Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John McCain and the Meaning of Pro-Life

In a recent article endorsing John McCain and his defense of human dignity, Gerard V. Bradley - Law Professor at Notre Dame, and a long-time pro-life advocate - makes some observations about the nature of being pro-lfe that are important not just for this election season, but for an awareness of what being truly pro-life must mean in this day and age

The best pro-life choice for president cannot be decided solely by counting up votes about straight-on life issues. If it were I would add to the list of life issues the matter of torture. Though death is a risk with perhaps few contemporary “harsh interrogation” techniques, all torture raises questions about the meaning of human dignity and the immunity of all persons against unjustified physical attack. In other words, torture is a life issue, too. Though not nearly so important as abortion, it is nonetheless important in its own way. A candidate’s stand on torture is revealing of his (or her) whole approach to moral questions.

. . . and also about what is means to embrace the sanctity of life on a personal, practical level

I believe that there is a profound lesson here about what it means to be pro-life, a lesson which goes beyond the important (but obvious) fact that the McCains live by the same principles which lie behind John’s voting record. “Little Bridget” was not sought out by the McCains. She was not expected or planned for. She was an unanticipated gift whom the McCains welcomed, not because she was antecedently “wanted” by them, but because she was a baby, a unique and unrepeatable human being with a right to life because she is a human being and not because some other people’s plans include her — or don’t.

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