The Right To Life-The Abortion Dilemma

Norman St. John-Stevas, The Right to Life-The Abortion Dilemma, 4 Gonz. L. Rev. 1 (1968)

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Well, thank you, Dean O’Brien, for that kind introduction. I feel here, with this seal in front of me, rather like the President of the United States, except that I’ve only been given one microphone. But the illusion is confirmed when I look ahead of me and I see a student campaign poster saying “Johnson for Second V.P.,” so per- haps that is what is going to happen.

I congratulate you, Dean O’Brien, on pronouncing my name correctly. Somebody once said about my name: It’s not well enough known to be a household word, but too long to be a detergent. And thank you for mentioning some of my books. OBSCENITY AND THE LAW, my first book, is the only book that will be read exclusively for its footnotes, and as for LIFE, DEATH AND THE LAW, as one critic said of that book, once you put it down you can never pick it up again.

But I’m digressing, and I am here to talk on one aspect of the relationship of law and morals. Little knowledge, you know, of the law is said to be a dangerous thing, and that is true. And it reminds me of the fate of the first year law student at Harvard who became so confused between the crimes of arson and incest that he went home and set fire to his sister. But enough, Dean O’Brien, of these trivialities. We must turn to the subject on which you have brought me some 6,000 miles to speak-the right to life. . . .

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