Our National Sin by Robert P. George

Our National Sin

Robert P. George on the Past, Present & Future of Abortion

On January 22, 1973, in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the laws of 50 states prohibiting or significantly restricting abortion. In the name of a generalized “right to privacy” allegedly implicit in the due process clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, seven justices (Blackmun, Burger, Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, Marshall, and Powell) created a license to kill the unborn.

These men probably had no idea that they were unleashing a struggle for the soul of the nation. Five had been appointed by Republican presidents—two by Eisenhower, three by Nixon. Four of these five were regarded as conservative, “law-and-order” judges. All no doubt believed that legal abortion was an enlightened and humane policy, one that would ease the burdens of many women and girls and relieve the enormous cost to society of a high birthrate among indigent, often unmarried, women. They seemed blithely to assume that abortion would be easily integrated into the fabric of American social and political life.

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Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University (web.princeton.edu/sites/jmadison). His books include In Defense of Natural Law (Oxford University Press) and Conscience and Its Enemies (ISI Books). He has served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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more on abortion from the online archives

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

The Destroyer of Peace

on Abortion as a Matter of National Welfare by W. Ross Blackburn

24.1—January/February 2011

Sanger's Victory

How Planned Parenthood's Founder Played the Christians, and Won by Allan C. Carlson

30.3—May/June 2017

Known Trespassing

on the Misuse of Property Rights to Justify Slavery & Abortion by Robert Hart


more from the online archives

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Mission or Submission?

The Difficulty of Apologetics for Dead Souls in the Real World by R. J. Snell

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Speaking the Truths Only the Imagination May Grasp

An Essay on Myth & 'Real Life' by Stratford Caldecott

35.3—May/Jun 2022

Babylon's Furnace

Truth, Suffering & the Hard Road Ahead by Rod Dreher

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