The priest highlighted painful examples in the nation's history, such as the 1857 Dred Scott decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled that black individuals were subhuman and had no constitutional rights.
“The wording of that decision, it just knocks you over,” he said, “but if you look between the lines, its the exact same logic as Roe v. Wade” – the landmark U.S. case that legalized abortion in 1973.
Although nearly 100 years apart, “both courts forgot about natural or inalienable rights. They never mentioned them.”
The second mistake both courts made, Fr. Spitzer said, is the illogical assumption that black people and the unborn needed to be proved human when the opposite process was required.
“Anyone who knows elementary ethics,” he said, knows “the principal of non-maleficence – don't do unnecessary harm.”
“If you're not going to do unnecessary harm, and you are uncertain, the burden of proof is on you to prove that the being under consideration is not human.”
Despite the tragic outcome of both cases and their societal impact, Fr. Spitzer said he's optimistic that a renewed effort to introduce basic philosophical arguments into the cultural debate will be successful.
He also said he believes that humanity ultimately wants to do the right thing.
“I think people honestly what to make an optimal positive difference with their lives, their time, their talents, and their energy,” he said.
“They want to make an optimal difference to family, to friends, to society, to their church if they have faith, to their local communities, to the little league, to the school board – whatever it may be, people are just generally exceedingly contributive.”
Fr. Spitzer also said the pro-life movement will continue to be effective given that people need to view these issues not just from an intellectual standpoint.
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“Don't just look at them with your mind, but look at them with your heart.”
“Let's come back to our senses and get out of the political rhetoric,” he urged. Let's take “a good objective look from the vantage point of the mind and the heart, and just say, come on, what do you really think?”