“As a Catholic, I have accepted certain answers as the right ones for myself and my family and, because I have, they have influenced me in special ways. However, as U.S. Congressman, I am involved in defining policies that determine other people's rights in these same areas of life, death, and morality.
Perhaps Rev. Austin J. Fagothey, a Jesuit Priest, who taught me at Santa Clara University and renowned for his scholarship in ethics and morality, stated it most clearly in responding to the abortion question: ‘A state, especially the pluralistic state of today, must operate within the framework of popular consensus. The argument for the immorality of abortion, the theory of rights on which it rests, and the philosophy underlying the ethics there outlined is not accepted by a large part of the population.I can be convinced of it beyond the shadow of a doubt and steer my own life by it, yet be unable to convince my fellow citizens of my views. Do I then have the right to impose my philosophical convictions any more than my religious convictions on others who disagree with me? I think not, and this is the reason why I think there should be no laws on abortion. I believe the best way to cope with abortion is not by punitive legislation but by a persuasive program of moral education aimed at building up a respect for life.’”
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