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Peace & Life Connections #35 - November 12, 2010


Old is New: “The Seamless Garment” video is Now Up on YouTube

        Our YouTube channel expands once again with the addition of The Seamless Garment, previously only available on VHS. The first four interviewees are pictured below: Eileen Egan, who first coined the phrase “seamless garment”; Juli Loesch Wiley, who founded Prolifers for Survival, precursor group to the Seamless Garment Network (now Consistent Life), journalist Nat Hentoff discussing rights for disabled people, and Hispanic activist Consuelo Beck-Sague. These among many others make the case in the late 1980s.

PLC 35 video

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Upcoming Strategy  

        CL Board member Richard Stith, professor of law at Valparaiso University, has published suggestions on strategy for abortion in health care legislation in First Things. The online article has opportunity to comment.

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 More U.S. Election News

         In contrast to his opponent, Representative Joseph Cao, a Vietnamese-American from Louisiana, has a strong voting record against abortion. Accordingly, Cao was endorsed by single-issue groups such as the National Right to Life Committee. However, the Family Research Council is a multi-issue organization, and they ran attack ads for his position in favor of gay rights. Cao lost the election.

        While Cao was not a consistent-life candidate, there is an angle here that connects to the consistent life ethic as a whole. A common criticism is the idea that we water down the importance of abortion by putting it in with other issues. But it has this huge advantage: it puts abortion on the list of dehumanizing violence, where it belongs. To take a different multi-issue approach, making the category not violence but an argument about sexual ethics, means prolifers lose their case.

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 Facebook posting

         We give an excerpt of what Nicholas Ryan Neal posted November 3, 2010, and remind readers that we like to get good letters to the editor, blogs, and other postings. Send them to

        “One [criticism of the consistent life ethic] is that it links issues that shouldn't be linked, that killing in abortion is somehow different than killing in war because of intention or reason. However both abortion and war causes the death of innocent people, and both do create a mindset that human value is based on location rather than intrinsic worth (location in the womb and location in an area being attacked). Ironically, among the victims of war are the unborn. Nuclear radiation has caused fetal deformities, and shock waves from the bombings have been known to cause women to miscarry. Something that peace activists should ask themselves is if dismembering a human child within the womb is really ‘giving peace a chance?’. . .  

         The second criticism is typically from pro-lifers.  It is that the consistent life ethic somehow distracts from the abortion issue.  . . . the C.L.E merely recognizes a common thread of violence in both abortion and war and opposes it consistently. This position is politically inconvenient, yes, but not pro-abortion. If anything truly compromises the sanctity of life, it is marriage of pro-life/pro-war ideology. When we as pro-lifers try to convince people that all human life is sacred but take a step back and say ‘well, except in war and capital punishment,’ our larger message becomes compromised, the sanctity of life suddenly becomes morally relative rather than morally absolute.

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Quotation of the Week

HarperFrances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1866

Proceedings of the Eleventh Women's Rights Convention

        "We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul."

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