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Quick Hits: Why the pro-life movement lags in Europe, how nationalism may guard freedoms

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 28, 2017

  1. Literally millions of Americans have been involved in pro-life activism over the years, but the pro-life movement has never drawn the same sort of mass support in Europe. Does that show that social conservatism is weaker on the continent? Not at all; grassroots efforts to defend marriage were much stronger in some European countries—particularly France—than in the US. So why the lack of a sustained pro-life movement? Francis Rocca of the Wall Street Journal offers some reasonable answers to that question. In Europe, he notes, abortion was legalized gradually, by legislative votes, whereas in the US the Supreme Court imposed the practice on an unwilling public. European laws today generally place more restrictions on the practice; in the US the courts have decreed abortion-on-demand. And, Rocca reports, “Catholic bishops across the continent are generally ‘more skittish about overt political involvement on abortion than their counterparts in the US.” He adds: “That approach is unlikely to change under Pope Francis.”
  2. And speaking of European leadership, Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute sees the institutions of the European Union in the context of a long push for global government. That drive is dangerous today, he remarks, at a time when unelected bureaucrats invent and enforce new “human rights.” The special interests that lobby for those “rights” have an easier job working within the structure of European bodies, Gregg writes:
    In any case, why bother trying to get democratically elected national legislators to adopt particular policies when you can bypass them by getting a binding regulation issued by Brussels bureaucrats that national governments are bound to tamely incorporate into their national laws?
    In this context, Gregg concludes that a healthy nationalism could be a useful defense against the creation of more exotic and intrusive “human rights.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Mar. 29, 2017 5:35 AM ET USA

    This has been the appeal of Brexit and Donald Trump. Having more and more "exotic and intrusive human rights" imposed on us creates the strongest impetus toward nationalism - - healthy, or given human nature, not.