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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Griswold Delenda Est

The Alito confirmation will once again have us discussing precedents, decisions, and things Supreme Court and legal. A lot of attention focuses on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that forcibly legalized abortion everywhere within the United States. However, while abortion remains a highly controversial topic, Roe is predicated entirely on a previous case, Griswold v. Connecticut, dealing with something we today regard as far more mundane: artificial contraception.

Griswold created the "privacy" language that so many judicial conservatives detest in Roe. It declared that the Constitution, in addition to its explicit provisions, embodied other rights that "emanated" from it and were found in the "penumbras" of the text. In the words of former law professor, "I have many times taken the Constitution into a dark room, and have never on any occassion seen any penumbra, or anything else for that matter, emanating from it."

In short, the emanations and penumbra language of Griswold, which "found" (read: "invented") in the Constitution a completely nonexistent right to privacy, are the basis for the social and legal madness that we are afflicted with today. Griswold gave us Roe. It gave us Lawrence, which gave us the fiasco in Massachussets. And just as importantly, it pushed an already beseiged Catholic teaching, that the purpose of human sexuality is inherently and inextricably tied up in the procreative nature of the act, to the far outer fringes of society. Catholics should go beyond opposing Roe and voice their disapproval with Griswold not simply because the language there, when taken to its logical conclusions, necessitates Roe, but because this case itself has its own moral abominations. There is very significant statistical evidence that demonstrates the damage that widespread contraception has done to our society's moral fabric. Griswold isn't solely responsible for this -- but it serves to insulate the trend from reversal.

People like to disregard the Church's teachings on contraception because they find it inconvenient. Because they find it inconvenient, they don't bother to educate themselves as to why it is important -- and you can bet that nobody is going to bother to disabuse them of the notion that it is not. There are lots of people out there, even as within such close reach as the rest of the Catholic blogosphere, who write far more effectively on the Church's teaching on "pelvic issues," and why these teachings are integral to our Catholic understandings of the person and human relationships with each other and with God. So, if you're interested, and especially if you're a Catholic who doesn't understand or who disregards the Church's contraception teachings, I encourage you to poke around the Catholic blogosphere at places such as Mark Shea and The Shrine of the Holy Whapping, as well as to take a look at John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium Vitae.

As for myself, I say Griswold delenda est!

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Blogger Layla said...

In the interest of full disclosure, Paul wrote this post. It says I posted it because I did the logo thing and put it up in a test post to make sure it worked. Said test post became the post you see here.

That's not to say I don't agree with everything he said here. I do. I just didn't write this version of it. :)

4:07 PM  
Blogger Patrick Waffle said...

I am very sympathetic to your points in this post, but I have a serious problem with your statement that the Catholic church teaches "that the purpose of human sexuality is inherently and inextricably tied up in the procreative nature of the act." I dont merely want to rise the old and threadworn objection about what this means for married couples past menapause (Although this genuinely troubles me). I am also bothered by your vague language. What does "tied up" mean? That the only purpose of sex is procreation? Or that procreation is somehow mysteriously connected to marital sex in a way we cannot understand? Is your language the language that the Church uses? Is it in the Bible? (I cant find it there) Id appreciate your help.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Mr. Waffle's comment addressed here

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fo shizzle

6:14 AM  

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