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Presenting the pro-life case to libertarians, and the libertarian case to pro-lifers

A “Hard Case” — When the life of the mother is in danger:

A “Hard Case” —
When the life of the mother is in danger:

Dianne N. Irving’s “Abortion: Correct Application of Natural Law Theory”

In “Abortion: Correct Application of Natural Law Theory,” Dianne N. Irving discusses the principle of “double effect” — distinguishing human actions such as abortion (“the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being”) from human actions such as the administration of chemotherapy (as in the case of uterine cancer) — both actions resulting in the loss of the child’s life.

Abortion: Correct Application of Natural Law Theory,” was originally published in the February 2000 issue of the Catholic Medical Association’s Linacre Quarterly. The article is based on philosophical natural law theory (i.e., what we can know is right or wrong through the light of reason alone), and includes elements of Aristotelian thought accepted outside the Church as well as within — and, in principle at least, by many on both sides of the abortion debate.

(The Web host site for “Abortion: Correct Application of Natural Law Theory,” is The Linacre Quarterly can be found on the Web at

Dianne N. Irving’s resume includes Research Biochemist, National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute; M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University; Full Professor, History of Philosophy, and Medical Ethics. She has taught at several institutions, including Georgetown University, The Catholic University of America, and Washington seminaries.

Doris Gordon (1929-2014)
Doris Gordon, founder and longtime coordinator of Libertarians for Life, died on July 7 at Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Md., after a struggle with meningitis and other health problems. She was 85. Surviving her are daughter Julie Gordon, son Monte Gordon, and five grandchildren. She lost her husband, Nathan Gordon, in 1987. A Bronx native, Mrs. Gordon graduated from Hunter College and taught elementary-school students in New York City before moving to Maryland. She became active in the libertarian movement, and eventually quite active against abortion. She stressed the concept of parental obligation. “By causing children to be,” she wrote, “parents also cause them to need support; it’s a package deal.”