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An embarrassment to the Pro-choice side
on September 10, 2009
Words like awful, bad, terrible, abysmal, atrocious, etc. are so often used that they have lost much of their meaning, so I had to consult a thesaurus to find a word that even conveyed the smallest fraction of my feelings as to how bad this book is. Yet the thesaurus did not have a word that seemed adequate, so I do not know how to use the English language to adequately communicate to you how bad this book really is.
After an introduction that boasts of the scholarship and credentials of the group of scholars that has been assembled to undertake the writing of this book, we go on to find approximately 0 footnotes and a dozen or so "suggested reading" lists amidst a plethora of statistics, quotes, claims, etc. In fact, the book is full of statistics that are almost impossible to verify, as no references are given. Sometimes there is a hint of where a quote can be found, but it is never referenced, so I can not find where Aquinas claimed that Catholics are justified in killing heretics, for example.
Unfortunately, the book begins with the faulty premise of utilitarianism. That is simply an underlying assumption which is never addressed. With the utilitarian framework in place, the first couple chapters attempt to argue that the world is overpopulated (yawn), and once this has been established, it naturally follows that we are justified in using contraception and abortion.
When the book is not making utilitarian arguments and throwing out unverifiable statistics, it is parroting every cliche phrase in the book. You name it, this book has it covered, including "trust women to make their own decisions", "choice is a personal, private decision which should be between the woman and her doctor", "religion teaches that sex is dirty" , "those who do not support abortion should not have abortions themselves" etc etc etc.
I do not even know where to begin critiquing the "Catholic" position on abortion in this book. The overall argument is basically as follows: there seem to be a few instances in history of Catholic theologians saying things that don't directly condemn abortion and there are also times when certain the Church didn't say anything about abortion when we think they should have: therefore, abortion is permissible. This isn't even worthy of being labeled a non sequitur. "Quotes" of these fathers are sparse, sometimes giving partial sentences or sentence fragments, other times simply asserting that a certain Church father said something. Of course, not a hint of a reference is given. The anti-science, 18th century, stone age notion of "quickening" is, of course, appealed to. No poorly argued pro-choice book of religion would be complete without it. Some of the most asinine straw men are used. What is the reason that the Catholic church is against abortion? The author speculates that it is because women are becoming too independent and gaining too much power and its a way to "hold them down." No mention of science, never interacting with any other viewpoints. No arguments of John Paul II, Christopher West, Patrick Lee, Robert George, Frank Beckwith. No documents or arguments which actually outline a coherent anti-abortion position are considered. Instead, we get the straw man that all of this is based on the Church's want to keep women in their place. Only in the world where it is legitimate to slice up your unborn child is it also acceptable to build these ridiculous straw men, never once interacting with any sort of argument that the pro-life side puts forth. This is why the "scholarship" of this book is a joke. Not only is NOTHING referenced, but there is no interaction with scholars from the "other side", or even documents that outline the other sides position, such as Evangelium Vitae. So much more can be said about the inaccuracies and half truths of this chapter, including the absurd notion on the "sense of the faithful" to justify abortion i.e. if enough of the faithful really want it to be a certain way, then it is! How pathetic. But they used the Latin phrase for "the sense of the faithful", so it must be a true Catholic teaching! Wait a minute... what if a majority of Catholics believed that there was no "sense of the faithful" in Catholic theology. Then it would follow by the sense of the faithful that there is no sense of the faithful. Is this self-refuting? Oh well, who cares as long as we get to kill the unborn!
The upshot of this book is that it is a very good indicator of how deep and far away from reason someone will go because of sin. I'd like to say that this book is dangerous, but it is so badly reasoned and argued, that I can't imagine this would pose a threat to any thinking person. Most pro-choicers are honest enough to at least realize that the Catholic Church unequivocally condemns abortion. I never accuse people of being outright liars, but the authors of this book are the closest I've seen to legitimately thinking that they are straight-up liars. Demon possession is out of the question because demon possessed people are extremely bright and put forth good sounding arguments. This book is a disgrace.