On Thursday, April 11, at their general meeting, Tigers for Life (TFL) hosted political science professor David Crockett as a guest speaker. Crockett, the chair of the Trinity University political science department, is an expert in the American presidency and classical and conservative philosophy, including the philosophy of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine.
The crowd was mixed, with TFL members and visitors alike in attendance. Before he started his talk, Crockett handed out an outline of topics to be discussed. Crockett’s main topic of focus in his talk was how natural law can provide a framework to argue for the immorality of abortion. First, he gave a brief introduction to natural law as an objective concept that can be applied to every human being. He also brought up Aquinas’s concept of human law, saying that human law does not always adhere to natural law, and thus, natural law can condemn certain human laws that violate it, such as murder, adultery, and theft. He also emphasized that his talk will not focus on abortion through a religious perspective, despite his own Christian identification.
After giving a brief background on natural and human law, Crockett delved into the discussion of abortion and natural law. He claimed that the first thing to consider regarding abortion is whether or not abortion can be classified as murder, which he defined as “the deliberate taking of human life.” To determine whether or not abortion is murder, he said we must consider four questions: Is abortion deliberate? Are we talking about a life? Is the life human? Is the life innocent? The most debated question is whether or not the life is human. Many abortion activists do not consider a fetus a life, so they would answer “no” to this question.
Dr. Crockett cited some interesting arguments that would question the innocence of an unborn baby. “Feminist scholar Ivy Munduna argues that the fetus aggressively intrudes on a woman’s body so massively that deadly force is justified to stop it. She argues that the fetus is objectively at fault for causing pregnancy,” said Crockett. However, he came to the conclusion that the answer is “yes” to all of the above questions, therefore, abortion is murder. “If abortion is murder, then overall, it violates natural law.”
According to attendees, average pro-life or pro-choice activists often neglect discussion of the topic in a philosophical context. “I found the theories or possibilities of why pro-choice people think that way in the context of natural law very interesting,” said Angelique Lopez, president of TFL.
Finally, Crockett discussed Thomas Aquinas’s concept of the corruption of reason and the five explanations for why people dispute the principles of natural law and whether or not abortion is murder. They are as follows: corruption of reason by passion, evil habit, evil disposition of nature, vicious custom, and depraved ideology. He emphasized that these are the main reasons why people violate the natural law conclusion that abortion is murder. Crockett concluded that we need to emphasize the centrality of humanity in order to prevent the taking of human life.
Tigers for Life will continue to host meetings and guest speakers to talk about multiple issues related to abortion from philosophy to public policy.