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Abortion and Murder


[Following up some exchanges yesterday in re Bill Pryor's position on Roe
vs. Wade.] Reader David Churchill Barrow, whose middle name I covet,
writes: “I note with satisfaction Derb’s argument that murder is (and should
continue to be) a legal term, and that it is used sparingly in the New
Testament. There is also much authority for the translation in the Old
Testament of one of the Ten Commandments as ‘Thou shalt not do murder.’
Obviously the Old Testament had a variety of permitted killing, so only
murder as a legal concept has any rational meaning in this context.” Not
only the Bible, but also Anglo-Saxon common law, harbors the concept of
“justifiable homicide,” as well as different categories of non-justifiable
homicide (e.g. “manslaughter”). You don’t win any arguments–certainly not
in a culture as lawyer-dominated as America’s!–without adhering strictly to
the proper, precise meaning of words. Personally, I’d like to see the
pro-life movement win more of their arguments. That’s all.


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