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Studies in Law and Medicine

Abortion: Some Reflections on a ‘Social Issue’

Americans United for Life published “Studies in Law and Medicine” in the 1970s and 1980s, spotlighting issues pertaining to the human right to life across the bioethics spectrum. As Americans United for Life celebrates our 50th anniversary, we are making these issues available for the first time since their print publication.

Abortion: Some Reflections on a ‘Social Issue’ by Sen. John P. East

I am convinced the greatest task we face is one of education, of informing the people of this country what it is we are talking about. The task is difficult, and the obstacles numerous. First, we face a hostile media. In attacking, the media do not deal with the merits of the issue. Their members use the ad hominem attack: When you can’t win on the merits, you attack the character of the individuals or organizations. There is difficulty in a democratic society in getting a fair and intelligent discussion when the media are implacably opposed to your cause. An additional problem in educating others about the right to life is presented by those who might agree with us on the merits of the issue but are apathetic or indifferent.

The dividing line is not between those who are for abortion and those who are not. The dividing line is between those who want to do something about it, and those who do not. Ultimately the abortion issue may be resolved favorably for pro-life advocates in the political arena; before that is accomplished, however, the task of education, whether on constitutional or moral questions, must continue. Faithfulness is the key.