Julieta Lemaitre, “Catholic Constitutionalism on Sex, Women, and the Beginning of Life,” Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) pp 239-257, notes pp. 430-434. A Spanish edition was published in August, 2016. Ahora disponible en español.
The 1994 U.N. International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo set off a conservative Catholic backlash against feminist ideas on sexuality and reproduction. Catholic lawyers, inspired by Vatican instructions, vigorously argued in constitutional settings across the Americas against the liberalization of abortion laws, same-sex marriage, and embryonic cell research. While some explicitly referenced scripture and religious authorities in their advocacy, many abandoned such references in favor of legal claims based on reason alone. This latter strategy marked a profound shift for the conservative Catholic opposition to sexual and reproductive rights.
In this eleventh chapter of Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (U Penn Press, 2014) , Julieta Lemaitre explores this emergence of Catholic constitutionalism in abortion law; that is, the recent advancement of Catholic theological reasoning through the secular discourse of human rights. Tracing the theological roots of these arguments, and engaging with them on their own merits, she elaborates core Catholic constitutional arguments about the legal regulation of abortion and explores the useful effects of this engagement in exposing the moral order implicit in liberal convictions and its shortcomings, and in building bridges with Catholic concerns for social justice.
Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies was published in August 2014 by the University of Pennsylvania Press’s Studies in Human Rights Series. Table of Contents and other information online. A Spanish edition was published in August, 2016. Ahora disponible en español.