“The Moral Imagination, Public Discourse, and the Culture of Life”

Reflections on Roe v. Wade and the Limits of Politics

January 26

The Society of St. George, Washington, D.C.

Douglas C. Minson
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Programs, The John Jay Institute

with a response from

Andrew Haines, President, The Center for Morality in Public Life

In January of 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade that ended legal protection for unborn human life in the United States. Despite few substantial impediments to abortion being adopted into law, 40 years later the country remains deeply divided on the issue—with no evident prospects for resolving the dispute. Is it possible to achieve meaningful public discourse about such a divisive and hotly contested matter?

In this lecture, Douglas Minson reflects upon the relationship of politics to culture and the implications of that relationship specifically for the debate over abortion. His reflections will consider such matters as the proper role of law in relationship to the formation and transformation of social habits, the manner in which social visions of the good life are communicated to successive generations, and the requisite conditions for substantial moral discourse.

For more information, contact Nancy Browne at nbrowne@johnjayinstitute.org or by telephone at 215-987-3000.

The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favoured with an opportunity of deliberating upon, and choosing the forms of government under which they should live. All other constitutions have derived their existence from violence or accidental circumstances, and are therefore probably more distant from their perfection, which, though beyond our reach, may nevertheless be approached under the guidance of reason and experience."
John Jay, Charge to the Grand Jury, Ulster County, New York, NY 1777