How Will We Care for the “Extra” Children?

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If abortion were outlawed, what would the social ramifications be?

C.S. Lewis once observed that, "when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility."1 We express the same sentiment with the age-old adage, necessity is the mother of invention. When something must be done, it's no good arguing why it can't be done.

One of the clearest expressions of this sentiment in the context of public policy comes from the 1772 Somersett verdict that outlawed slavery in England. Lord Mansfield declared that, "we feel the force of the inconveniences and consequences that will follow the decision [to abolish slavery]. Yet all of us are so clearly of one opinion upon the only question before us, that we think we ought to give judgment."2 He went on to declare that, "the state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of now being introduced by Courts of Justice upon mere reasoning or inferences from any principles, natural or political; it must take its rise from positive law."3 In other words, he could find no reasoned, principled justification for slavery. Its only defense was that it had positive law on its side—which he rightly understood to be no defense at all.


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