As part of the Center for Ethics and Culture Bread of Life Dinner and Lecture Series, Political Science and Peace Studies Professor Philpott department delivered a short address entitled “The Abortion Paradox.” The event took place in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall.  In an exciting atmosphere of stimulating discussion and delicious dinner, undergraduate and graduate students alike shared a catered meal with faculty members, listening to the lecture and conversing over the points Professor Philpott raised. The discussion focused on how these points could be applied to campus life.

During his lecture, Philpott explained that, although abortion is a grave violation of human rights, many organizations devoted to the promotion of human rights ignore abortion altogether — and some even support it. In his view, this creates a false dichotomy in which pro-life groups are seemingly pitted against groups that advocate peace and justice around the world.

According to Philpott, the worldwide protection of unborn life depends upon the support of three main groups: international human rights organizations (such as Amnesty International), the Democratic Party in the United States, and feminists. He explained that human rights organizations have either avoided the question of abortion altogether or presented it as a “right” in itself. Philpott argued that the killing of the unborn is the “largest class of human rights violations worldwide.” The right to life is ignored in the face of other human rights violations.

According to Philpott, the Democratic Party has lost its old title of the “party of the little guy.” As a whole, the Democratic Party has ignored the needs of the most vulnerable in society, because they are either silent on abortion or even work to expand access to it. Many modern feminist organizations have also lost sight of one of their original goals, Philpott explained. Although early feminists spoke out in favor of the unbreakable and intimate bond between mother and child, most groups today are definitively in favor of abortion.

Philpott believes that each of these organizations has the possibility of incorporating or reintroducing support for the right to life of the unborn. The key to making this possible is pro-life individuals breaking the “deafening silence” about the abortion issue in these circles. To achieve this, Philpott suggested appealing to each group “in their own terms” by acknowledging the difficulties abortion poses for women

Philpott concluded by speaking hopefully about the future of pro-life work, describing it as the “heir to earlier rights movements, like civil rights, women’s suffrage, and the abolition of slavery.”

Christina is a sophomore in PW.  Contact her at