Email this review


Certainly closer in authoritative and reasoned tone to British jurist Glanville Williams (who questioned the casuistry of the Catholic Church in The Sanctity of Life - 1955) than to Lawrence Lader, Father Granfield, trained in both the disciplines of theology and law, examines the scientific, historical, sociomedical, moral and legal questions entailed. All extensively while no consideration, no matter how extreme, moves him away from the fixed position of the Church. Scientifically, he establishes that human life begins with fertilization and morally, that abortion is an attack on human life as well as an abuse of human power. Historically, he examines the statutes existing two thousand years before Christianity in other civilizations as well as the evolution of the ecclesiastical laws; sociomedically, he finds that abortion (""the specious appeal of the lethal shortcut"") has no grounds which are justifiable; morally again he defends the unborn on existential as well as Thomistic principles; legally he puts down the extremist American Civil Liberties Union as well as the more moderate American Law Institute since law is not the solution. Closing with his ""viable alternative"" one is left with a formless ""complexus of remedies"" -- we should eliminate the causes of defective children and help them if they are born; remove the stigma of illegitimacy; help unwed mothers; improve social conditions generally and provide proper sex education. An important book for members of the Catholic Church since it is an in-depth presentation and a considered one although it is unlikely to affect the convictions of anyone on the other side of this live-coal issue.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday