In the following excerpt from an interview with Zenit, Prof. Zmiec, a dean of the CUA law school, gives cogent analysis of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the congressional ban on infanticide. Here he sets us back in our seats before we jump up clapping our hands:
Q: One of the more interesting aspects of the case is that it appears to resurrect the idea that a state has a moral interest in protecting fetal life. Does Gonzales v. Carhart allow legislatures to justify abortion regulations on the basis that some practices are immoral or inhumane?
Kmiec: Yes, to a point. Carhart held that it was legitimate for Congress to conclude that "ethical and moral concerns" justified the special prohibition of a procedure that Congress determined bore a "disturbing similarity to the killing of a newborn infant."
Nevertheless, caution is appropriate here. The court still relied upon the ban not constituting a substantial obstacle or undue burden on the women's decision.
Thus, while moral considerations were important here insofar as they supplied the rational basis for congressional action, the court is not indicating that it will accept moral considerations as sufficient to outweigh a woman's decision generally.
Okay, okay. Fair enough. We are clearly not about to reverse Roe v. Wade: unborn children are still the property of their mothers because a woman's right to murder her child IN the womb is protected by the 14th Amendment. Check.
But then the Professor unleashes this little morsel of joy, in bold lettering:
Q: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent vehemently criticized Justice Kennedy's recognition of the negative effects of abortion on women, and that some women come to regret their abortion. Will this recognition influence future pro-life efforts?
Kmiec: Justice Kennedy has been wrongly criticized. The dissent suggests he is relying upon archaic stereotype or that he assumes women are "too fragile" to digest accurate descriptions of abortion procedures.
In truth, Justice Kennedy is respecting -- not subjugating -- the judgment of the woman when he posits that if she is properly informed, she would be less likely to choose abortion. There is no necessary identity between a woman choosing to have an abortion and intelligence.
Indeed, it is the state's assumption that the rational woman will forgo an abortion when she has all the facts. Justice Kennedy said: "the state's interest in respect for life is advanced by the dialogue that better informs ... expectant mothers ... of the consequences that follow from a decision to elect a late-term abortion."
Dissenting, Justice Ginsburg and her fellow dissenters -- Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, and David Souter -- characterized the abortion right as essential to a woman's autonomy and her "enjoyment of equal citizenship." Why a woman's equality could be claimed to depend upon the option of destroying the life of her child is unexplained.
Indeed, Justice Ginsburg comes very close to equating the protection of unborn children to abusive behavior toward women. Seemingly to refute the "bond of love" between mother and child noted by the majority, Justice Ginsburg emphasizes unwanted pregnancies and the daily incidents of sexual assault.
This is a non sequitur. Proscribing an inhuman abortion practice does not reimpose "discredited notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution," nor does it condone domestic abuse.
Justice Ginsburg is right, of course, that at one time -- a half century or more ago -- the law rather exclusively highlighted "the destiny and mission of women to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother."
America can and should still celebrate these as noble callings. Nothing about protecting unborn life, however, requires that they be the only vocational choices of a woman.
What was the Supreme Court's greatest gift of insight in Carhart? It was the rejection of the pernicious idea that women can only achieve by standing upon the graves of their unborn children.
Did you catch that? Boo-yah!
Now THAT's something to stand up and applaud!
Go and visit Feminists for Life to learn how all the early feminists would agree with the Supreme Court majority on this one. Women deserve better than abortion. Justice Ginsburg should realize that procured abortion is domestic abuse.
If killing your child is an act of freedom, then you are in bondage. That should be addressed outside the legal system. That should be addressed in therapy, in the context of loving support (the support, say, of a loving and attentive husband?). In the vast majority of cases women are not seeking abortion because they have been sexually assaulted. Whence comes this grievous notion that they are in bondage? What could drive them to treat their child as a thing to be discarded?
I wonder if Paul VI may have some insight to shed here:
"Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection."
I don't suppose widespread use of contraception has any correlation with men treating women as objects and women hating their bodies? If men discard women, and women discard their children, have we all been liberated? What could possibly help this situation?
Hmm...I think another apostle named Paul has some insight:
- Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
- Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
- For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
- Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
- that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
- So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
- "For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
Folks, we need to set the record straight. The Catholic Church always proposes precisely what will save us from destruction. Christ=salvation. We need to get the Word out.
Marriage saves. And I don't mean the marriage that Justice Ginsburg is talking about, the one where women are chattel, the one that drove Betty Friedan to write "The Feminine Mystique". I mean the marriage Saint Paul is talking about, the one where men cherish women. Where the husband expresses to his wife the love of Christ and she does the same.
Yes, this requires submission-- from BOTH. "Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ."
Is there anything prevalent in our culture that would make this kind of subordination difficult?
Perhaps it's the notion that sex is about me. The contraceptive mentality is manifest in more ways than simply the Pill. Consider also the profusion of porn, the indifference to homosexual sex, the rise in sexual assaults, and the ubiquity of masturbation.
What's that? Oh yes-- my point:
Masturbation is where we treat ourselves as sexual objects. Do we live in a society that promotes and encourages masturbation? You betcha. And a society that encourages the one will inevitably be encouraging the others listed.
But doesn't Saint Paul tell us to 'cherish our flesh'? Ultimately, masturbation is not even loving one's self. It is doing harm to one's self, which harms the Body of Christ. It harms society. The way to cherish one's own flesh is to treat it as Christ does.
Which brings us to the Eucharist, as all questions inevitably do. What does Christ do with his flesh? He offers it as sacred gift. We must do likewise. Either we offer it as a sacred, adorable, holy gift to God or we offer it to our spouse. But we do not claim it as our own. If we do, we are only contributing to the breakdown of society.
And that's what sin does.
So- are we not to act on our passion? Are we not to express ourselves as God so clearly empowered us to do? Isn't the sex drive the most powerful force in nature?
Here, we can look to our beloved Pope for wisdom:
"The heart of God, the omnipotent, waits for the Yes from his creatures as a young husband awaits his wife's yes."
This is the same man who likened Eucharistic Adoration to a nuptial kiss.
We are called to love Jesus with the very passion that we encounter in the heat of orgasm. The celibate mystics in ecstasy would attest to the force of that love.
Benedict XVI proposes the very thing that sin destroys, a Love so intense it desires carnal union with us. And if we examine Sin for what it is, we see it as a carnal appetite, not carnal union, as anti-Love, as contra-ceptive.
Satan opposes the kind of love Benedict is describing, and the opposite Satan proposes has wreaked havoc throughout human history. Fight the Devil with chastity, purity, temperance, and fortitude. Counter sin with Love. Love yourself by cherishing your flesh as sacred gift to be given, not claimed for one's self. Give to Christ your "yes! yes! YES!"