reversed in a brief. While the briefs themselves rarely decide the outcome of a particular case, they are useful in limiting the scope of a particular legal change or interpretation
3. Issuance of executive orders — Executive orders help direct the operation of officers within the executive branch. They also have the force of law when made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress, when those acts give the President discretionary powers. For example, on the 4th day of the Clinton presidency, Jan. 23, the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Bill Clinton signed, in a televised Oval Office ceremony, a series of executive orders undoing the pro-life policies of the Reagan-Bush era. The orders repealed the Mexico City policy, repealed prohibition on federally-funded clinics referring for abortion, lifted the ban on military abortions, and lifted the ban on fetal tissue research.
As Carl Bernstein wrote in his book, A Woman in Charge,

“Hillary had pushed unequivocally for the orders, but Bill’s pollster argued that she was dead wrong on the timing of such a hot-button issue; by acting on abortion policy as one of the administration’s first pieces of business, the president and, worse, Hillary, would be perceived as governing from the left. But Hillary regarded the prohibitions in question as a powerful symbol of Reagan-era policies, and an opportunity to declare boldly that the Clinton era had begun. There was an additional appeal: it was fiscally neutral, monetarily cost-free, and not subject to a drawn-out legislative process.” (p. 256)

4. Selection of political appointments — The President fills many political appointments that have a direct and significant impact on the pro-life cause. Examples include Health and Human Services (responsible for enforcing the Hyde Amendment, etc.), the FDA (e.g., approval and regulation of abortifacients), and the State Department (which sends multiple delegates to UN conferences like CEDAW and Population and Development, where the international battle for human dignity is waged).
The Justice Department is another agency that has a key role, specifically in deciding how to defend law cases involving US statutes. For example, Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno cleared the way for the nation’s first assisted suicide law by deciding that physicians may provide lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients without losing their licenses to write prescriptions. She did so by overturning the position taken by the head of one of her own agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which had said that doctors who prescribe drugs under Oregon’s assisted-suicide law could face severe sanctions.
5. Using the “bully pulpit” — The term “bully pulpit” comes from President Theodore Roosevelt’s reference to the White House as a “bully pulpit,” meaning a wonderful platform (Roosevelt often used the word “bully” as an adjective meaning superb) from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. As Reagan showed, there is simply no better single platform for advocating the pro-life cause than from within the Oval Office.


Christians have an obligation to the most vulnerable members of our society to elect politicians who have both a robust view of human dignity and the temerity to govern accordingly. We betray this duty when we downplay the role the executive branch in advancing the pro-life cause. Judges and legislators matter; but presidents matter too.

Of Mice and Men (and Other Chimeras)

For those concerned about threats to human dignity, news from the bioethical frontier is almost always depressing and reminiscent of bizarre speculative fiction. For example, events in the UK last week have reminded me of an obscure novel by the French writer Vercors. You Shall Know Them begins just after Douglas Templemore injects his infant son with strychnine chlorhydrate. Although anguished by the killing, the father had planned the act even before the child had been sired. It was his attempt to save the mother, a female of the species Paranthropus erectus that had been discovered off the coast of New Zealand.
Because of their almost-human qualities, industrialists planned to use the creatures as “beast of burden” in Australian factories. Outraged by this forced slavery, Templemore, a British journalist, devised a plan to test the legal status of the species. Using artificial insemination, he impregnated one of the captured females with his own seed. While the mother remained jailed in a London zoo, Templemore took his offspring home and put him to death. Afterwards, he called the police to arrest him:

The inspector drew nearer. His pale eyelashes were fluttering like moths.
“Mr. Templemore, what exactly do you expect us to do?”
“Your job, Inspector.”
“But what job, sir? This little creature is a monkey, that’s plain. Why the dickens do you want to . . .”
“That’s my business, Inspector.”
“Well, ours is certainly not to meddle . . .”
“I have killed my child, Inspector.”
“I’ve grasped that. But this . . . this creature isn’t a . . . it doesn’t present . . .”
“He’s been christened, Inspector, and his birth duly entered at the registry office under the name of Garry Ralph Templemore.”
Fine beads of perspiration broke out on the inspector’s face. He suddenly shot a question at Douglas.
“Under what name was the mother entered?”
“Under her own, Inspector: ‘Native woman from New Guinea, known as Derry.'”
“False declaration!” cried the inspector triumphantly. “The whole registration is invalid.”
“False declaration?”
“The mother isn’t a woman.”
“That remains to be proved.”
“Why, you yourself –”
“Opinions are divided.”
“Divided? Divided about what? Whose opinions?”
“Those of the leading anthropologists, about the species the Paranthropus belongs to. It’s an intermediate species: man or ape? It resembles both. It may well be that Derry is a woman after all. It’s up to you to prove the contrary, if you can. In the meantime her child is my son, before God and the law.”

The remainder of the novel focuses on the series of trials set to determine whether Templemore is guilty of murder–or merely animal cruelty. But what was merely a hypothetical question of science fiction in 1953 has become a genuine bioethical conundrum in 2007. For the past several years scientists have been blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras–a hybrid creature that’s part human, part animal.

Continue reading Of Mice and Men (and Other Chimeras)

Evangelical Bioethics and the Web

No matter how many times a blogger trashes the press–and I’ve done more than my share of MSM bashing–they are always excited to see the URL of their blog printed in a national newspaper. True, in the past I’ve said that newspaper coverage was overrated. But that was when I was mentioned in The New York Times. Being the subject of an article in The Washington Post is different: It’s a paper that people actually read.
The article by religion reporter Michelle Boorstein is titled “Evangelical Bioethics and the Web.” Although the parts about me will be of interest to no one, I’m excited to see the subject of evangelical bioethics receiving some attention. In the unlikely event that that someone actually follows the link in the article back to this blog, I thought I should highlight some of the subjects mentioned.
The excepted quote in “A Blogger’s Opinion” section is taken from Being a Person: Why Personhood is Not Enough. The opening quotes can be found in my recent post What Evangelicals Owe Catholics: An Appreciation.
Other bioethics related posts that may be of interest include:

Both Matthew Eppinette, my good friend and former boss from The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and Nigel Cameron, who is mentioned at the end of the article, blog at Bioethics.com. Glenn McGee, our witty secular archnemesis, blogs at Bioethics.net.
One of the reasons I wanted to work for Family Research Council was to be near some of the great leaders, both evangelical and Catholic, in the field of bioethics. Our website contains a multitude of valuable articles on the subject.
The article also mentions “In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition”, the excellent little book by my “blogfather” Hugh Hewitt. Hugh is one of the most magnanimous and generous men I’ve ever met and his book has become for me a vade mecum. I keep a stack of the them around so that I can put them in the hands of every serious-minded young Christian I meet.
(Although bloggers rarely have a kind word for reporters, I have to say that I’m grateful for all the hard work that Michelle Boorstein put into this article. I’ll have more to say about my new favorite journalist later this week, but first I want to hear what the religious news uber-critics at GetReligion think about the piece.)

Biology, Behavior, and Gay Babies:
Why Sexual “Orientation” is Ultimately Irrelevant

Dr. Albert Mohler has been under fire recently for his suggestion that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified. Some on the right, including Christians, are upset that he would concede the obvious point that there may be a biological basis for sexual orientation. Others on the left, including many homosexuals, are upset that he would admit the obvious point that if there is a biological basis for sexual orientation people may want to change it by medical intervention. Both complaints reveal that that the issue of sexual orientation is often approached emotionally rather than rationally.
Two years ago I argued that those on both sides of the issue would be able to better defend their positions if they would agree that while there is a (likely) biological basis for the homosexual orientation, it is ultimately irrelevant since sexual activity is freely chosen behavior.
Unfortunately, this is the very idea that gay rights activists have been working against for several decades. They’ve often been the biggest proponents of finding a ‘gay gene’ or some type of neurological explanation for sexual orientation. By finding a genetic cause, it’s often believed, it will remove any doubt that individuals have no choice in the matter. They are simply “born that way.”
Ironically, if such an explanation is found it could have just the opposite effect of what is hoped for. As Francis Fukuyama speculates in Our Posthuman Future:

Continue reading Biology, Behavior, and Gay Babies:
Why Sexual “Orientation” is Ultimately Irrelevant

Dignity as a Litmus Test:
Why I’m a Single Issue Voter

The primaries are still months away, yet conservative Congressman Jim Nussle of Iowa is already coming out in support of Rudy Giuliani. In a note to Rich Lowry at National Review, Nussle wrote:

”Perfect” has become the enemy of the “good”, and we saw that borne out during this past November’s elections. I am hopeful that our Party will avoid needless debates over a non-existent perfect candidate.
It is true that Mayor Giuliani and I don’t agree on every issue. My support for a person who doesn’t see eye to eye with me on all issues doesn’t mean that I am turning my back on those beliefs. But our country is at a crossroads and we cannot forsake progress for perfection.

In examining the letter, Rick Moore makes the connection that Nussle leaves unstated:

Nussle does make the argument that there will never be a “perfect” candidate, and I fear that too many conservatives have become such single-issue voters (abortion) that they will eagerly back a weaker candidate just because of his views on that one issue alone. In doing so, they not only risk helping elect a Democrat who’s not only pro-abortion, but pro-a lot of other stuff that conservatives find abhorrent.
Yes abortion is important, but the president really doesn’t have that much control over an issue that has been decided by the courts. President Bush is anti-abortion, but has abortion stopped because he’s president? No, and it probably won’t until there’s a change in the hearts of the people, and while the president may have some effect on that, in reality the president has little to no ability to change abortion in terms of its legal standing.

I am sympathetic to the pragmatism expressed both by Rep. Nussle and my friend Rick. In fact, I agree that the President has little or no control over the issue of abortion. Giuliani, if elected, might even appoint a judge that would help overturn Roe. Even so, I could not endorse him for Giuliani still fails on this key “litmus test.” Why would I hold him responsible for an issue that isn’t under his control? Because I am an unabashed single-issue voter — and that issue is justice.

Continue reading Dignity as a Litmus Test:
Why I’m a Single Issue Voter