June 19, 2012 |
As we near the end of the Supreme Court's term, many Americans are awaiting a decision on health-care reform with anticipation or trepidation. By the end of the month, the court is expected to decide whether the reform law's requirement that individuals purchase health insurance is constitutional. The principal argument of those in favor of the mandate is that individual decisions to purchase or not purchase health insurance substantially affect interstate commerce — to use the language the Supreme Court has used for nearly a century — and therefore fall within Congress' regulatory powers.
June 21, 1990 |
Whenever the hard choices of bioethics are debated, there are those who warn that a particular course of action will start society down a "slippery slope. " The usual presumption is that the normative values by which we live our lives stand like a forest at the top of the slope, preventing moral erosion, while the figurative gates of Auschwitz stand at the slope's bottom. The adherents of the slippery-slope theory argue that, once society steps onto the slope, it is difficult, if not impossible, to climb back up and prevent an ever faster ride to the bottom.
August 14, 2005 |
Did I miss something? Was America transported overnight to the Himalayas? Everywhere you look, bold signs warn that the nation is teetering on the edge of a slippery slope. Or so the fevered advocates tell us. They warn that if the nation takes this small step, or that one, it will slide pell-mell into chaos, degradation, tyranny or some other circle of the civic inferno. Every such slope, the partisans warn, is unfathomably steep and icy. Every tiny step down the slope is irrevocable and fatal: Let pharmacists refuse to dispense a contraceptive on moral grounds and soon they'll be refusing to sell you Advil if you voted for Kerry.
March 24, 2004 |
IN THE MATTER OF Melissa Rowland, the Utah woman who gave birth to a stillborn son after refusing to have a C-section, you can support the murder charge, or consider it an affront to justice, but can we all agree on one thing? That, truly, this woman is a loon? This has nothing to do with allegations of child abuse, or baby selling, or whatever else Rowland did with her messy life before gaining notoriety for murder by natural childbirth. It's because she said - allegedly - that the cut of the scalpel would "ruin" her life.
February 28, 1988 |
As a former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, who continues to agree with many of its positions, I am nonetheless considered a bewildering heretic by many of the ACLU's officers and members. They can't understand how I became pro-life. The lawyer for the ACLU's Reproductive Rights Division refers to me rather contemptuously as having been "born again. " Yet I remain an atheist. What changed me on the question of abortion were a number of handicapped infants who were killed by their parents and doctors because their "quality of life" was regarded as below standard.
June 14, 2001 |
Here's how ideologically constipated the debate over schools has become: New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg's call for a tiny and inoffensive voucher pilot program was considered too radical to include in the hollow education reform endorsed by the Senate. President Bush's own puny school-choice pilot was shouted out of the bill months ago. But Gregg's amendment was even meeker. It would have given interested local districts a mere $50 million to test a school-choice program of their own design, voluntarily.
January 31, 2007
LAST WEEK, we asked if it made sense, with the level of homicides and other violence on our streets, to let police stop and frisk people to uncover illegal weapons. Your responses: It's about time Crime has reached epidemic proportions, and it is definitely time for drastic measures. While individual rights are a major concern, the right to live in a safe environment is essential to one's well-being and peace of mind. Much effort has been put forth to address the problem, but at the core is a mentality that makes it OK to kill for minor infractions, and a prison sentence is considered a rite of passage.
February 11, 1999 |
When Los Angeles the other day became the first big city to limit citizens to one handgun purchase each month, it struck a blow not only against illegal gun traffickers but against the "slippery slope" rhetoric rampant in America's political culture. You hear it almost daily: "Yes," says zealot X or interest group Y, "the proposal at hand seems harmless enough. But the chain of further steps it will set in motion involves unambiguous evil. " The paranoia is bipartisan. A ban on "partial birth" abortion becomes tantamount to Roe v. Wade's repeal.
March 7, 1998 |
Talk about flirting with disaster. Casey Martin looked for a time yesterday as if he might well miss the cut. And then he looked as if he was literally walking into a situation in which he could break his fragile, famous leg. But Martin recovered from both brushes with catastrophe in style, first making like a mountain goat to reach his ball, then making like a grizzled tour veteran to salvage his round, before finishing Day Two of the...
March 26, 1996 |
All of us who have been speaking up for, and striving to protect, each precious human life are still in shock over the incredible decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held by an 8-3 vote that a state of Washington statute banning assisted suicide violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment "insofar as [it] prohibits physicians from prescribing life-ending medication for use by terminally ill, competent adults who wish to hasten their own deaths. " The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court abortion decisions started us as a nation down the "slippery slope" toward endangering all human life at every stage of development, and the angle and rate of descent have been increasing over the years as various courts continue to dismantle protections for God's great gift of created human life.