[percy-l] A Walker Percy piece written for the NY Times 30 years ago

janet cantor janetcantor37 at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 8 15:26:58 EST 2011

I think the point of the Percy Lists is to discuss Percy, not argue the Scopes 
Percy had a point of view based on his experience and observations. My reason 
for giving such a long response is to try stick to analyzing  Percy's idea.
Often an author has ideas or characters that are unappealing to me, but in a 
book discussion, it is not my place to judge him, but to analyze him and what he 
is trying to say. I may dislike Iago, but Shakespeare still wants me to find him 
interesting and to try to find reasons to identify with him.
Janet Cantor

From: Charles Lowry <lowry.charles at gmail.com>
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion <percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tue, February 8, 2011 11:43:03 AM
Subject: Re: [percy-l] A Walker Percy piece written for the NY Times 30 years 

Wade has, perhaps inadvertently, drawn into focus what is the heart of the 
matter:  "Disliking, even denouncing, abortion may be appealing for Christians, 
but drawing on the law to prohibit it during an ambiguous period of human 
development is impractical."  The point that many pro-life advocates argue, and 
it is a point that has noticeable impact on the ideological equilibrium of 
pro-choice advocates, is that every scientific advance in embryology takes us 
further and further from regarding life in the womb as "an ambiguous period of 
human development."  I wonder if the increasing queasiness of larger and larger 
numbers of Americans about the moral and legal status of abortion is connected 
not to false science, but to the advance of science and the more precise 
knowledge we have of the stages of fetal development.
There is near universal revulsion over the practices of the Philadelphia doctor 
who concluded many of his "abortions" by using scissors to sever the spinal cord 
of living infants.  But is it just a matter of timing?  What we are also 
finding, I submit, is that more and more of our neighbors slogging their way 
through what the ancient hymn calls this vale of tears are reluctant to engage 
what we may refer to as the backwards clock, to come to the conclusion at a 
definite point, "yes, not human today, okay to fix the 'problem,' but probably 
human tomorrow."  It is ironic for both sides in this debate that the advance of 
science has not liberated us, but has offered us knowledge of the stages of 
human fetal development that, on the contrary, constrict us.
Chuck Lowry
Brooklyn, NY

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