NECAC Debate & Mars Hill Forum #41: Pro-Abortion Lawyers at Wellesley and SUNY Buffalo Avoid Definitions of Law

John C. Rankin

(April 3, 2014)

At Wellesley College in March of 1989, I was invited to debate feminist attorney, Jamie Sabino. She had worked against my 1988 pro-life referendum in Massachusetts. It was an audience of all women, 120 or so, at this prestigious women’s college outside Boston.

When I as a minister asked Ms. Sabino the attorney a legal question concerning the status of the unborn, she said that she did not understand it, and thus visibly and quickly lost the audience. It is so simple – unless we define who is a human being, those who possess life according to the Declaration of Independence and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments – then what purpose does law serve? How can liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness be legally safeguarded, unless we define the life for whom it is safeguarded? In Roe v. Wade’s pretension of ignorance employed to deny the humanity of the unborn, the Court avoided this question. My 1988 referendum addressed it, and this was fearful to the abortion-rights ideologues. They are opposed to accurate definition of terms and the power of informed choice.

On April 8, 1997, I addressed a Mars Hill Forum at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo with Lucinda Findley, a graduate of Yale Law School, an abortion-rights attorney, and professor of law, who argued the defense in a nationally profiled case in the U.S. Supreme Court, Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network. She too said she was ignorant about the matter of legal personhood, even to the point of stating that she did not know that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision states a non-consensus as to when biological human life begins.

I noticed a remarkable phenomenon in the audience of some 220 students, that during the Q & A, none of them once challenged anything I said. They all grilled Professor Findley. On a very secular campus, no less. We knew there was a solid contingent of Christians present at this forum (perhaps one-third the audience), but what does that say about the confidence of the abortion-rights position among college students, where sexual promiscuity is the rule, and on Professor Findley’s own campus? It seems that their sentiments was less confident or vocal  than among students a decade or two prior.