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Studies in Law and Medicine

The Indivisible Fight for Life

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.

The Indivisible Fight for Life by Nat Hentoff

In “The Indivisible Fight for Life,” Nat Hentoff offers his story of becoming pro-life across the board as a liberal writer.

“I’ll begin by indicating how I became aware, very belatedly, of the ‘indivisibility of life.’ I mention this fragment of autobiography only because I think it may be useful to those who are interested in bringing others like me—some people are not interested in making the ranks more heterogeneous, but others are, as I’ve been finding out—to a realization that the ‘slippery slope’ is far more than a metaphor.

“When I say ‘like me,’ I suppose in some respects I’m regarded as a ‘liberal,’ although I often stray from that category, and certainly a civil libertarian—though the ACLU and I are in profound disagreement on the matters of abortion, handicapped infants and euthanasia, because I think they have forsaken basic civil liberties in dealing with these issues. I’m considered a liberal except for that unaccountable heresy of recent years that has to do with pro-life matters.

“It’s all the more unaccountable to a lot of people because I remain an atheist, a Jewish atheist. (That’s a special branch of the division.) I think the question I’m most often asked from both sides is, ‘How do you presume to have this kind of moral conception without a belief in God?’ And the answer is, ‘It’s harder.’ But it’s not impossible.”