Opposing Abortion With Reason Alone

Long before I became a Catholic at age 34, I opposed abortion.  I came to this position on the basis of reason alone — as an Evangelical I had not been schooled on this issue.  Evangelicals, by the way, did not start their anti-abortion activism until the 80s, taking over leadership from Catholics like Dr. Jack Willke (one of my personal heroes) who responded so quickly to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

My reasoning to oppose abortion was initially based upon reading a chapter written on the “contraceptive mentality” by existential psychologist Rollo May and the ‘Metaphysics’ of Aristotle.  From Rollo May I was spurred to think about our attempt to control nature, and from Aristotle I learned metaphysics of act/potency and the difference between ‘first nature’ and ‘second nature.’ 

At the moment of conception, a human person possesses a ‘first nature’ containing all the potencies of a human person, potencies that can become ‘act’ in his or her ‘second nature.’  In other words, all human persons possess a common first nature, while each of us actualize that first nature in different second natures.  

For example, if you compare my first nature to that of Brian Saint-Paul, they are identical — we both share the same potencies. But if you compare how we have actualized that nature in our second nature, then some serious differences appear, e.g., a golf swing, good taste in music, and the ability to dance 🙂

I have not read the recent book by Prof. Christopher Kaczor of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, but I know Kaczor and am confident his book is worth reading — “The Ethics of Abortion: Women’s Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice.” 

Kaczor provides his own argument against abortion on the basis of reason alone — I look forward to seeing it. 


Deal W. Hudson


Deal W. Hudson is ​publisher and editor of The Christian Review and the host of "Church and Culture," a weekly two-hour radio show on the Ave Maria Radio Network.​ He is the former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)