Read Howard Phillips historic testimony against the
confirmation of David Souter as a Supreme Court Justice. Nobody else
dared to reveal the truth that Souter was pro-abortion, and Mr.
Phillips was the only person to thus predict the course of his 19
liberal and pro-abortion years on the Supreme Court.
in Opposition to the Confirmation of
David H. Souter
to be a Justice of the United States Supreme Court
before the Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate, September 19, 1990
Chairman Biden: Now, our final witness is very well read and very
well known and very persuasive, the Chairman of The Conservative Caucus,
Inc., Mr. Howard Phillips. Is Mr. Phillips here?
Thank you for being here. As I know you know, it was not intentional
to have you last. We, tried very hard to see what best panel would you
fit you in with, and it was your choice to be in this circumstance. I
respect that and I think it makes sense. I hope you understand that we
just did not decide to make you last.
Mr. Phillips: I appreciate the opportunity to be here and I
recognize that the perspective which I am bringing to this nomination
is, from my standpoint, unfortunately unique. I know that everyone is
anxious to move on and --
Chairman Biden: No, we have time.
Mr. Phillips: Thank you.
Chairman Biden: Go right ahead. We are here to listen.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chairman, my name is Howard Phillips and I am
Chairman of The Conservative Caucus, a nonprofit, public-policy advocacy
organization based in Vienna, Virginia.
The Declaration of Independence asserted that "we are endowed by our
creator with certain inalienable rights," and that, "among these are
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The Declaration rested on
the assumption that there exists "the laws of nature and of natureís
Our law system is necessarily rooted in and legitimated by that
fundamental recognition of higher authority.
In considering David Souterís suitability to cast what, in many
cases, will be the deciding opinion on the Supreme Court of the United
States, it is necessary to go beyond Mr. Souterís intellectual capacity
and his stated opinions, and to assess his character and moral courage
in their relationship to the responsibilities of a Supreme Court
One moment of truth for Mr. Souter came in February 1973, when, as a
member of the board of trustees of Concord Hospital, he participated in
a unanimous decision that abortions be performed at that hospital.
Advocacy of, or even acquiescence in, such a decision is morally
distinguishable from the judicial conclusion, profoundly incorrect in my
view, that women have a constitutional right to destroy their unborn
It is also distinguishable from and far more troubling than the
political argument by politicians who maintain that they are Ďpersonally
opposedí to abortion, even as they advocate its decriminalization.
It is one thing to intellectually rationalize the case for permitting
legal abortions, while still opposing the exercise of such legal
authority. It is quite another--something far more invidious, morallyóto
actually join in a real world decision to cause abortions to be
performed, routinely, at a particular hospital.
Those abortions whose performance was authorized by David Souter were
not mandated by law or court opinion. In fact, laws have remained to
this day on the books in New Hampshire which provide criminal penalties
for any "attempt to procure miscarriage" or "intent to destroy quick
child." Indeed, section 585:14 of the New Hampshire Criminal Code
establishes the charge of second degree murder for the death of a
pregnant woman in consequence of an attempted abortion. Nor were those
abortions which Mr. Souter authorized performed merely to save the life
of the mother, nor were they limited to cases of rape or incest.
If the unborn child is human, and if innocent human life is to be
defended and safeguarded, why did Mr. Souter acquiesce in those
abortions? Why did he not speak out against them? Why did he, through 12
years on the Concord Hospital board, in a position of responsibility,
help cause those abortions to be performed, and invest his personal
reputation in clearly implied approval of those abortions?
The overreaching moral issue in the political life of the United
States in the last third of the 20th Century is, in my opinion, the
question of abortion. Is the unborn child a human person, entitled to
the protections pledged to each us by the Founders of our Nation?
The issue is much more than one of legal or judicial philosophy.
There are men and women in the legal profession, in elected office, and
on the bench who acknowledge abortion to be morally repugnant, but who
assert that, in present circumstances, it cannot be constitutionally
Whatever Mr. Souterís legal and judicial philosophy may beóand, on
the record, it seems to be one which rejects the higher law theories
implicit in the Declaration of Independenceóit is a chilling fact which
the Senate must consider that Judge Souter has personally participated
in decisions resulting in the performance of abortions, where such
abortions were in no way mandated or required by law or court decision.
By his own account, Mr. Souter served as a member of the board of
trustees for the Concord Hospital from 1971 until 1985. Following
service as board secretary, he was president of the board from 1978 to
In 1973, shortly after the Supreme Courtís January 22 Roe v. Wade
decision, the Concord Hospital trustees voted to initiate a policy of
performing abortions at Concord Hospital.
Similarly, Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital, which is associated with the
Dartmouth Medical School, of which Judge Souter has been an overseer,
has performed abortions up to the end of the second trimester.
During the period of Mr. Souterís tenure as a decision-maker of these
two institutions, many hundreds of abortions were performed under his
authority, with no indication that he ever objected to or protested the
performance of these abortions. Even though the Roe v. Wade
decision did, in fact, authorize abortions through the ninth month of
pregnancy, nothing in the Supreme Courtís decision required or obliged
any hospital to conduct abortions, whether in the ninth month, the sixth
month, or even in the first month of pregnancy.
If Judge Souter is confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, he
will, in all likelihood, be given the opportunity to address not only
the issue of Roe v. Wade, but broader issues involving the
sanctity of innocent human life.
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the 1986 Thornburqh case,
"There is a fundamental and well-recognized difference between a fetus
and a human being. Indeed, if there is not, such a difference, the
permissibility of terminating the life of a fetus could scarcely be left
to the will of the State legislatures."
Justice Stevens was wrong in a very deadly way. If an unborn child is
not human, I would ask Justice Stevens, what is he, what is she? But at
least Mr. Stevens was logical in defending his support for the majority
opinion in Roe v. Wade.
In the Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court indicated that
if the unborn child is a person, the State could not allow abortion,
even to save the life of the mother. In fact, in the majority opinion
deciding Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court said that, "If the
personhood of the unborn child is established, the pro-abortion case
collapses, for the fetusí right to life is then guaranteed specifically
by the Fourteenth Amendment."
As Notre Dame law professor Charles Rice has pointed out, "This is
so, because the common law does not permit a person to kill an innocent
non-aggressor, even to save his own life."
Does David Souter believe that the unborn childóthe fetus in the
motherís womb--is a human person, deserving of all the protections which
are guaranteed to human beings after the moment of birth?
Seemingly, Mr. Souterís answer is an unequivocal "no." By agreeing
that abortions be performed at institutions under his authority, Mr.
Souter established clearly that he did not recognize the personhood of
the unborn child. For surely, if he did acknowledge the unborn child to
be a human person, Mr. Souter would not have agreed to authorize the
extinguishment of so many precious lives at medical facilities, for
which he bore responsibility.
One must conclude that either Mr. Souter accepts the view that the
life of the unborn child is of less value than the convenience and
profit of those who collaborate in the killing of that child, or that,
despite his recognition of the fact that each unborn child is human, a
handiwork of Godís creation, he lacked the moral courage or discernment
to help prevent the destruction of so many innocent human lives, when he
had the authority, indeed the responsibility, to do so.
Either way, in such circumstances, unless there are mitigating
factors or extenuating considerations which have not yet been brought to
public attention, it is difficult to regard Mr. Souter as one suitable
for participation in judicial decisions at the highest level of our
If, during his years of responsibility at Concord Hospital and
Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital, Mr. Souter believed each fetus to be a
human person, and failed to act against the performance of abortion, he
was morally delinquent.
If, on the other hand, he justified himself by denying the human
qualities of the unborn child, then he placed himself in the ambit of
those who have argued against the very philosophy which his sponsor,
President George Bush, purported to embrace during his 1988 presidential
On the basis of the information now available, Mr. Souter, in my
opinion, should not be confirmed.
Chairman Biden: I thank you very much, sir. Let me ask you a
couple of questions, before I yield to my colleagues from Pennsylvania
and New Hampshire.
In his testimony, Judge Souter defended his vote to allow abortions
to be performed at Concord Hospital, by saying, among other things, that
he was acting as a trustee of the hospital. He said that it would not be
proper--and I not quoting, I am paraphrasing--he said that it would not
be proper to allow his personal views about abortion to determine how he
performed the office of trustee, any more than it would be proper to
allow his personal views about moral issues to affect how he did his job
as a judge.
Obviously, you are not persuaded by that explanation. Can you tell me
why you believe that explanation is flawed? I assume are you persuaded
by that explanation?
Mr. Phillips: No, sir. As a matter of fact, I regard that
explanation as profoundly damning of Judge Souterís case, because, in
effect, what Judge Souter is saying, that because something is legal, it
should, therefore, be permitted, that because abortion, in the view of
those who accept Roe v. Wade as the law of the land, is
appropriate, that, therefore, Concord Hospital should perform it.
In fact, there is no legal requirement and there was no legal
requirement at that time that Concord Hospital should perform abortions.
In fact, I am advised that there was a case in 1977, Plelker v. Doe,
which affirmed this and which said that, even more so private hospitals
are under no obligation, and never have been, to perform abortions.
I would also point out that, while Roe v. Wade was permissive
about the kinds of abortions which could be performed, that in no way
did it require private or public hospitals to perform convenience
Judge Souter, prior to being a judge, in his role as a trustee at
Concord Hospital, did not limit abortions to rape or incest or the life
of the mother. There were many hundreds of convenience abortions
performed at Concord Hospital, and for Judge Souter at that point, as an
adult, to have permitted that to go forward, indeed, to have concurred
in that decision and, apparently, to have advocated that decision, can
only lead me to conclude that he does not regard the unborn child as a
human being, because as I indicated in my testimony, if he regarded the
child as human, he could not, in conscience, have authorized those
Chairman Biden: So, you have reached two conclusions, that this
is not merely a case of non-feasance, it is a case of Judge Souter being
Mr. Phillips: It is clear that Judge Souter, having been given
the opportunity to vote on the question of abortion, voted for abortion
at Concord Hospital, and that as a trustee of Dartmouth Hospital, he
oversaw a situation where abortions were performed, reportedly until the
end of the second trimester, and that there were numerous abortions
performed that were not performed for the sake of protecting the life of
the mother or dealing with rape or incest. Let me say that I would
oppose such abortions, as well, but even if you take the George Bush
position, he went well beyond that.
One can only conclude that, as a Justice of the Supreme Court,
there is no possibility, unless he has a change of heart, that he would
accept the concept of the personhood of the unborn child and that,
beyond that, because he rejected the concept of the person as a human
being, his decisions about when and whether abortions might be performed
would be based on entirely pragmatic considerations.
Chairman Biden: I cannot resist asking you this next question.
Mr. Phillips" Please.
Chairman Biden: I hope this will not ruin your reputation. I read
what you write, I think almost all of what you write. You mentioned
President Bush. Do you think President Bush is committed to a position
of overruling Roe v. Wade?
Mr. Phillips: You know, President Bush once said that he was a
conservative, but he wasnít a nut about it, and I think that is a fair
way of describing his view on abortion, that he is against abortion, but
he is not a nut about it.
Chairman Biden: Okay. I accept that answer. I admit, it is beyond
the scope of this hearing, other than tangentially.
Mr. Phillips: But it seems to me that the President did have a
greater duty of care than that which he exercised in the selection of
Judge Souter, given the kinds of commitments which he made during the
1988 presidential campaign and given the kinds of comments that were in
the Republican Platform.
Let me say also, responding to your question, that while Justice
OíConnoróand this has been pointed out by other witnesses--while Justice
OíConnor was careful not to preview her vote on Roe v. Wade, when
she was up for confirmation, she made it quite clear that she found
abortion to be morally repugnant.
I found it rather chilling that Judge Souter was not even willing to
say that. I know there are many liberal democratic United States
Senators who vote for a "pro-choice" position, who still find abortion
morally repugnant, but Judge Souter was not even willing to say that.
Chairman Biden: That is an interesting observation. The Senator
Senator Arlen Specter (R-Penn.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Phillips, on this question, you and Mr. Joseph Rauh, the leader
of the Civil Rights Committee, are in total agreement, that is, on the
rejection of Judge Souter.
Mr. Phillips: Well, let me say, with respect to Mr. Rauh, who is
an estimable warrior for his views, that I believe he and his colleagues
have gotten far more than they deserved in Judge Souter and that those
on my side of the aisle have gotten far less.
I would also say that the conservatives in America have a lot to
learn from the civil rights movement, because if President Bush or
President Carter had named to the Supreme Court a man who is a trustee
of a country club, had voted to exclude blacks, that man or woman would,
ipso facto, have been disqualified from service on the Supreme
Court. I would have voted, had I been a Senator, against a prospective
Justice who, as the member of the board of a country club, had voted to
exclude blacks from membership.
But here is a man who voted for policies which resulted in the death
of many hundreds of unborn children, and I profoundly regret that there
are not right-to-life organizations and conservative organizations
standing up and at least expressing profound concern about that fact.
Senator Specter: Mr. Phillips, I start with the proposition of
you and Mr. Rauh in agreement, because it illustrates the difficulty of
the committee, a Senator or the Senate in pleasing everyone or perhaps
in pleasing anyone.
Mr. Phillips: Senator, with respect, I do not expect you to
please everyone, I expect you to do what your conscience directs you to
Senator Specter: Well, I will do it, I have in the past and will
I think your testimony is really very important, because you and the
National Organization of Women come to the same conclusion, that Judge
Souter should not be confirmed, that the Senate should not give its
consent, because he displeases you on the abortion issue, just as he
displeases illustratively the National Organization of Women.
I think your testimony is very important here, because it shows the
very strong feelings which are held by those who are opposed to
abortion. The testimony by the panels yesterday who opposed Judge
Souterís confirmation, because they insist on a commitment that Roe
v. Wade be sustained was very powerful on the other side. They did
not all insist on that commitment. Some drew a lesser line, saying they
would be satisfied with a commitment to a liberty principle, saying they
would be satisfied with the strict scrutiny test, in coming to the
But I think it is very important for America to know that there are
those who feel very, very strongly on the principles which you have just
articulated, and I had some questioning yesterday about the sense of
where our majority stood and, although the public opinion polls
consistently show that a majority of people do not want an elimination
of abortion, that as soon as you start to put qualifications on
itóshould there be an abortion by a married woman, married for a long
period of time, the first child conceived, without the husbandís
consent, then the picture starts to shift, for whatever value the public
opinion polls have.
So, I thank you for your testimony and I just have really one
question for you--
Mr. Phillips: Senator, before you ask the question, may I
respectfully disagree with your analysis.
Senator Specter: Certainly.
Mr. Phillips: I would say that there is a fundamental distinction
between the groups such as NOW and NARAL and Planned Parenthood and so
forth which urge a "no" vote on Judge Souter. Their position is that
they are not absolutely certain that Judge Souter is going to be with
them to their satisfaction. I, on the other hand, am absolutely certain
on the basis of the record that Judge Souter does have a permissive view
The implication of your prefatory remark was that this is a
single-issue concern, and perhaps it may be for NOW or Planned
Parenthood. I will let them speak for themselves. To me, this transcends
any single issue. To me, the heart of the law is--and I speak as a
laymanóthe heart of the law is that the system of justice is to prevent
the shedding of innocent blood. The purpose of the system of justice is
to protect the innocent.
The predicate to the Constitution is the Declaration of Independence
which says we are endowed by our Creator, which talks about a firm
reliance on Divine Providence. I believe we all are created beings and
that the unborn child is a created being. And if the rights of that
created being are denied by a person appointed to the Court, denied in
more than a theoretical way, but denied in the sense that he has
actually been complicit in the performance of abortion, I think you have
got something very serious.
Now, the next statement that I have could be regarded as
inflammatory, and let me make clear that I am not saying that David
Souter is Adolph Eichmann. That is not what I am saying. But listen to
what I am sayingó
Senator Specter: You are not saying he is what?
Mr. Phillips: Adolph Eichmann. But it would be no more convincing
for an Adolph Eichmann to say that his personal views on gas chambers
had no bearing on legal decisions he might make as a member of a Nazi
high court than it is now plausible for a David Souter to argue that his
role as an accomplice to abortion has no bearing on his suitability to
be a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now, different people have different views on whether, in fact, we
have had an abortion holocaust in the United States. I believe we have.
And I believe that it is a profound moral disgrace that this has been
permitted to occur. But I donít think it is enough to say that this is
just another issue. I think it goes to the very heart of David Souterís
character and moral philosophy.
Senator Specter: Well, as a result of what you have just said, I
have a second question.
Mr. Phillips: Yes, sir.
Senator Specter: I will ask first, you say that you believe that
in what Judge Souter has done he has shown a sympathy for abortion. Is
it your personal view--I couldnít ask this of Judge Souter, but I can
ask it of youóis it your personal view that Judge Souter will vote to
uphold Roe v. Wade?
Mr. Phillips: Senator, it would be speculation. Because Judge
Souter approaches legal questions from a positivist perspective rather
than from any theory of natural law, even the kind of theory which
Senator Biden has endorsed, and as he very articulately put forward
during the Bork hearings, it is a matter of guesswork.
Senator Specter: Do you have a guess?
Mr. Phillips: No, sir, I donít.
Senator Specter: Last question. If you were sure, had a
commitment from Judge Souter that he would vote to reverse Roe v.
Wade, flat commitment that he would reverse Roe v. Wade and
adopt the position that you articulate that abortion ought to be
outlawed, would you change your opposition to his nomination? Or would
you recommend that we not consent on he basis that his character is
fatally flawed by what he did in permitting abortions in the hospital,
as you referred to?
Mr. Phillips: Well, if he said that he thought abortion should be
outlawed, then he would be changing his view, and I would recommend his
appointment. But merely repealing Roe v. Wade will not
necessarily prevent the continuation of massive abortions, conceivably,
in every one of the 50 states. All that that will do is return the
process to the State legislatures.
Senator Specter: But if he agreed to reverse Roe, you
would recommend that we consent to his confirmation?
Mr. Phillips: I would take that into account with other factors.
The focus of my testimony today and the reason that I decided to request
the opportunity to testify relates to his record in authorizing the
performance of abortions. But I have to tell you that I am troubled by
his answers to other questions.
Frankly, I found his most troubling answer one which he gave to
Senator Thurmond at the very beginning of the hearings, when he said
that the power of the law comes from the people. I donít believe that. I
believe it comes from God. And having read and reread two or three times
David Souterís senior honors thesis, it seems to me that he still
believes many of the things that were very much implied as reflecting
his belief in that senior honors thesis at Harvard. It seems to me that
this is a man who totally rejects higher law authority and that he is
purely a legal technician.
Now, I would not have come here to testify against him but for the
fact that he had been complicit in the performance of abortion because
there are many others far more knowledgeable about the law than I, and
the issues would have been better addressed by others. But even had he
given that assurance concerning which you inquired of me, I still would
have been troubled in the context of his other statements.
Senator Specter: Well, I thank you, Mr. Phillips, for your very
Mr. Phillips: Thank you, sir.
Chairman Biden: The Senator from New Hampshire, Senator Humphrey.
Senator Humphrey: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Mr. Phillips.
Mr. Phillips: Thank you, Senator.
Senator Humphrey: I, too, am disturbed about Judge Souterís
participation in the decision by the Concord Board of Trustees to
commence the performance of abortions at that facility. I am disturbed
by his view that members of such a board should exercise no moral
judgment in overseeing a hospital. A hospital of all places, it seems to
me, should be subject, its operations should be subject to moral
But I am not sure it is dispositive. I am not sure of anything,
frankly, about Judge Souter. I donít think anyone is. I think he
soft-pedaled his views before this committee. That would only be human
after what happened to Judge Bork. Anthony Kennedy certainly
soft-pedaled his views and turned out to be far better than his
testimony indicated to conservatives, at least, that he would be. So I
am hoping that is the case with Judge Souter.
Mr. Phillips: I hope you are right.
Senator Humphrey: I will tell you another reason I donít think it
is dispositive. You and I have a friend in this very body who, as a
state legislator back in the mid-1970ís, supported pro-abortion
legislation. Why? Because he hadnít really given much thought about it.
But once he had, he came to a completely different conclusion. I think
you know about whom I am speaking.
It is my experience that a lot of adults, intelligent, thinking
adults, have not really thought an awful lot about this because it is
human nature not to think about something as ghastly and as grisly as
chopping up little babies. And the pro-choice slogan is very appealing.
No doubt it was designed by pollsters and consultants. It is very
effective. The Americans are for choice. It is democratic to be for
choice. But when you think about what the choice is, then you have to
come to another conclusion.
My opinion is that Judge Souter, because he has never faced this kind
of case, has never really given it deep thought--and I hope I am right
on that--he at least indicated with regard to the decision at the
Concord Hospital that it did not indicate that he views--that he rules
out personhood for the unborn child. I am paraphrasing him now. He said
that should not be taken as an indication. So I am not sure, but I am
more inclined to be optimistic on that point than I think you are.
However, I do wholeheartedly agree with your views on natural law. It
is just mind-boggling that in this country, of all countries, we should
be splitting hairs to determine who is a person and who isnít. I mean,
in the Soviet Union, at least until recent times, it was fairly routine
for there to be a class of humans who were non-persons, officially
designated--at least, in any event, officially treated by that
government as non-persons. But in the United States to invent by
splitting hairs a class of non-persons, a class of human beings who are
non-persons is one of the great shames in our history, one of the great
tragedies of our history.
You referred to Justice John Paul Stevensí statement in the
Thornburgh case. You quoted him saying, "There is a fundamental and
well-recognized difference between a fetus and a human being. Indeed, if
there is not such a difference, the permissibility of terminating the
life of a fetus could scarcely be left to the will of the State
Did he say more on this subject, or did he just posit that as a given
and move on, that there is a fundamental and well-recognized difference
between a fetus and a human being?
Mr. Phillips: I donít believe he went into detail. If he did, I
am not aware of it.
Senator Humphrey: Well, it is true, out of ignorance in some
parts of our history, a lot of people have probably believed that there
is a difference between a fetus and a human being. But, likewise, during
other shameful parts of our history, a lot of people thought there was a
difference between Afro-Americans and citizens of the United States,
including Chief Justice Taney.
Mr. Phillips: That is right.
Senator Humphrey: And at other times in our history, there have
been a lot of people who thought there was a fundamental and
well-recognized difference between enfranchised males and females who
didnít have the franchise. And just because we did things wrong for a
long period of time didnít mean that women should go without the vote
forever, didnít mean that black Americans could be enslaved, and
shouldnít mean that unborn human beings are treated as so much property
that can be disposed of at will.
Mr. Phillips: Senator, President Lincoln agreed with you. He was
politically active during the period following the Dred Scott
Senator Humphrey: Yes.
Mr. Phillips: And he refused to accept the Dred Scott
decision as applying to anything more than the parties to the case. And
that is my view of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Senator, if I may, I pray that your optimism is well founded. It is
entirely possible that Judge Souter will only now begin to think
seriously about abortion. I think, however, his statements indicated
that he still felt that his earlier decision was justified.
Now, you tried to ask him a question at the very end of your initial
interrogation of him about his contact with that young couple when he
was a Harvard law student counseling a young Harvard student and the
girlfriend of that student, who had indicated to him that the young lady
was contemplating a self-induced abortion. And Judge Souter in response
to your inquiry and that of other Senators was very reluctant to reply.
I find that reluctance to reply in and of itself very troubling. You
know, young people throughout the country look to the Supreme Court of
the United States, not just as the guardian of liberty but as the
guardian of law. And if Judge Souter was unwilling to say that, yes, he
told that young woman to obey the law and to reaffirm now that, yes, he
told them to obey the law, or that if he told them to break the law and
procure an illegal abortion he was wrong--if he today is unwilling to
say that, then I donít think the right example will be set for our
country if he serves on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Mr. Rauh, speaking for the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,
suggested that Mr. Souter be recalled to consider other questions. I
would suggest he be recalled until it be determined whether as an adult,
as a Student at Harvard Law School, he advised a young woman whom he had
taken under his professional care as a proctor to break the law. I think
the people are entitled to know that. And if he did advise her to break
the law, the people are entitled to know whether he now regrets that
decision and would change it.
Senator Humphrey: I think that is a fair observation.
Well, I want to go back and briefly follow up on the points I
attempted to make a moment ago about natural rights and the
ridiculousness and the tragedy of trying to construe a distinction
between a human being and a person. With regard to fetology, the study
of the fetus, we have only recently emerged from the dark ages. The most
eminent scientists and jurists thought for a long time that there was no
life until at some moment it was infused and the mother felt the child
move. Quickening used to be the accepted standard. Now we know that
quickening has no particular significance; that, in fact, the infant is
moving well before the mother can begin to feel it; and that quickening
is just one day in the whole stretch of days of development from
conception until death.
We have come through a lot of ignorance. That the argument should be
raised in favor of abortion that we should continue to do things because
we have done them this way for a long time, we have regardedósome
people, at least, have regarded the fetus as something less than human,
that we should continue, even though fetology and medical science have
advanced greatly in recent years, is just preposterous. Just because we
used to have slavery doesnít mean we should continue to have slavery;
just because we used to deny the women the franchise and many other
rights doesnít mean we should continue to do so. Just because out of
ignorance people didnít understand fetology and human development and
acquiesced and practiced abortion doesnít mean we should continue to do
In any event, it ought to be self-evident that the offspring of human
beings are human beings, and under natural law one is endowedónot at
birth or some moment convenient to modern society, but one is endowed
when one is created. Otherwise, the Declaration of Independence is just
so much rubbish. If it has no operative status, then letís just declare
it rubbish, something we summon up on the 4th of July. But if it does
have operative status, then that means all of us are endowed by our
Creator when we are created, not at some moment convenient to modern
society. And, therefore, abortion is an abomination and ought to be made
an unlawful act, as it once was. Thank you.
Chairman Biden: Thank you very much, Senator. I thank you, Mr.
Mr. Phillips: Thank you, sir.
Chairman Biden: Particularly for agreeing to be the clean-up
Mr. Phillips: I appreciate the opportunity.
Chairman Biden: With that, Mr. Phillips, we excuse you. We
appreciate your being here.