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Helping Enact Unjust Laws without Complicity in Injustice

By John M. Finnis

Abstract

The form of enactments must be distinguished from their legal meaning (their \u22juridical effect\u22), that is, from the propositions of law which those enactments, properly interpreted, make legally valid. This distinction makes it possible, and rationally necessary, to conclude that, in certain contexts, a certain statute which declares or textually implies that some abortions are legally permitted (but others prohibited) is not apermissive law within the meaning of the principle, assumed in this article to be true, that permissive abortion laws are intrinsically unjust and may never be voted for. A permissive statute, in that sense, is one which has the legal meaning (juridical effect) of reducing the state\u27s legal protection of the unborn

Topics: abortion, Legal History, Legislation, Natural Law
Publisher: NDLScholarship
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:scholarship.law.nd.edu:law_faculty_scholarship-1860
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