Human Life Review Blog

Scroll through our blog to find great articles and commentary on current life issues.

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Piety and Laughter—J.P. McFadden

  [The Human Life Foundation will hold its 19th annual Great Defender of Life Dinner on Oct 6. The following appreciation is reprinted here in memory of James P. McFadden, a widely known and admired Great Defender of Life—and the founding editor of the Human Life Review—who...
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Bottle Babies

  With the overturn of Roe and its emphasis on viability, “life begins at conception” has a chance of graduating from opinion to law in the form of fetal personhood legislation. This raises issues ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Ridiculous as in the abortion...
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“No Greater Love”

  Aware that it has been 25 years since Mother Teresa passed away, the creators of a new documentary are seeking to make her life and labors known to a generation for whom she may be an unfamiliar saint on the calendar (September 5). Mother Teresa: No Greater Love, produced...
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Bloodlines

  George Barone came into this world in the dying gasp of the 19th century, sired by the same father, James, as my maternal grandmother Rose. They had different mothers, technically making them half-siblings among the ten or so other children both camps totaled when all was...
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Count the Living

  As a prolifer in the United States, I was haunted for years by the staggering number of dead. The children who never see sunlight. The mothers who carry the ghosts of these murdered little ones in their wounded hearts. The toll of abortion, the stories of death and misery...
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Shall We Wince?

There’s a lot of crowing and barnyard strutting about a recent referendum in Kansas. By voting against it, Kansans upheld a previous court ruling that found a right to tax-payer-funded abortion in their state constitution. If the Democrats had any honesty, they would now be...
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In Memoriam: On the 80th Anniversary of Janusz Korczak’s Death

  August 2022 marks the eightieth anniversary of the death of Dr. Janusz Korczak  (1878/9-1942). In 1942, Korczak, a Polish pediatrician, educator, writer, and humanitarian, voluntarily accompanied nearly 200 orphans in his charge to their deaths in the gas chamber at...
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Senior Size Me

  It came in the mail. An “Official Business” government envelope would normally press my panic button, but I knew this had more to do with death than taxes. Actuaries not auditors were on my case. Inside the envelope was my Medicare card, carrying a unique number I am not...
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Who Hears?

  Pro-choicers are conducting a campaign of violence nationwide in the wake of the Dobbs ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Churches, pro-life offices, pro-life pregnancy centers, and anywhere or anyone else associated with respect for human life is fair game. The “Summer of...
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The Other End of the Iceberg

  “Possession is nine-tenths of the law” isn’t an actual law, it’s an expression. It means that ownership is easier to establish if one has possession of a thing, more difficult to establish if one does not. For nearly fifty years, the pro-abortion front owned the debate...
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Of Elephants and Men

  In June 1215, English barons cornered King John on the fields of Runnymede and forced him to sign the Great Charter—Magna Carta—among whose guarantees was the right to habeas corpus: “No man shall be arrested or imprisoned . . . except by the lawful judgment of his peers...
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Stupid Covid

  Who here remembers “two weeks to flatten the curve”? Anybody? How about six feet of social distance to “stop the spread”? And let’s not forget this hoary chestnut: “Follow the science.” All of these were still in vogue—though the bodies stacked outside Elmhurst hospital,...
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The Answer to Roe is Nuremberg

  In the twentieth century, transgression outstripped the framework of crime. The maddest dreams of the maddest men of the past could never have conjured up the horrors of modern mass killing—Ravensbrück, Auschwitz, Buchenwald. It was in numb recognition of the inability of...
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Roe Goes. Now the Row

  Has anyone heard, in these heated post-Roe days, a well-reasoned, legally sound defense of the 1973 opinion itself? Crickets? That tells us a lot. But let me take a step back and celebrate the moment, which, to be honest, I never thought would come in my lifetime. Through...
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Accidental Media

  In the eighties and nineties, I would meet with a group on the Lower East Side for discussion and commentary on the arts-and-culture scene. Okay, okay, we were there to buy pot. Gordon (not his real name) was the dealer, and he was very organized and surprisingly strict....
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Fatherhood in a Post-Roe America

  Father’s Day is June 19. A decision by the Supreme Court regarding the fate of Roe v. Wade is likely any day now. The conjunction of these two events is important. It ought to initiate a national conversation about fathers and their unborn children. Roe is just the tip of...
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The Abortifacient Pill Debate Comes to Japan

  A Japanese friend and colleague who studies history and historiographical epistemology sometimes remarks that cultural battles in the United States break out in Japan five or ten years later. That analysis is proving true once again in the case of abortifacient pills. In...
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Chesterton for What Ails Us

  We live in interesting, even dangerous, times. Take your pick of crises from the headlines: shootings; inflation; suicide epidemic; pandemic; opioid overdoses; looming war in the West; threats of violence if Roe v. Wade is overturned. There’s little good news or comfort...
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Making Someone Else’s Bed

  On a pack of cigarettes, we see WARNING: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy. Some pill bottles read WARNING: Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this product as it may cause drowsiness. Abortion has packaging...
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Notes on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Patriarchy

  The pro-choice rants of sanctimonious goddesses mock us with fantasies about an overarching conspiracy that does not exist. “The real agenda of those teaching abstinence-only education,” they scream, “is to stop free sex!” Who is responsible for this failed curriculu...
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Four Generations

  Merely a few feet from my bed stood Jack the Youngster, burbling in his Pack ’n Play portable rumpus cage/crib. His emission of growling noises—a favored locution of his and of mine, and an ongoing source of amusement for both of us—was wearing thin now that it was time to...
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“Harriet Looks to You for Justice”

Those Who Give All for Life I got to know Will Goodman when I was in graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin, some ten years ago. On Friday afternoons I prayed outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of town. Will would often be there with...
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Serious Cleavage

Ten years or so ago I was on the subway reading a book. It was warm weather and I was wearing a light blouse. In my peripheral vision I caught sight of a boy of about twelve standing next to me and staring at my chest. I looked down to discover that the top button of my blouse...
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Easter Enigmas

You would think after so long a time we’d be better at this. Lent, Holy Week, Easter. They’ve been observed for some two millennia—and for however many years in our own lives—yet by now, two days after Easter Sunday, we may wonder what it was all about. Well, let me speak for...
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When There Is No King

I have been doing a slow walk through J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion in concert with a Tolkien podcast; concurrently, I am moving through the Old Testament books of Joshua and Judges, accompanied by Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast. The experiences are weirdly similar....
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Fathers and Sons

  In Herodotus’ Histories we learn that Croesus, King of Lydia, waged war upon his neighbor Cyrus II, the great king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. At the outset, Croesus felt assured of his victory, having been told by the oracle at Delphi that he would destroy a great...
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Trouble in Paradise

I went to Catholic School in the 1960’s. This was the time of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II, 1962-65). Pope John XXIII called the Council because he believed the Church needed updating. Perhaps this was why when we were taught about the six days of creation the focus...
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Silly-Clever Pro-Choice Arguments, and How to Take Them Down

It was an example of the kind I call “silly-clever,” borrowing the term from George Orwell. He used it in criticizing the work of the major Christian apologists of his day, including Chesterton and Lewis. (I don’t think his argument against them is very good, for what it’s...
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In Praise of Motherhood

  The other day, in an idle moment, I was reading the Spectator and came upon a rather shocking piece on motherhood, a shocking but a brilliant piece entitled “What does Gen Z have against motherhood?” by the wonderfully talented young writer, Freya India, who, responding to...
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How Pro-Life Am I, Really?

  Following oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last December, the Supreme Court justices cast their votes, the decision was logged, and the opinion of the Court—along with any concurrences and dissents—is now being written. Experts say it will be...
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Bringing 40 Days for Life to Japan: The Cultural Coloring of Pro-Life Work in East Asia

A week or so ago I sat in on a Zoom meeting hosted by the London office of 40 Days for Life.  Prolifers will recognize the name: From its inception back in 2004 as a Lenten movement to shut down a Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, Forty Days for Life has grown into an...
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You Don’t Say!

Abortion serves men, because it allows them sex without responsibility, and always has. “You take care of it.” A Democratic administration is intent on enshrining it. Who says they don’t open doors for us anymore? Which is why the hands-off-my-body placards at abortion-rights...
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Rights Talk and Abortion

I was in my teens when the move to legalize abortion in New York State stirred private and public debates on the topic and precipitated my own interest in defending the unborn’s right to life. Over time assisted suicide joined the list of pro-life issues, as state legislatures...
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The Core of the Gambler

“Gambling,” said Meyer Lansky—and the old racketeer knew a thing or two about the subject—“pulls at the core of a man.” If the explosion of legal online sports betting in New York State is any indicator, millions of men are being pulled at their core; millions of women, too. The...
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“Total Anarchy”: How Is a Human Being to Live?

Some old friends were in town recently, so I joined them for lunch. Among their number was Miroslav Marinov, a Bulgarian intellectual who fled his communist homeland long ago and settled in Canada, where he still resides today. One of the most erudite people I know, Miro, as we...
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When I’m Sixty-Four

Facebook found me out. At least I think it must have been the Zuckerberg conglomerate that culled and sold my personal data so that months before I turned the age the Beatles sang about, I began seeing targeted web ads for retirement investments—401k, IRA and estate strategies,...
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Pope Francis, Pets, Babies . . . and God

Pope Francis has been widely criticized for comments he made last week about young couples choosing pets over children: We see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have...
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Abortion, the Hunger for Heaven and Thomas Hardy

Whenever we think of the forces arrayed against the pro-life cause—and they can sometimes seem rather formidable, especially when we take into account that they include what St. John Henry Cardinal Newman nicely referred to as the “aboriginal calamity” of original sin—we must...
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“Every Moment Is Precious”

  As we can see in the debate anticipating the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, many abortion arguments boil down to the question of when the occupant of the womb should be considered a human being. Prolifers—and biology textbooks—state the obvious...
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Innocents Then and Now

Bleak and brutal. These words come to mind today—December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents—when the Church remembers the children who were murdered in what the poet John Donne calls “Herod’s jealous general doom” (“La Corona”). Of course, no words, poetic or prophetic, can...
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Before You Were a Twinkle in Your Father’s Eye

The other night while dial-surfing on FM radio for some music, I came upon a talk-radio guest sputtering excitedly: “The people behind the 15-week ban on abortion in Mississippi are trying to change the definition of viability!” The nerve! Not only an assault on abortion rights...
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The Roe v. Wade Deception

Abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy, under all circumstances, in every state, and Americans are not allowed to vote on it. That is what the Supreme Court mandated when it handed down the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Furthermore, the Supreme Court justices...
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A “Saint” of the Sumo World

In a recent Human Life Review blog (https://humanlifereview.com/wrestling-with-life-issues-in-japan/) I wrote about a loutish sumo wrestler, the mistress he mistreated, and the child they conceived. When his mistress told him she was pregnant with his baby, the sumo wrestler in...
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Dobbs v. Jackson: Folly—and Furor

Every day, the beneficence and wisdom of our public “expert” class look less beneficent, and certainly less wise. There’s Covid; there’s public schooling and job opportunity; there’s race relations; there’s government spending. To which well-known topics, let’s join abortion and...
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TIME TO GIVE THE UNBORN THEIR DUE

This week the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case concerns Mississippi’s 2018 “Gestational Age Act,” which prohibits abortion after 15-weeks of gestation (13-weeks after fertilization). The question before the...
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Boomers’ Last Gasp

If someone had told me of a plan to make a three-part TV documentary based on rare footage of the Beatles’ final recording session, I would probably have said, “Why bother?” Although the preposterously premised film Yesterday—which imagined that a cosmic glitch had wiped the...
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Memento Mori

In one of the many rules St. Benedict wrote for his 6th-century religious community, the father of Western monasticism directed his monks to “remember to keep death before your eyes daily.” A dour suggestion at first blush, Benedict was urging his followers to contemplate the...
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Follow the Science Down the Yellow Brick Road

We hear a lot about nuclear stockpiles. There are pacts and treaties and deals aimed at limiting and destroying nukes. But what about virus stockpiles? The American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, is, according to its website, a “global...
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Halloween Mania and the Death of Festive Culture

Well, that’s done for another year. You know what I mean: Halloween. Call me a sour puss whose kids are beyond the trick-or-treat phase, but Halloween seems to get more eerie every year, and not in fun or healthy ways. The ghosts and goblins come out earlier, with some stores now...
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Wrestling with Life Issues in Japan

An article in a Japanese magazine caught my eye a few months back. It was about a sumo wrestler, but that’s not what was unusual about it. Sumo remains very popular in Japan, and top wrestlers have the status of major celebrities. News coverage of goings-on inside and outside of...
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Roe v. Wade for Dummies

On December 1, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (an abortion clinic), a case challenging the legality of a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Mississippi has asked the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade...
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“The Law is a Ass”

You may recognize the fractured English in my title as the considered judgment of Mr. Bumble, the selfish, scheming, self-satisfied character in Oliver Twist. In true Dickensian style, he lives up to his name as his petty plots while working as parish beadle backfire, leaving him...
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An Economic Case for Abortion?

A recent front-page news summary in the Financial Times was headlined “Economists back abortion rights.” As an economist I had thought this topic was out of bounds for the profession, so I read the article with interest. When I subsequently examined the relevant evidence, it...
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The Women’s Health Protection Act: Democrats Attempt to Legislate Roe and Doe

On Friday, September 24, I watched the U.S. House of Representatives debate—and pass—the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). Put forward by pro-abortion Democrats in the House as a means of enshrining Roe v. Wade in federal law, the legislation should be renamed the...
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Signage of the Times

Recently I got off a bus from New England at the Port Authority in New York City. According to the employee at the information desk there are now only two ways to get to the upper level to access the street and subway, a very long flight of stairs or an elevator. A sign is posted...
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Notes on Woke

Sometimes it seems as if the institutions of our seasick culture have embraced the same way of thinking, that is, that every problem is a public-relations problem crying out for a public-relations solution. This obsession with creating appearances instead of addressing realities...
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More than Memories

The last time I saw the Twin Towers, they stood with amazing grace. Shimmering with the flaming colors of sunrise, the often gaudy-seeming weights at the lower end of the city’s skyline exuded a double-barreled beauty against a clear, brightening sky. Having grown up a few blocks...
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UK Cuts UNFPA Abortion Funds

[The following is adapted from a column that originally appeared on the (Italian) website The New Daily Compass (newdailycompass.com) and is reprinted with permission.] Since the beginning of the year, most of the reproductive rights focus has been on the restoration of United...
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Targeting Down’s Today, Autism Tomorrow

As I went through the paperwork, I was aware of a familiar hollow feeling in my chest. It was the one I had when my older son was diagnosed with autism. This past March, while the world was still in COVID-crisis mode, my husband and I were in a crisis of our own. We had applied...
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Identity Alphabet Soup

The ever-expanding LGBT acronym is currently holding at LGBTQIA+. The added A stands for asexual, the Q is interchangeable for queer or questioning, apparently the + sign stands for the kitchen sink, and a recent annexation, the “I,” stands for intersex, historically known as...
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Calling Out Chesterton

At the risk of being labeled a heretic, I must confess that to my mind there’s something not quite right with G. K. Chesterton. I assume that many in this audience would strike the virtual match to my imagined pyre, and I would not blame them. Who am I to criticize one of the...
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Waiting for Dobbs

I have been reading The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc, a play that French poet Charles Peguy wrote more than a century ago. For the French especially, Joan of Arc’s life and death are an inspiring patriotic touchstone to return to in times of national crisis or...
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The Fullness of Forgotten Lives

When I was in graduate school, using the word “agency” was a favorite signal of one’s in-group status. In the cutthroat world of graduate history seminars, “agency” is a way to criticize “tropes” about people in the past. A commonly called-out “trope” is that “subalterns,” or...
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Commencement—What Next?

The task of the commencement speaker is a curious one. After all, what can students learn inside of an hour that they have not learned over the long haul of four years? Cartoonist Garry Trudeau once said “Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing...
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Heritage and Culture

Following the natural order of things, my paternal great-grandfather died well before I was born. I bear the same name he did, except, of course, he was Pietro. A Calabrese who left his homeland for the confounding strangeness of this new world, he came over on the SS Virginia,...
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Photo 52393174 © Mike Mols | Dreamstime.com

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Ridiculous

Today your fifteen-year-old daughter tells you she’s really a boy and wants to sue her school so she can use the boys’ bathroom and locker room. You can either book the operating room for her to undergo bodily mutilation, or you can give her some sensible parental advice.
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Can the GOP Save the Hyde Amendment?

I spent part of the past weekend reviewing articles written by reporters who attended the National Right to Life convention last week. I did so not only because it is my job as the organization’s communications director, but also because I am genuinely curious to know how the...
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Lubbock and Evanston: Pro-Life, Slow Death

As reported by Breitbart, in early June a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a Planned Parenthood/ACLU lawsuit against the city of Lubbock, Texas. The lawsuit, which opens with “The Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to have an abortion,” claims that Lubbock,...
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Dad’s Bread and Butter Crumbs

One recent morning, while emailing one of my co-workers and simultaneously texting my boss, I heard the distinctive sound of toast popping up. I was working in the living room—my pandemic-mandated office—and after hitting “Send” I ran to the kitchen and pressed the lever to...
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Photo 122977863 / Chinese Countryside © Michel Arnault | Dreamstime.com

The Wages of Population Meddling

“When will they evvvvv-er learn?,” as Peter, Paul, and Mary used emotionally to warble, to the accompaniment of guitars. Probably never. Meddling seems woven into the human character. But watching the meddlers squirm and slap their foreheads, as in China and elsewhere, can be fun...
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On What We Inherit—and What We Pass On

My mother grew up in Rego Park, Queens, New York. She said the developer who named the town got “Rego” from a contraction of “Real Good.” The daughter of strict German immigrants, being raised in the shadow of World War II, she embodied the first-generation ethos of dreams...
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USAID’s Samantha Power: New Power on the Global Stage

[The following is adapted from a column that originally appeared on the (Italian) website The New Daily Compass (newdailycompass.com) and is reprinted with permission.] The new Biden-Harris Administration immediately adopted a “tabula rasa” approach to life matters. From day one,...
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Anticipating Pentecost

“The one who’s in front of me.” That was the simple but profound answer the elderly mother gave when asked which of her children she loved the most. Of course, as fair-minded liberals we would want her to say that she loves all of her children equally. But love is not a right or...
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Why Life?

Back when my two sons were still a captive audience during car trips, I naturally sought to teach them philosophy and theology. “What is the first question of philosophy?” I would ask, and they soon knew to respond, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” I would continue...
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Brain Smog

Seeing a celebrity in person is like seeing a ghost in reverse. Celebrities are all around us, but for most of the time it’s in the two-dimensional form of print and film imagery. They’re a facsimile, not truly alive. Like a ghost. But when you find yourself in the same room,...
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Looking Forward to 2022

Pro-life candidates in 2020 gained 12 seats in the US House, and tied 50-50 in the US Senate—better than expected, but in Washington we must continue to play defense through the midterm elections in 2022. Our immediate focus must therefore be on enacting state legislation, where...
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The Truth Is Not Out There

When my brother and I were younger we used to love watching The X-Files. Anyone who came of age in the 90s will remember the show. Mulder and Scully were FBI agents trying to track down shadowy figures in government—today we would call it “the deep state”— believed to have...
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Glimpsing God in Down Syndrome

My eight-year-old daughter Maggie, who has Down syndrome, made her First Confession last month. And therein lies a story. It had been scheduled rather last minute. Communication with the parish during the past year has been challenging, and with vacation, etc., I lost track of...
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Pepé Le Cuomo

This is the worst time for cancel culture to set its myopic sights on Pepé Le Pew, because Andrew Cuomo is Pepé Le Pew. I believe the women’s accusations of sexual bullying are credible. I also believe that in his own mind Cuomo’s done nothing wrong: They were all “old enough.”...
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False and Faithful Witness

For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree (Mark 14:59).  The chief priests knew what they wanted to do. The problem was how to justify it. It didn’t help that the testimonies against Jesus didn’t line up. But that’s the way of false witness....
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Who You Gonna Call?

In that uniquely American comedy Ghostbusters, the womanizing, semi-serious scientist played by Bill Murray tries to get his mind around the moral magnitude of his crew’s city-saving mission. “I’m fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing. What do you mean ‘bad’?” he asks his nerdy...
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Quantifying the Unquantifiable

What if we could know—perhaps through a prophetic vision or an exquisitely refined predictive algorithm—that a particular human fetus developing in the womb of a particular abortion-seeking woman would, if rescued from prenatal death, grow up to be a source of human misery on a...
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Photo 87966362 © Smallcreativeunit5 - Dreamstime.com

Our Life Is Not Our Own: Remembering March 11, 2011

  It was an overcast afternoon ten years ago when all hell broke loose. A massive earthquake hit off the Pacific coast of Japan, rocking buildings from the Sendai area—where it was the strongest—all the way down to Tokyo and farther south. The quake-wracked ground broke open...
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Elon Musk, Progress, and Common-Sense Realism

Like theirs of old, our life is death, Our light is darkness, till we see The eternal Word made flesh and breath, The God who walked by Galilee. We have not known thee: to the skies Our monuments of folly soar, And all our self-wrought miseries Have made us trust ourselves the...
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Don’t Forget Andrew Cuomo’s Other Coronavirus Victims

Editor’s Note: Dear Reader: We share here a column (https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/02/dont-forget-andrew-cuomos-other-coronavirus-victims/) published on National Review Online about the other victims harmed by Governor Cuomo’s dangerous nursing-home policies—New...
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Photo 118517385 / Newborn © Jacek Sopotnicki | Dreamstime.com

Where Are the Babies?

American birth rates plummeted between 2009 and 2019. Lyman Stone offers us a concerning metric to measure the loss: “missing births.” If, he asks, birth rates had remained throughout the following decade what they were in 2008, “how many more babies would have been born?” The...
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Photo by Mark Lawson on Unsplash

The Price of One Life

  Akin to my namesake Holden Caulfield, I can’t stand the movies. What could be more phony than a bunch of highly paid actors pretending to be other people in scripted situations? Yet there is no denying the draw of drama, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and continues...
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The Statue of Liberty’s Arm

  No, the picture that accompanies this blog isn’t a still frame from the original Planet of the Apes when Charlton Heston, seeing Lady Liberty’s beached head, realizes in horror that he hasn’t traveled to another galaxy but rather to a future America where war has reduced...
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Photo 83249301 © Alisa24 - Dreamstime.com

 Saving the Law

On the human level, salvation comes from restoration of the essential features of our humanity: reason over irrationality, responsibility over fate, an orientation toward love over the bestial tendency to rivalry. The pro-life movement, insofar as it affirms the basic humanity of...
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Hanko and Embodiment

The digitization of the Japanese bureaucracy appears inevitable. The hanko, although still used everywhere today, may be destined to end up in museums alongside the typewriter and the floppy disk.
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