“My conscience tells me…”

Raymond A. Schroth and S. J.

in Bob Drinan

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780823233045
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240456 | DOI:
“My conscience tells me…”

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In 1970, the year Drinan left Boston College to run for office, his abortion stand gained major attention in two scholarly studies: Daniel Callaha's Abortion: Law, Choice and Morality (1970) and Germain Grisez's Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments (1970). Both were struck by the manner in which Drinan's ethical stance had evolved from “The Inviolability of the Right to Be Born,” published in Abortion and the Law (1967) and which appeared in other sources, where he declared that “any change of a substantial kind in America's abortion laws would be a notable departure from that body of Anglo-American law which regulates conduct deemed to constitute a crime against society” to articles, like those in America, in which he foresaw the public swing against abortion restrictions and urged Catholics to seek compromise legislation with abortion reformers. Then he moved to the stance where he proposed that, for various reasons, the law should say nothing about abortion. His central point, considered unusual at the time, was that while he maintained that abortion was immoral, the law should say nothing about it, because to legislate the conditions under which a pregnancy would be terminated would be to sanction the termination itself.

Keywords: Father Robert Drinan; Jesuit priests; abortion; abortion reformers

Chapter.  6938 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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