In Christifideles Laici (1988), Pope John Paul II exhorts his readers to recognize that "The inviolability of the person, which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life." For this great champion of life, "the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights ... the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture-is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination." This is the conviction that prompted Edward Short to write Culture and Abortion, a study which looks at how our own culture betrays the inviolability of life by invoking what feminists call 'reproductive rights' to justify killing children in the womb. Examining the scourge of abortion from a cultural perspective, Edward Short draws on history, literature and the encyclicals of popes to show how defending the right to life can help us to reaffirm an understanding of culture that is based not on human pride or human power but on what Pope Paul II calls the "civilization of life and love." Wide-ranging and incisive, Culture and Abortion takes a fresh and provocative look at the often unacknowledged evil that continues to define our culture of death.
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