Never, never will we desist till we … extinguish every trace of this bloody traffic [slavery], of which our posterity, looking back to the history of those enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this county.
— William Wilberforce, 1791 speech, House of Commons; quoted in Abortion: A Rational Look At An Emotional Issue by R. C. Sproul, p. 11
If abortion is made illegal because the law comes to recognize the unborn as intrinsically valuable human persons, legislatures, while crafting laws and penalties, and courts, while making judgments as to sentencing, will have to take into consideration the following facts. Continue reading
Since 1973 the overwhelming consensus of scholarship has shown that the Court’s history (of abortion), especially its interpretation of common law, is almost entirely mistaken. Justice Blackmun’s history (excluding his discussion of contemporary professional groups: AMA, APHA, and ABA) is so flawed that it has inspired the production of scores of scholarly works, over the last quarter of the 20th century, that are nearly unanimous in concluding that Justice Blackmun’s “history” is untrustworthy and essentially worthless.
— Francis Beckwith, from Defending Life, p. 23
- [150 years ago]: “In the eyes of the law … the slave is not a person.” Virginia Supreme Court decision, 1858
- [130 years ago]: “An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.” George Canfield, American Law Review, 1881
- [100 years ago]: “The statutory word ‘person’ did not in these circumstances include women.” British voting rights case, 1909
- [75 years ago]: “The Reichsgericht itself refused to recognize Jews … as ‘persons’ in the legal sense.” German Supreme Court decision, 1936
- [10 years ago]: “The law of Canada does not recognize the unborn child as a legal person possessing rights.” Canadian Supreme Court, Winnipeg Child and Family Services Case, 1997
— William Brennan, quoted in A Right to Know a Stand to Reason publication, back cover