An Effort to Articulate a Catholic Realist Approach to Abortion

39 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2010 Last revised: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Susan J. Stabile

Susan J. Stabile

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)

Date Written: 2010


In an effort to try to move the abortion debate forward by trying to find common ground between very polarized positions, the Article explores what options exist for a political and legal system’s treatment of abortion that might be consistent with a Catholic realist approach. The article begins by identifying three conditions that are required for a position to be labeled a Catholic realist position: factual accuracy, viability and consistency with Catholic moral teaching. It then explores five questions as a means of articulating what a Catholic realist approach to abortion might look like, including the question whether there is a dignity interest in a woman not being forced to carry a pregnancy to term and the extent to which broad societal consensus about the moral status of abortion might impact our views of the role of law in addressing abortion.

Keywords: Abortion, Reproductive Rights, Catholic Legal Thought, Catholic Legal Theory, Christian Realism, Law and Religion

Suggested Citation

Stabile, Susan J., An Effort to Articulate a Catholic Realist Approach to Abortion (2010). U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-08. Available at SSRN: or

Susan J. Stabile (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States

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