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OUTLINE OF

THE HOUSE OF ATREUS

 

Part I--RE-EVALUATING THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT ABORTION

 

CHAPTER 1: ROE v. WADE

1. The significance of Roe v. Wade.
2. The derivation of the "right to privacy."
3. Roe and the Supreme Court's other abortion cases.
4. Why the unborn should be protected as "persons" under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment before abortion is protected as "liberty."
5. Parallel between the right to abortion under Roe and the Roman right of patriae potestas.
6. Infanticide in Rome and the argument that the term "human being" is a relative one.

CHAPTER 2: LIVING

 

1. Evidence that many people do not realize that the unborn are alive from conception onwards.
2. Why biologists have rejected the theory of spontaneous generation.
3. Why anyone who believes that the unborn are not living from conception onwards necessarily believes in spontaneous generation.

 

CHAPTER 3: ALL TOO HUMAN

 

1. The flaws inherent in arguments that assert the unborn are not human because they differ in some way from born human beings.
2. Why whether the unborn are human is a biological question.
3. The definition of "human being."
4. Why the unborn are human beings.
 
a. Why the unborn do not resemble born human beings for some time after fertilization.
b. Why the retention of fetal traits makes human beings human.
5. Why abortion proponents argue that the unborn are not "human beings" when they are not really referring to human beings at all.

 

CHAPTER 4: PERSONS

 

1. When abortion proponents assert that the unborn are not persons, what do they mean by "persons?"
2. The definition of "person."
3. Why the unborn are, in any meaningful sense of the word, "persons."
4. Why abortion proponents argue that the unborn are not "persons" when in fact they are not really referring to persons at all.

 

CHAPTER 5: DRAWING THE CIRCLE

 

1. One cannot believe that all human beings are created equal and each has a right to life without also believing that the unborn have a right to life.
 
a. Language in the Declaration of Independence stating that "all men are created equal" and that each has an inalienable "right to life."
b. Why the language "all men" in the Declaration must be understood to mean "all human beings."
2. Why society should recognize the right to life of all human beings.
 
a. No society which truly believes in human rights can refuse to recognize the right to life of the unborn or any other class of innocent human beings.
b. Why it is in our own best interest to recognize the right to life of the unborn and all other human beings.

 

CHAPTER 6: THE OBJECTIONS

 

1. The problems with the "Good Samaritan" argument.
2. The problems with the argument that a woman gives the unborn no right to the use of her body.
3. The problems with the argument that, even if the unborn has a right to life, abortion does not violate that right.
4. The problems with the "self-defense" argument.
5. The problems with the position of those who assert that they are "personally opposed" to abortion but nevertheless "pro-choice."

 

Part II--RE-EVALUATING HOW WE FEEL ABOUT ABORTION

 

CHAPTER 7: IT IS HAPPENING HERE

 

1. While the Nazis' extermination campaigns are by no means identical to abortion in the U.S., extensive similarities exist between the two which make comparisons inevitable.
2. The origins of the Final Solution.
 
a. The eugenics movement.
b. The euthanasia program.
c. The parallels between the eugenics movement in Germany and the movement in the United States.
2. The parallels between the destruction of the unborn and the destruction of the Nazis' victims.
 
a. Victims regarded as subhuman and not alive.
b. The role of the tools of "advanced culture."
 
i. "progressive" ideas.
ii. "science."
c. The suppression of criticism.
d. Killing in "self defense."
e. Superior orders/"choice."
f. Accelerating the inevitable.
g. "Humane" killing.
h. The tendency for the scope of killing to expand.
i. The role of the medical community.
j. Germany's high court abortion decision.
3. The consequences of our accommodation of abortion.

 

CHAPTER 8: LANGUAGE

 

1. The role of language in the destruction of the unborn.
2. Why we use language which obscures that the unborn are human and that abortion involves killing them.
3. Others have made similar use of language to loose the strictures of conscience.
 
a. Nazi Germany.
b. Connection between language and atrocities in the War in the Pacific.
c. Language borrowed from the abortion movement to make the killing of defective newborns more palatable.
4. Naomi Wolf's New Republic article on abortion rhetoric in the feminist movement.
 
a. The problems with Wolf's conclusions.
5. Why the language we use to refer to the unborn is Orwellian.

 

CHAPTER 9: ARBITRARY

 

1. References in Roe v. Wade to passages from Aristotle and Plato which endorse infanticide as well as abortion.
2. Why the distinctions we draw between abortion and infanticide are arbitrary.
 
a. The same child doctors would be struggling to save if born premature, an abortionist can dismember if it remains in the womb.
b. "Partial-birth" abortions.
c. Abortion proponents concede that the distinction between abortion and infanticide is arbitrary, but defend abortion on the grounds that infanticide isn't so bad either.
3. Problems with the argument that we tolerate abortion but not infanticide because we intuitively recognize that newborns are human but the unborn are not.

 

CHAPTER 10: "HASTENING DEATH"

 

1. The relationship between the abortion movement and the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement.
2. Why the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement is a significant threat.
3. The role of pain and other psychological factors in assisted suicide/euthanasia.
4. How assisted suicide tends to lead to euthanasia, and voluntary killing tends to lead to involuntary killing.
5. Parallels between the abortion movement and the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement:
 
a. The role of notions of "humane" killing.
b. The tendency for the scope of the killing to expand.
c. The role of language.
d. Ideas of differential human worth.
e. The dismantling of long accepted standards of medical ethics.

 

CHAPTER 11: THE HOUSE OF ATREUS

 

1. The Greek myth of the House of Atreus.
2. Why the House of Atreus is an apt metaphor for abortion.
 
a. The extent of the killing.
b. The exploitation of children.
c. The perversions of nature.
d. The cannibalism.
e. Aeschylus' own comparison of the carnage wrought by the House of Atreus and the destruction of the unborn.
f. Feminists who have invoked the metaphor themselves.

 

Epilogue

 

A. Why Roe v. Wade is "on collision course with itself" and with our best aspirations for ourselves.
B. Although the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause does not protect the unborn, the clause was drafted to protect blacks, and blacks were regarded as fetuses at the time the clause was drafted.
C. Why, despite the terrible truth about abortion, there is reason for hope.

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