Notre Dame Professors Discuss Abortion

Author: Charles Williams

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Professors John Finnis, Rick Garnett, and M. Cathleen Kaveny were among the speakers at the two-day Princeton University conference “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Fair Minded Words: A Conference on Life and Choice in the Abortion Debate.”

Professor Finnis, the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at Notre Dame and Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at the University of Oxford, appeared on a plenary panel discussion on “The Moral Status of the Fetus.” There he and proponents of different perspectives on the moral status of the fetus presented and discussed their views.

Professor Garnett, who teaches and writes about the First Amendment freedoms as well as constitutional law more generally, joined a plenary panel addressing the question “Abortion in America, Should it be a Constitutional Question?” The panel noted that ever since Roe v. Wade, courts and legislatures throughout the United States have wrestled with the extent to which abortion issues should be decided by the courts rather than by the legislature — or by a combination of the two, as they are in some democracies.

Professor Kaveny is the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law and Professor of Theology at Notre Dame. She spoke on a plenary panel entitled “From Morality to Public Policy,” which discussed the public policy and legal questions that emerge from a consideration of the morality of abortion.