For the past forty years, prominent pro-life activists, judges and politicians have invoked the history and legacy of American slavery to elucidate aspects of contemporary abortion politics. As is often the case, many of these popular analogies have been imprecise, underdeveloped and historically simplistic. In Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning, Justin Buckley Dyer provides the first book-length scholarly treatment of the parallels between slavery and abortion in American constitutional development. In this fascinating and wide-ranging study, Dyer demonstrates that slavery and abortion really are historically, philosophically and legally intertwined in America. The nexus, however, is subtler and more nuanced than is often suggested, and the parallels involve deep principles of constitutionalism.
Justin Buckley Dyer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He received a BA in political science and an MPA from the University of Oklahoma, and an MA and PhD in government from the University of Texas, Austin. Dyer's research has been published in Polity, the Journal of Politics, PS: Political Science and Politics, Politics and Religion, and Perspectives on Political Science. He is the author of Natural Law and the Antislavery Constitutional Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and the editor of American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence (2012).
1. The conscience of a nation; 2. Substance, procedure, and Fourteenth Amendment rights; 3. Dred Scott, Lochner, and the new abortion liberty; 4. Constitutional disharmony after Roe; 5. The politics of abortion history; 6. Private morality, public reasons; 7. Personhood and the ethics of life.