The Logic of Contraceptive Rights

From First Thoughts

Dissenting opinions in the Hobby Lobby case and the editorials penned in reaction to the Wheaton injunction fixate on reproductive rights. Specifically, many argue that women have an incontrovertible right to the full breadth of contraceptive care, including IUDs and the morning after pill (everything approved by the FDA). To assert a right, though, is not to establish it—and these assertions cannot withstand scrutiny. Continue Reading »

Freedoms At Odds

From First Thoughts

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, argument on the issue has raged with heightened vehemence. Buzzwords abound in the debate—equality, imposition, right, discrimination—and the equivocation at work makes the fallout increasingly polemical. One term that has shared in the general collapse of meaning is “freedom” or “liberty.” Continue Reading »

Buffering Abortion Speech

From First Thoughts

On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided to strike down as unconstitutional the 2007 Massachusetts law which mandated a thirty-five foot buffer around medical facilities that offer abortions. Since the decision was handed down, the fallout has been contentious. One article, emblematic of a genre of literature which focuses on radicalism, sees little in the way of fruitful discourse happening outside of clinics: Continue Reading »

Sports: A Moral World?

From First Thoughts

Injury embellishment and related on-field drama always gets a lot of press during the World Cup. Collin Garbarino recently advocated for “flopping” in soccer, arguing that it speeds up the game, boosts scores across the board, and encourages defenders to play up to the technical ability of attackers. His points may carry in part, but I have one reservation which forbids my giving wholehearted assent: I think flopping detracts from the perfection of soccer. Continue Reading »

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

From First Thoughts

On a recent visit to my sister’s house, I asked my two-year-old niece if she wanted to watch the movie Frozen. I figured it was time to bite the bullet and watch what some have hailed as the greatest movie of the 21st century. I am now unashamedly a fan. Whereas I initially introduced the topic into conversation with a preamble about how my niece had foisted the film upon me, I’ve since begun admitting that the opposite is closer to the truth. I think she may have even wandered off after a few minutes. Continue Reading »

Let the Children Play

From First Thoughts

My childhood was a big mishmosh of amateur sporting ventures. There was baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, soapbox racing (in a Radio Flyer that often tipped), stickball, wiffle ball . . . well, just about everything. I’d wear hand-me-down athletic clothes from a cousin (always two sizes too big), suit up in all of the pertinent equipment (hockey goalie being the favorite), appropriate some of my parents’ garden equipment to make goals, sticks, or bats, and then do battle (most often in a recognizably mediocre fashion). I cheated on the base paths. I faked injuries when my sisters had breakaways. I took errant shots on my dad in goal. And I loved it. There was some frustration when I didn’t excel, but overall, sports were the delightful content of friendships and the real substance of summers. But, such an approach to sport is not always the case. Sometimes, professional athletics begin at a surprisingly young age. Continue Reading »

Patriotism and Fair Weather Fans

From First Thoughts

For three glorious weeks, we are soccer fans. We read up on our squad, learn the strengths and weakness of the teams in our pool, and even watch a human interest story or two on an American footballer. And yet, when the lights fade on Brazil and the competition comes to a close, I suspect most of that spectating excitement will lapse into dormancy until the next World Cup or summer Olympics. Confronted by the facts of our inconstancy, should we blush, or is it just natural that some sporting spectacles manage to capture our attention only so briefly? Continue Reading »