Watchwoman on the Wall

Outlawing Abortion: The Case for Pro-Life Incrementalism, II

by Gerard Nadal, Ph.D. | Washington, DC | | 5/27/11 4:46 PM

Today, I’m privileged to present a guest article written by Father Steven E. Clark. Father Clark is Pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Mount Kisco, New York. He is a 1976 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis MD, a former Marine Corps Major, helicopter pilot and naval flight instructor, as well as master of Sacred Scripture. He’s also a priest’s priest, best friend whom I met in the seminary and Joseph’s Godfather. He brings an important perspective to bear on this ongoing debate.

Here is Father Clark:

Recently Dr. Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D., posted the blog entry, “Outlawing Abortion: Making the Case for an Incremental Approach.” The graphic is very apropos, and his reasoning I find very sound, quite in agreement with the moral Principle of Double Effect. Now before the “all-or-nothing” crowd blasts off to a region somewhere beyond the Plutonian orbit, let’s all take a breath and review the principle of double effect as I remember it from Msgr. William B. Smith’s course on Fundamental Moral Theology.

There are four conditions for the legitimate use of the principle of double effect.

First, the act itself must be morally good or at least morally indifferent (neutral). What could be better than working to save an innocent human life?

Second, the evil effect must not be intended for itself but only/merely intended. Here the person working to rescind the laws permitting abortion has taken a approach to incrementally rescind parts of the law(s) permitting abortions because for the past 30 years the all-or-nothing approach at overturning such laws has met with vociferous opposition and repeated failure. So, a person working to incrementally rescind/overturn abortion laws (I’ll call them “incrementalists” for the purpose of this article), intends to save lives within the realm of possibility, not directly intending the death of others, but looking forward to an eventual overturning of all laws permitting abortion.

Read the rest of the reasons at:

Pray for the mothers who keep their babies under trying circumstances, counsel them, support them. That is the Christian way!

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