Shorter Catholic Church: The Right to Life Ends at Birth

The "right to life" is not, apparently, absolute.

This is an interesting piece, but one part in particular stands out:

I asked my colleague Elizabeth Tenety, producer of Divine Impulses and our former “Campus Catholic” blogger, to explain [why the Church targets Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, but not those who favor the death penalty]. “From a Catholic perspective, I don’t think it’s about diminishing the death penalty’s wrongness, but saying that the right to life is the primary dignity afforded human beings,” she said. “Once you get out of the womb, life gets a lot more complicated and so does the working through of the ’seamless garment,’” she said.

“Seamless garment” is a New Testament phrase. In 1983, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, then the most influential U.S. archbishop, used the phrase to defend linking opposition to capital punishment and nuclear weapons to opposition to abortion. He argued that all of these “prolife” policies constitute a “”consistent ethic of life,” a “seamless garment.”

In other words, the right to life isn’t absolute — it ends at birth.

Jill Filipovic is a New York-based freelance writer and a law student at NYU. More of her writing is available online at her blog, Feministe.
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