Is It Possible to Take Both Fetal Life and Women Seriously? Professor Laurence Tribe and His Reviewers
Samuel Wolfe Calhoun
Washington and Lee University - School of Law
Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law
Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 40, 1992
In Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes (Abortion), Professor Laurence Tribe professes to undertake the ambitious task of alleviating the intractable dispute about the question of abortion. His stated method is to give voice to the human reality on each side of the [dispute], keeping both the woman and the fetus in focus at the same time. This Article will show that, in fact, Abortion, by defending abortion on demand as sanctioned by Roe v. Wade, dehumanizes both women and preborn children. Tribe, by requiring society to provide a mother the license to destroy her pre-born child in order to ensure her "equality," not only assumes women's inequality apart from this license, but also releases women from that moral accountability that is the hallmark of taking another person seriously. To Tribe, a preborn child's meaning and worth, if they exist at all, are found only in the subjective eye of his/her mother. The bigger the preborn baby, the more pangs of sorrow Tribe acknowledges for his/her death, should death be the mother's choice. Nonetheless, the child, denied any meaningful protection of his/her life, is effectively dehumanized.
This Article will demonstrate that a comprehensive prolife approach is the only way to achieve the goal of taking both women and fetal life seriously. While there are other integral elements, the core of such an approach is, regardless of the circumstances that lead a woman to seek an abortion, to provide from conception the same protection for the lives of preborn humans that is provided to humans postbirth. In explaining and defending this position, the Article will further reveal the flaws in Tribe's perspective, as well as critique other reviews of Abortion.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Date posted: May 25, 2005