Friday, January 20, 2023


 I don’t know where I have been, but I have never heard of Ben Watson or knew that he is a powerful pro-life advocate. I just saw an interview that Rachel Campos-Duffy did with him as she is in Washington, DC reporting for Fox and Friends on the March for Life which this year is the first one since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. 

Next to Rachel, who said she was in heels, Ben Watson looks like a giant and a giant he is in the pro-life movement. I don’t know if he is Catholic or not, but he needs to be made a “honorary” Catholic—no need to proselytize him. 

I found this 2020 video EWTN did on him. He is so articulate and compassionate in his pro-life approach:


Anonymous said...

He played 15 years in the NFL. He was with several teams. I recall him mainly from his days with the New England Patriots.

His father is a pastor in South Carolina.


Here is a beautiful photograph of Benjamin Watson, his wife, and their seven children, along with the following article:

-- Benjamin Watson calls on Planned Parenthood to end Sanger legacy of abortion

"But the truth of Scripture is why the former NFL standout and longtime prolife advocate is calling on Planned Parenthood to go beyond a New York Times editorial Saturday (April 17) which acknowledged but attempted to disavow the eugenics and racism of its founder Margaret Sanger."

"Planned Parenthood needs to simply stop performing abortions, Watson said."


Mark Thomas

Mark said...

Father McDonald:

With all the comments you receive, I expect you missed it, but at least twice in the past couple of years or so I have posted comments on the Blog giving a link to the trailer for this documentary film. (Although I keep a record of my comments, I do not keep a record of the dates on which I make them, and it was probably when I used the identifier Anonymous 2.)

Moreover, one of those occasions was in an exchange with you about the best way to make abortion an unthinkable option, specifically to support the point that the best way is to change hearts and minds through such an approach as Benjamin Watson’s rather than through coercion using the criminal law and punishment.

Dave Thoman said...

Mark – I agree with that sentiment, but doesn’t it apply to other immoral acts as well? For example, isn’t better to change hearts and minds that discrimination is wrong rather than through coercion using the criminal law and punishment? I support both/and rather than either/or.

Mark said...


You make an excellent point. Sometimes the law must prohibit certain conduct in the interests of remedying injustice and promoting justice. Tomorrow, for example, we are discussing MLK Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in my Jurisprudence class. When I read it, I inevitably find myself substituting the word “unborn” for “Negro.” Relatedly, sometimes the law can also play a pedagogical role, helping to lead rather than just follow the culture.

This said, one can ask several relevant questions. First, even if the law must prohibit the conduct, should the penalties be civil or criminal? And in either case, who should pay the penalties? Second, what does one say to those who seek to distinguish abortion as being sui generis because the status of the victim of the injustice as a human being is so heavily disputed? The law already criminalizes the killing of a fetus (we would say a baby) that survives a botched abortion, and rightly so, surely. There seems to be a large degree of consensus on that point. But let’s go to the other end of the continuum of development—what about the zygote at the very beginning of the pregnancy? And what about all the factual scenarios in between? People’s moral intuitions differ about these various situations, as the Pew surveys on attitudes to abortion amply demonstrate, although there is a much larger area of agreement than is often thought (but of course, I agree that just because something is the majority opinion does not make it true).

An example – I still have some hair but would generally be regarded as bald. At what point did I become so? There was a stage during which I clearly was not bald (balding perhaps but not bald), and then a stage at which I was clearly bald, with a grey area in between (pun intended -:)). The first two factual scenarios are in what the famous legal philosopher H.L.A. Hart terms the “core of certainty” regarding the meaning of a word. The grey area is in the “penumbra of doubt.”

The problem with abortion is that we cannot agree as a society on any core of certainty beyond the situation where the baby is already delivered, whether the word we are seeking to define is “human being” or “person,” although there seems to be increasing consensus the further along a pregnancy develops. And then add the complicating, unique factor that the fetus is physically inside the woman, who is indisputably a human being and a person with rights of her own. This unique, complicating factor surely also contributes to the differing moral intuitions on abortion.

Isn’t all this why the law seems so blunt an instrument and why persuasion may be the only realistic alternative, at least up until a certain point in the pregnancy and at least until the culture changes more in the direction of the Catholic (and some other religions’) point of view about the sacredness of life from conception to natural death?

Mark said...

Some other relevant questions to add to the questions at the beginning of the second paragraph in my previous comment are the following: How enforceable is the prohibition of the conduct? Specifically, regarding abortion, how can the law effectively enforce a prohibition against medicated abortion, which now comprises a very significant percentage of all abortions in the United States? (Can all avenues for obtaining the drugs involved be closed off?) Or a prohibition against abortions that are self-induced in other ways? Or those obtained in jurisdictions where abortion is still permitted (either other states or other countries)?

Dave Thoman said...

Mark – I will make a couple points and ask a couple questions in response. I agree by their nature that abortion laws are complicated, but so are other laws that try to balance rights such as gun ownership laws and discrimination laws with religious freedom exceptions. These laws are still important even if imperfect.

I support the Georgia heartbeat law. Do you? Even if it is not perfect in your mind, isn’t it better than not having a law that protects the unborn?

I would think that most people support feticide laws that impose severe penalties for those who attack pregnant women resulting in the death of the infant in the womb. We do not let the fact that some may not agree that the fetus is a “human being” or “person” keep us as a society from imposing severe penalties in these situations.

Finally, I think you make an excellent point about seeing the parallels between seeking justice for the unborn and the justice that MLK Jr devoted his life to.

Mark said...


Thank you for engaging. I really do appreciate the conversation and your challenging questions.

You ask whether I support the Georgia heartbeat law. I wish I could give you a yes or no answer but I cannot. I have just read it through and now I must try to think it through when I have an opportunity to do so, which may not be for another week or so. In doing so, however, I will assume that it will eventually survive in the courts, which has yet to be determined. I do know this—just reading it through, I have many legal, factual, philosophical, process, and practical questions about it. I know that sounds like I am avoiding your question, but I really am not. I wish we could have an extended conversation about my questions, so you could better understand where I am coming from.