How does prudence shape solidarity?
Not by forsaking it.
From Colin Harte's "Changing Unjust Laws Justly"
a] Legislation to restrict abortion does not merely 'save some lives' but always excludes from protection some unborn children who are entitled to protection; furthermore those who are normatively left unprotected by such legislation are the weaker and more vulnerable.
b] Restrictive abortion legislation and Incrementalist campaigning for such restrictions distorts the truth of the Pro-Life perspective of every innocent human being absolutely equal to all others and before that moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of life of an innocent human being there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone.
c] Those unborn children excluded from protection by restrictive legislation are further marginalised by both the campaign for the legislation and the law's enactment.
97. ... The fundamental moral rules of social life thus entail specific demands to which both public authorities and citizens are required to pay heed. Even though intentions may sometimes be good, and circumstances frequently difficult, civil authorities and particular individuals never have authority to violate the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. In the end, only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social coexistence, both on the national and international levels.
57.If such great care must be taken to respect every life,...
..."You shall not kill" has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenceless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God's commandment.
In effect, the absolute inviolability of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture, constantly upheld in the Church's Tradition and consistently proposed by her Magisterium. This consistent teaching is the evident result of that "supernatural sense of the faith" which, inspired and sustained by the Holy Spirit, safeguards the People of God from error when "it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals".49
... The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo,...
... As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the ?poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".53
From James Hanink's "Abortion, Prudence & Solidarity"
Thus “the emergency argument” comes to mind.
1. In an emergency, one ought to save as many lives as possible.
2. The abortion license is an emergency.
3. So legislators ought to vote in a way that saves as many pre-born babies
4. Sometimes a restrictive proposal that excludes the disabled from
protection is a means for saving as many pre-born babies as possible.
5. So legislators ought to vote for such a proposal.
Indeed, John Finnis holds that there is a duty to do so.
But is “the emergency argument” sound?
Colin Harte reminds us of the old axiom “Women and children first!” Look first to the vulnerable.
But the most vulnerable in our context are the disabled, expressly excluded because some hold them of less value. (Britain, for example, aborts over 90 percent of its unborn babies with spina bifida or Down syndrome.)
There is also a distinction between rescuing lives in an emergency for
which one is not responsible and rescuing lives in an emergency for which
one is wholly or in part responsible. Natural disasters give rise to emergencies,
but rescuers can neither enact nor repeal the laws of nature. Protest
is pointless. Nor are rescuers responsible for emergencies which others,
with whom they have no bond, cause by negligence or with malice. Yet
democratic legislatures, acting in concert, do enact and repeal laws. To
protest legislative wrongs can be efficacious, sometimes more so than
reform from within.
Sustained resistance and civil disobedience can
overturn a regime that forsakes those for whom it has the greatest
responsibility. Lawmakers, thus, bear a continuing responsibility for the abortion license.The best legislative response to the state-supported killing of the innocent is to end it or, at least, to refuse recognition of it. A legislature can’t divert an earthquake. But it can protect the least little ones, including the disabled among them. Not to do so is to betray the solidarity required by the law’s raison d’être: to secure the common good. How, then, can one
take part in a legislative act that is in contempt of the law’s purpose?
Any law has its first authority, its moral power, from God.
If God’s power is chiefly manifest in mercy, might
not the legislator think that his or her authority, i.e., moral power, is also
chiefly manifest in mercy? Some distinctions are in order. What is at issue
is not a mercy shown to the guilty. The disabled victims of abortion are
innocent. It is rather a mercy shown to those whose lives others have
wrongly made forfeit; and at the legislative level, public mercy stands
vigilant against private breeches of solidarity.
Incrementalism seldom lacks support. But the Christian legislator
might well think that when both innocent life and the foundation of law are
at stake, what we most need are actions which look to the final end itself.
Yet no act is wiser, or more powerful, than an act of mercy. None is more
ordered to the common good.
Might not the Christian legislator, committed
to the common good, best show mercy by insisting that restrictive abortion bills do not exclude from protection the least little ones, those who are disabled or the victims of a special malice?.
For Further Reading Try Michael Baker on