The Corner

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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