Ethics News

News: Infanticide, Partial Birth Abortion


>> = Important Articles; ** = Major Articles


**Late-Term Abortionist Admits to Aborting 1 Day Before Delivery (Christian Post, 080322)

Late-Term Abortion Bill Expected in Senate (970513)

Santorum’s crusade against abortion colored by his own experience (970515)

American Medical Association Backs Partial Birth Ban (970520)

Senate passes abortion bill (970520)

Bummed Out At the Prom (970615)

Indian state to curb female infanticide with aid to mothers (970818)

Woman sentenced for killing newborn baby (980319)

The Return of the Ban…and the baby (National Review Online, 030313)

Senate Bans ‘Partial Birth’ Abortions (Foxnews, 030313)

The Senate passes a partial-birth abortion ban (Weekly Standard, 030314)

House Passes ‘Partial Birth’ Abortion Ban (Foxnews, 030605)

Hearing a Cry: A partial-birth-abortion ban heads to the president (National Review Online, 031024)

Bush Handing Abortion Opponents a Victory (Foxnews, 031105)

Gov’t Promises to Defend New Abortion Law (Foxnews, 031107)

Labor and delivery (WorldNetDaily, 050520)

Hawaii Supreme Court: The Unborn Are ‘Not Human Beings’ (Christian Post, 051206)

Partial Birth Abortion Law Struck Down in Two Courts (Christian Post, 060201)

Partial Truth: The press and partial-birth abortion. (National Review Online, 060501)

Kan. Grand Jury to Probe Late-Abortion Death Case (Christian Post, 060505)

‘Bioethicist’: OK to kill babies after they’re born: ‘Animal-rights’ promoter asserts actual birth makes no difference (WorldNetDaily, 060914)

The Supreme Court’s Back Alley: Scientific evidence does not show that D&X is a safe and necessary procedure. (National Review Online, 061106)

Against Partial-Birth Abortion (National Review Online, 061107)

You Don’t Need a Weatherman: To know which way the Greenhouse gases blow. (National Review Online, 061108)

The Rise of Infanticide? (Mohler, 070328)

Supreme Court Upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (Foxnews, 070418)

High Court Backs Ban on Partial Birth Abortion (Christian Post, 070418)

Partial-birth abortion ban upheld (Washington Times, 070419)

A limited and humane decision (Washington Times, 070419)

Christians Applaud High Court’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ruling (Christian Post, 070419)

A Sane Decision: The restoration in Gonzales v. Carhart. (National Review Online, 070420)

Partial-birth hypocrisy (Washington Times, 070420)

The Face-Off Over Partial-Birth Abortion: Judicial restraint and “facial” challenges. (National Review Online, 070423)

The Supreme Court gives reason for hope (, 070423)

The New Anti-Catholic Bigotry (, 070427)

Piercing the Skull (, 070503)

Deadly Trend (BreakPoint, 080314)

Atheism and Child Murder (, 080512)

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Late-Term Abortion Doctor (Christian Post, 080703)

Appeals Court Backs Va. Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (Christian Post, 090625)

The Scandal of Gendercide – War on Baby Girls (Christian Post, 100311)

Bodies of 21 Babies Found in China River (Foxnews, 100330)





**Late-Term Abortionist Admits to Aborting 1 Day Before Delivery (Christian Post, 080322)


George Tiller, who currently faces 19 criminal charges for performing illegal late-term abortions in Kansas, was caught on hidden tape admitting that he has performed abortions as close as one day before the mother’s delivery date.


Students for Life of America, a pro-life student group, recently released a video on YouTube with footage of Tiller’s comments during and after the Feminist Majority Foundation’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference held Mar. 9 at the National Education Association in Washington D.C.


The video shows Tiller presenting graphic slide images of fetuses that were aborted for their fetal abnormalities.


“What is most disturbing about this video is the point when Dr. Tiller shows footage of children he has aborted,” SFLA director Kristan Hawkins, who taped the video with a colleague, told


“One had an extra arm: could not that child have survived and received corrective surgery? Was violently killing the child the only way to go?” she asked.


The crowd at the NEA event applauded Tiller’s presentation and Kathy Spillar, vice president of Feminist Majority Foundation, even commended the abortion practitioner’s acts as “courageous.”


Following the event, Hawkins and another SFLA member questioned Tiller about the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act, a federal bill signed into law that protects born children from murder and illegalizes infanticide.


He said it was “reprehensible” for a doctor performing an abortion to let the baby accidentally slip out alive.


“If the baby is born alive, that is sloppy medicine,” Tiller said in the video.


He also expressed objections to the legislation, saying, “Let’s say you have 15 or 16, you had one slip out with a heartbeat; that is not a viable fetus, but that is born alive or has a heartbeat. Then you have to take that non-viable fetus and rush it directly to the hospital against the woman’s wishes.”


Last year, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison filed 19 criminal charges against Tiller for failing to get the permission of a second doctor who was financially or legally independent of him before carrying out late-term abortion procedures. Morrison had also dismissed 30 more serious criminal charges against the abortionist filed by the former attorney general before he left office.


If convicted under Morrison’s charges, Tiller will face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each of the 19 charges. Furthermore, Tiller’s medical license to practice could be suspended or revoked.


The notorious Kansas abortionist has been known nationwide for offering easy late-term abortions, which breaks Kansas laws of only providing abortions if there is a reasonable medical concern.


He has been accused several times of performing illegal late-term abortions and offering only vague reasons why the operation is necessary.


The Kansas Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments on three subpoenas for patient records by the grand jury investigating Tiller’s abortion clinic on Apr. 8.




Late-Term Abortion Bill Expected in Senate (970513)


WASHINGTON —Debate on so-called partial birth abortion is expected to begin in the Senate Tuesday, nearly two months after the House voted to ban the procedure by a veto-proof margin.


The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, would allow the procedure only when the woman’s life is at risk, and could impose fines or imprisonment of up to two years for doctors who perform it.


President Clinton vetoed a similar bill last year, saying any law should also include an exception for when a woman’s health is endangered. The White House said in March that Clinton would veto the bill that passed the House.


Opponents of the ban have said it hampers women’s constitutional right to choose abortion, but even some abortion rights supporters have been swayed by a graphic campaign for the ban on the House floor, including line drawings of a fetus being aborted by this method.


Officials cautioned that debate on the abortion bill may be pushed back until Wednesday because of other pressing matters, including the budget.


The debate in the Senate is likely to be colored by a measure crafted by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota which would include bans on all late-term abortions with exceptions for cases where the woman’s life is in danger or where she risks “grievous injury” to her physical health.


Daschle said his standard for banning abortion procedures was viability of the fetus, which he said occurred starting at weeks 23-28 of gestation. The woman’s physician would certify that the health risks justified an abortion, under Daschle’s proposal.


But Santorum and other abortion opponents said the Daschle language was aimed at undermining any ban on the so-called partial birth procedure.


“Sen. Daschle’s proposal is filled with loopholes which really trivialize this debate,” Santorum said in a statement. “It’s billed as a compromise —some have even been confused to think that it goes further than our bill, but it would not prevent a single partial-birth abortion.


“It is an attempt to subvert and confuse the effort to ban an inhumane, barbaric procedure,” Santorum said.


The procedure, which opponents call partial birth abortion and which can also be referred to as dilation and extraction, involves the partial extraction of the fetus feet-first, the subsequent suctioning out of the fetal brain and removal of the fetus.


The House voted 295-136 March 20 to pass the ban.


Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee, said he was not optimistic that the measure would pass the Senate by the two-thirds majority required to withstand a Clinton veto.


“It’s an uphill climb,” Johnson said in a telephone interview, estimating that 61 senators were prepared to vote for the ban, or six short of the required 67.




Santorum’s crusade against abortion colored by his own experience (970515)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Touched by personal tragedy, Sen. Rick Santorum is crusading with zeal and passion in leading the Republican drive to ban a certain type of late-term abortion.


The Pennsylvania senator says the death of his son two hours after birth last fall served to reinforce his opposition to abortion.


Santorum and his wife twice considered and rejected abortion even though they knew the fetus had a defect and would die after birth. Doctors presented the abortion option less than two weeks after Santorum led an unsuccessful fight to override a presidential veto of a bill that would have outlawed what opponents call partial-birth abortions.


“We were presented with a situation not dissimilar to a lot of women with partial-birth abortions,” Santorum said in a recent interview. “In a sense I’ve gone through what everyone on the Senate floor said I had no understanding of. That’s not true anymore.”


Santorum denounces the late-term abortion technique as “infanticide.” As he opened debate this week on a bill identical to last year’s, he was somber in graphically describing the procedure and ardent in questioning how, morally, anyone could support it.


“It is so important for people to understand that you don’t have to kill the baby. You don’t have to do that. I know,” he said in a Senate floor speech.


“Obviously, if it was a choice of whether both Karen and the child are going to die or just the child is going to die, I mean it’s a pretty easy call,” Santorum said in a Philadelphia Inquirer interview published earlier this month.


Santorum is a main sponsor of the Senate bill, which would ban the late-term abortion procedure, except when a mother’s life was at stake.


The Senate was expected to pass the bill this week but fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a threatened presidential veto. Last year, the Senate fell eight votes short of an override.


Santorum caused some friction Wednesday when he unsuccessfully sought permission for a 5 1/2-year-old girl to view the debate from the visitors’ gallery. Senate rules say children must be 6 or older.


Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., objected to Santorum’s request, saying she thought it was “exploitive.”


In a telephone interview, the girl’s mother said she had been told she needed an abortion when she was seven months pregnant because the fetus’ death was imminent from severe hydrocephalous and loss of brain tissue.


The mother, Lori Watts of Greencastle, Pa., said she declined the abortion and her daughter now has a life “very akin to other children her age.” The girl, Donna, is educated through home schooling, as are her three sisters, the mother added.


Opponents of the legislation say the procedure, more complicated than first-trimester abortions, is uncommon and used only when the fetus has severe abnormalities or when the woman has serious health problems.


Foes like Santorum maintain the procedure is common and often elective. Santorum opposes all abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.


Santorum said he spoke with doctors, friends and members of the clergy and studied fetal development in detail before concluding during his 1990 House campaign that he was against terminating pregnancies.


He has not relented since.


“Rick is by nature a very passionate person,” said William J. Green, a Republican political consultant in Pittsburgh. “He doesn’t come to these positions lightly. He takes his time, but when he gets there, he’s there. He’s fairly adamant, and there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.”


Santorum and his wife, Karen, considered abortion while she was in her fifth month of pregnancy, first when the fetus was diagnosed with a fatal defect and a few days later when corrective intrauterine surgery caused a life-threatening infection to the mother.


Mrs. Santorum began feeling cramps, a sign of early labor, two days after the surgery. She was treated with antibiotics that fought the infection while the labor progressed. The infant, Gabriel, died shortly after birth.


“We bundled him up, put a little hat on his head to keep him warm,” Santorum wrote in a May 4 commentary piece in the Inquirer. “We held him, sang to him and cried for him. We knew the end was near, so we tried to pack a lifetime of love into those few hours.”


Santorum’s critics believe he should be willing to let others have the same choices that he and his wife had to accept or reject abortion.


“He is an ideologue,” said Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. “He is very overbearing. I don’t think one has to force one’s opinion down anyone else’s throat.”




American Medical Association Backs Partial Birth Ban (970520)


WASHINGTON — Senate lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a controversial measure Tuesday that would ban partial birth abortions.


On Monday, the influential American Medical Association threw its support behind the proposal.


Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican who is the sponsor of the Senate bill, announced the AMA endorsement of a slightly modified version of his bill. He said he hoped it would sway the six to eight senators who by his count are still undecided.


Santorum said he has 62 “solid” votes, more than enough to pass the measure. But he needs 67 to override a presidential veto. The measure passed the House by a veto-proof majority.


President Clinton vetoed an identical bill last year and said he will do so again this year because it does not make exceptions to preserve the health of the pregnant woman. The Santorum bill makes exceptions only if her life is endangered.




Senate passes abortion bill (970520)


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate today passed a bill outlawing a controversial late-term abortion procedure, but fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override an expected veto by President Clinton.


The vote was 64-36, with even Democratic leader Tom Daschle, whose attempt at compromise failed last week, voting for the Republican bill. “It is not an easy decision because I favor a women’s right,” Daschle said on the Senate floor moments after the vote.


The bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., passionately implored colleagues to follow the American Medical Association and support the ban on what abortion opponents call “partial-birth” abortions.


The AMA endorsed the bill Monday after its sponsors, including Santorum, agreed to technical changes, which the Senate also approved today. The AMA had declined to endorse it last week and remained neutral.


“We worry so much about the right to choose,” Santorum said in closing the three-hour debate. “What about the right to choose life?.”


The bill would outlaw the procedure except when a woman is at risk of death and no other medical procedure can be used to end the pregnancy.


But abortion-rights advocates, including Clinton, oppose it because it doesn’t include exceptions for when the health of a woman is at risk.


“This bill does harm,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., one of the Senate’s strongest abortion-rights advocates. “Colleagues, please do not relegate women to the status that says ... their health does not matter.”


Boxer noted that the American Medical Women’s Association opposes the bill. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the leading medical organization in women’s health care, also objects to it on grounds that it is “inappropriate, ill-advised and dangerous” for lawmakers to meddle in medical decision-making.


In a statement, the AMA said its board decided to support the bill because it has been “significantly changed” to meet the organization’s criteria for abortion legislation.


Sponsors said the measure, among other changes, now protects doctors from prosecution when they are intending to deliver a baby but are forced to resort to the abortion procedure to save the mother’s life.


“Although our general policy is to oppose legislation criminalizing medical practice or procedure, the AMA has supported such legislation where the procedure was narrowly defined and not medically indicated,” AMA executive vice president P. John Seward wrote in a letter to Santorum.




Bummed Out At the Prom (970615)


by George F. Will


According to a friend, 18-year-old Melissa Drexler paused in front of the mirror in the bathroom to touch up her makeup before rejoining her date on the dance floor at the prom. She had just tossed her 6-pound, 6-ounce baby boy into a trash bin next to the bloodstained stall in the restroom where she had given birth. “She seemed to be enjoying herself,” said a classmate about Drexler’s postpartum dancing.


Medical examiners have determined that the baby was alive during the birthing process, which occurred early in the prom. He was soon discovered by a maintenance worker who thought the trash bag was unusually heavy. Unsuccessful attempts were made to resuscitate him.


Believe it or not, much may depend on whether it can be determined that the baby died before the umbilical cord was cut. Or whether the air sacs in his lungs inflated, indicating that he breathed, however briefly, independent of his mother. Ms. Drexler may be charged with something. Maybe murder. Maybe endangering a child. (Maybe conducting a partial-birth abortion at a prom without a license?)


Who taught Ms. Drexler to think, or not think, in a way that caused her to regard her newborn baby as disposable trash? Many people and things, no doubt.


She may have come from a less than attentive home environment. An assistant prosecutor says family members did not know she was pregnant. She has grown up in a society that does not stress deferral of gratification, and it’s not her fault that the baby arrived during the prom, for Pete’s sake. She has come of age in a society where condom-dispensing schools teach sex education in the modern manner, which has been well-described as plumbing for hedonists. If she is like millions of other young adults, she has spent thousands of hours watching movies and television programs not designed to encourage delicacy of feelings or to suggest that sexuality has morally complex dimensions and serious consequences. If she is like millions of other young adults, she has pumped into her ears thousands of hours of the coarsening lyrics of popular music. And she certainly has grown up in a social atmosphere saturated with opinion leaders’ approbation of, and collaboration with, the political program of reducing abortion —the killing of something —to a mere “choice,” like choosing to smoke a cigarette, only not nearly that serious.


However, foremost among the moral tutors who prepared Ms. Drexler to act as she did is the Supreme Court. By pretending in Roe v. Wade not to know when life begins, the court encouraged looking away from the stark fact that abortion kills something. Ignoring elementary science, the court said, preposterously, that a fetus is “potential life.” But as Walker Percy, an M.D. as well as a novelist, wrote, it is a commonplace of modern biology that a life begins “when the chromosomes of the sperm fuse with the chromosomes of the ovum to form a new DNA complex that thenceforth directs the ontogenesis of the organism.” Percy continued:


“The onset of individual life is not a dogma of the church but a fact of science. How much more convenient if we lived in the thirteenth century, when no one knew anything about microbiology and arguments about the onset of life were legitimate.”


Biology does not allow the abortion argument to be about, or anyone to be agnostic about, when life begins. Conscientious people can disagree about the appropriate moral and legal status to be accorded the life that abortion ends. But science complicates —to say no more —the “pro-choice” movement’s project of making the world safe for the likes of Ms. Drexler, the project of presenting the ending of an inconvenient young life as akin to a bowel movement.


Pregnancy is a continuum. What begins at conception will, if there is no natural misfortune or deliberate attack, become a child. If it becomes a child at a prom, it must be attacked quickly, lest the whole night be a bummer.


The barbarism at the prom is being termed a “tragedy” calling for “compassion” all around. No, an earthquake is a tragedy. This was an act of wickedness —a wicked choice —and a society incapable of anger about it is simply decadent. Perhaps the brevity of the life of Ms. Drexler’s son will accelerate the transformation of the nation’s vague unrest into a vivid consciousness that today’s abortion culture, with its casual creation and destruction of life, is evil.




Indian state to curb female infanticide with aid to mothers (970818)


NEW DELHI, India (AP) — A state in India is trying to protect unwanted baby girls from being killed by poor familes aiming to avoid dowry payments.


The government of Tamil Nadu state plans to pay poor mothers and keep them in the hospital for a month, United News of India news agency reported Sunday. It quoted the state’s chief revenue administrator, Renga Rao, as saying that mothers often kill the babies within a month of their birth.


Details of the plan were not immediately disclosed.


The practice of killing female infants is believed to be widespread among poor peasants in parts of India. Parliament passed a law two years ago barring doctors from telling parents the sex of their fetuses to avoid abortions.




Woman sentenced for killing newborn baby (980319)


PITTSBURGH, Pa. (AP) — A judge on Thursday sentenced a woman to serve up to four years in prison for killing her newborn baby by wrapping the child in T-shirts and dumping the body in a trash bin.


Sharon Cygnarowicz, 24, of McCandless, pleaded guilty in February to involuntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and concealing the death of a child.


Cygnarowicz, who lived with her parents, hid her pregnancy by explaining she had gained weight. She spent seven hours in labor alone in her bedroom before the child was born in December 1996.


Cygnarowicz then placed the baby on T-shirts, shoved the shirts under her bed and went to sleep. The next day she put the shirts and baby in a garbage bag and tossed it into a trash bin near a bank where she worked.


An autopsy showed the baby was born alive and died in part from a fractured skull.


In requesting leniency, defense lawyer Gary Gerson said his client was depressed.


“She was and is a good and decent person, a moral person,” he said. “She got caught up in events.”




The Return of the Ban…and the baby (National Review Online, 030313)


By Pia de Solenni


The partial-birth abortion ban is back and a vote is scheduled for Thursday in the Senate. Congress approved the ban in 1996 and 1998, but our erstwhile president vetoed the ban. Both times the ban was passed, politicians from each party supported it. This should come as no surprise. For both sides, it’s a chance to distance themselves from infanticide. The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act passed for the same reason. We weren’t talking about a “clump of cells” or even a woman’s difficult situation. Front and center, we know it’s a baby who’s being born and could either have her brains sucked out or be wrapped in swaddling clothes and taken to the nursery.


Still, Senators Kennedy, Feinstein, and their ilk have spent the past few days saying that now is not the time to discuss PBA, as if we were all sitting at a family dinner table where they’re the parents and we’re the unruly children.


Supporting a PBA ban is a win for either side of the abortion debate. For pro-lifers, it keeps abortion from progressing towards full-blown infanticide. For abortion supporters, it keeps them from looking like Peter Singer who would give parents the right to kill their children 30 days after they’d been born.


Banning PBA won’t endanger the lives of women. A women who faces a pregnancy that has become critical needs only to deliver the child, not to kill it. PBA usually involves a breech delivery (feet first) which would be more harmful to a woman than a normal delivery or a caesarean section.


A PBA ban won’t eliminate abortion. It will simply eliminate a particularly gruesome abortion procedure that’s currently used thousands of times each year in the United States. It will make things harder for the abortionist because he’ll have to employ another form of abortion, like dilation and evacuation, which will be more time consuming. So he’ll have to spend more time and effort to make his money.


Which brings us to why some abortion supporters won’t support the ban. The ban would make their billion-dollar a year industry a little less lucrative and begin to impose some regulations on a largely unregulated business.


Those in Congress who take seriously the job of representing their constituents will vote in favor of the ban because doing so will represent the sense of the people. 70% of them favor a PBA ban according to a January USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll.


So when would be an appropriate time to discuss PBA? Actually, we’ve passed the time for discussion. It’s time for action. It’s time for a ban.


If we were to describe PBA as a procedure done to puppies, support among the senators would increase dramatically and Senators Feinstein and Kennedy might move out of the way. The unborn child, however, has become so political that it’s lost its face. Puppies, on the other hand, still have theirs.


The PBA ban, like the Born-Alive Act, legally puts a face on the unborn child and that makes some politicians squirm. Abortion has no face. Babies do.


— Pia de Solenni is a fellow at the Center for Human Life and Bioethics of the Family Research Council.




Senate Bans ‘Partial Birth’ Abortions (Foxnews, 030313)


WASHINGTON — After three days of emotional debate on the constitutionality of limiting a woman’s right to an abortion, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a ban Thursday on a late-term procedure that abortion opponents called “barbaric.”


The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 received a 64-33 vote. It now heads to the Republican-led House, which passed the ban last year before it was stopped in the then-controlled Democratic Senate.


House Republicans said they expect to pass the bill by Easter. President Bush has said he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.


“Partial-birth abortion is an abhorrent procedure that offends human dignity, and I commend the Senate for passing legislation to ban it,” Bush said in a prepared statement. “Today’s action is an important step toward building a culture of life in America.”


But Thursday’s vote showed that several Democrats also oppose the procedure, which consists of partially delivering a fetus in the 20th and 26th week, then puncturing the brain cavity. In the event of a breech delivery, partial birth would mean “any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother.”


The bill makes it illegal for doctors to commit the “overt act” of killing the partially delivered fetus unless the mother suffers from a pre-existing condition that would amount to a full-term pregnancy endangering her life.


“This is a great day for humanity. I am delighted to see us taking the step to eliminate this practice that some of our colleagues in the past have called the closest thing to infanticide,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.


“It will become law this year,” he said.


But not everyone believes that the late-term procedure should be banned, and some accused the bill’s Republican sponsors of trying to roll back the clock on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that made it legal for a woman to seek an abortion.


“This bill is unconstitutional,” argued Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., citing the lack of an exemption in cases where the mother develops a life-threatening condition as the result of pregnancy.


The debate over partial birth abortion has been brewing since Republicans took control of the House in 1995.


Twice, the Congress passed a partial birth abortion ban, but former President Clinton vetoed it. In 2000, the Supreme Court derailed efforts to pass a ban when it invalidated a Nebraska state law that closely resembled the measure moving through the House and Senate.




The Senate passes a partial-birth abortion ban (Weekly Standard, 030314)


The president says he’ll sign it. Will it hold up before the Court?


YESTERDAY, with 64 Senators supporting it, the Senate approved a bill that would ban partial-birth abortion in all 50 states. Congress passed similar bans in 1995 and 1999 that were vetoed by Bill Clinton, but George W. Bush has said he will sign the ban into law. But can it survive Supreme Court scrutiny?


The new bill is identical to one passed by the House last July but then smothered by the Democratic Senate. That bill featured two changes that address the Supreme Court’s ruling in Stenberg v. Carhart, which overturned a Nebraska law banning the procedure.


The first change is the bill’s definition of “partial-birth abortion.” The majority opinion in Stenberg found Nebraska’s definition of the term too vague and ruled that it could be interpreted to cover not only abortions in which the baby is delivered alive before being killed, but also the “dilation and evacuation” method, in which an unborn baby is dismembered while still inside the mother.


To eliminate confusion the new bill states: “The person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside of the mother, or, in the case of breech delivery, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside of the mother.”


The second change responds to the “health of the mother” issue. The Court ruled in Stenberg that an abortionist must be allowed to perform a partial-birth abortion if it is the method least likely to cause side effects for the mother. The majority reached this result by referring to abortionist Leroy Carhart, who claims that late-term partial-birth abortion is sometimes the method least likely to cause injurious side effects.


The new bill confronts this issue by relying on congressional findings that partial-birth abortion is never necessary to protect a mother’s health and may even expose her to serious health risks. The bill reads: “Congress finds that partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother; is in fact unrecognized as a valid abortion procedure by the mainstream medical community; poses additional health risks to the mother; blurs the line between abortion and infanticide in the killing of a partially born child just inches from birth; and confuses the role of the physician in childbirth and should therefore be banned.”


The National Right to Life Committee is optimistic about the future of the bill, which should move quickly through the House. A letter to members of Congress from the NRLC expresses hope that the new bill could satisfy Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s concern that the dilation and evacuation procedure should be excluded from the ban.


Rachel DiCarlo is a staff assistant at The Weekly Standard.




House Passes ‘Partial Birth’ Abortion Ban (Foxnews, 030605)


WASHINGTON — Moving the restriction a crucial step closer to President Bush’s signature, the House voted 282-139 Wednesday to ban a procedure that abortion foes call “partial birth” abortion.


With the vote, Congress was on the verge of ending a practice that Rep. Steve Chabot said was “truly a national tragedy.”


President Bush hailed passage of the legislation he said “will help build a culture of life in America. I urge Congress to quickly resolve any differences and send me the final bill as soon as possible so that I can sign it into law.”


Abortion rights groups said they would challenge the ban in court as soon as it becomes law, thrusting the issue of the ban’s constitutionality toward a divided Supreme Court.


The ban would be one of the most significant restrictions on abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision recognizing abortion rights. Ken Connor, president of the anti-abortion Family Research Council, said passage was indicative of “a tide that is running against Roe v. Wade, which will eventually be dismantled.”


Bush — unlike former President Clinton, who twice vetoed partial birth abortion bans — had urged Congress in his State of the Union address in January to give him a bill he could sign.


The administration strongly believes the bill “is both morally imperative and constitutionally permissible,” the White House said in a statement.


The Senate passed a nearly identical bill in March, but differences with the House must still be ironed out before the legislation is sent to the president. Likely to be deleted: nonbinding language added by the Senate in support of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.


Abortion opponents have pushed the bill since Republicans captured the House in 1995, saying they want to stop a particularly abhorrent means of ending a pregnancy. “Partial birth abortion is a gruesome and inhumane procedure and it is a grave attack against human dignity and justice. This practice must be banned,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., at the opening of the debate.


Under the bill, partial birth abortion is defined as a procedure in which the fetus is killed after the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother or, in the case of breech presentation, “any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother.”


The legislation characterizes the procedure, which typically involves puncturing the fetal skull to bring about death, as “the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.”


Physicians who knowingly perform the procedure would be subject to up to two years in prison.


Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the organization would file a suit immediately after Bush signs the bill and would seek an injunction to stop its implementation.


Talcott Camp of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said they too would challenge the bill on behalf of the National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion providers and clinics. “I’m confident that the constitutional protections of women’s health have not diminished in the past three years,” she said.


Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, the chief sponsor of the House bill, said Tuesday they had tightened the language to meet the court’s objections and had accumulated evidence to prove that the procedure was “dangerous to a woman’s health, and never medically necessary.”


But the deciding factor in any Supreme Court decision could be the court’s makeup. Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor, two of the five who voted to strike down the Nebraska law, are considered among the justices most likely to retire in the near future, allowing Bush to nominate a more conservative replacement.




Hearing a Cry: A partial-birth-abortion ban heads to the president (National Review Online, 031024)


When Laci Peterson and her unborn child were discovered dead in April, vast majorities of Americans — 84% in one poll — supported criminal charges for both crimes. Nearly all of those surveyed recognized that the death of an eight-month-old unborn child merited appropriate punishment.


Similarly, vast majorities of Americans have consistently supported banning the practice known as “partial-birth abortion,” a procedure that terminates the life of unborn — and often viable — children during the final trimester of their mother’s pregnancy. Even on an issue as divisive as abortion, there are some instances where nearly everyone recognizes a clear division between right and wrong.


Read the words of a nurse who took part in one of these procedures, as she testified to Congress in 1993:


The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.


The doctor opened the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp.


Or the testimony offered by Dr. Jean Wright, a pediatric anesthesiologist, who told Congress that unborn babies feel pain by the 20th week of their development, often more intensely than adults. Representatives of the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have testified that this procedure is never the sole available method of abortion. Nor is it ever the preferred abortion procedure.


Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated simply: “Partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary to protect a mother’s health or her future fertility.”


By large bipartisan majorities, Congress twice before voted to ban this gruesome, medically unnecessary procedure. Each time, President Clinton, who said that the law must include an exception for a mother’s health — an exception so broad that the ban would have been virtually meaningless, vetoed the legislation outlawing it. In any event, the bills that had passed the Senate already included language that would have allowed the procedure when necessary to save the life of a mother who is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.


Perhaps Kate Michelman, the head of the NARAL Pro-Choice America, more accurately described the real reasons for vehement opposition to a ban on partial-birth abortions. She called it “the first step in banning all abortion procedures” and part of “an extreme right wing ideology.”


That’s nonsense, of course. It takes a certain amount of shamelessness to dismiss a ban routinely supported by as many as seven out of every 10 Americans as “extreme” or “right wing.”


Sometimes I fear that our country’s social discourse has irreparably deteriorated to a point where basic moral values are now shrouded in partisanship and politics. If we cannot come to terms with the clear, undisputable horror of inserting scissors into the skull of an otherwise viable and nearly fully developed child to end her life, without worrying about ramifications to some special-interest agenda, then our great nation is in serious trouble.


Luckily, a large, bipartisan majority in Congress has not allowed that to happen here. This week the Senate joined the U.S. House of Representatives in voting once again to ban partial-birth abortions. And President Bush has promised to sign the legislation.


I’m particularly gratified that a strong majority in the Senate — which is often divided, and divided very bitterly — joined with us in that effort. Sixty-four out of 100 senators voted for the ban. Then again, there should have been more.


— Senator Jon Kyl is a Republican senator from Arizona.




Bush Handing Abortion Opponents a Victory (Foxnews, 031105)


WASHINGTON  — President Bush is handing abortion opponents a victory sought through seven years of political battle as he signs legislation that bans some abortions.


The president’s signature represents an end to a legislative crusade that began when Republicans captured the House in 1995. Former President Clinton twice vetoed similar bills, arguing that they lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.


But for abortion rights advocates, the current president’s action simply moves the fight over a procedure opponents call partial birth abortion from Congress to the courts.


The bill Bush has said he was pleased to usher into law Wednesday forbids an abortion, generally performed in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed, usually by having its skull punctured.


Aware of its backing among the religious conservatives that make up a key portion of his base of political support, the president called the bill “very important legislation that will end an abhorrent practice and continue to build a culture of life in America” when it gained final congressional approval late last month.


But despite his strong anti-abortion credentials, Bush is also mindful of the more moderate voters he cannot afford to alienate. So last week during a news conference with reporters, he repeated a position he offered during his 2000 campaign, saying he would not seek a total ban on abortion because public opinion had not yet shifted to support such a move.


The bill prohibits doctors from committing an “overt act” designed to kill a partially delivered fetus. There is no exception to the ban if the woman’s health is at risk of if the child would be born with ailments.


Similar to a Nebraska law struck down by the Supreme Court three years ago, the legislation imposes the most far-reaching limits on abortion since the high court in 1973 established a woman’s right to end a pregnancy.


Supporters argue the bill applies only to a procedure done late in pregnancy — and relatively rarely — and that the procedure is never necessary to protect the health of the mother.


But abortion-rights groups say the law has overly broad language that could criminalize several safe and common procedures and fault it for not providing an exception to protect a mother’s health. They also fear the law will represent the first step in a larger campaign to eventually bar all abortions.


As a result, opponents attacked it in three separate challenges even before it became law, with lawsuits filed Friday in federal courts in San Francisco, Omaha, Neb., and New York City. Hearings were scheduled Wednesday on all three suits’ request for temporary restraining orders that would block the law from taking effect.


Planned Parenthood sued in San Francisco on behalf of the group and women seeking the type of abortions the law would ban, while the Center for Reproductive Rights filed in Omaha on behalf of physicians. The ACLU sought a similar order in New York.


Also Wednesday, an abortion rights group was airing a television ad that says Bush’s signature would erode doctor-patient privacy rights and could represent his first step toward overturning a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. The NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation is spending nearly $500,000 to air ads in Washington, as well as Des Moines, Iowa, and Manchester, N.H., the sites of key early voting in next year’s presidential contest.


And activists, organized by the National Organization for Women, were planning a protest outside the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center where Bush was to sign the bill.


“We won’t stand by silently as this administration attempts to erode our rights,” NOW President Kim Gandy said.


The new bill defines partial birth abortion as delivery of a fetus “until, in the case of a headfirst presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of the breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus.”


Sponsors of the legislation say it is used roughly 2,200 times a year, principally during the 20th through 26th weeks of pregnancy.




Gov’t Promises to Defend New Abortion Law (Foxnews, 031107)


NEW YORK  — The government promised to defend a new law banning certain late-term abortions, despite rulings by three federal judges who blocked its enforcement so legal challenges — which they concluded would likely succeed — can go forward.


Federal judges in New York and California blocked the law Thursday, a day after it was signed by President Bush. The rulings likely prevent enforcement of the ban nationwide until a challenge to its constitutionality can be heard.


Judge Richard Casey in Manhattan suspended the effect of the law for 10 days, saying he expected an association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada and seven doctors will succeed in their challenge. The National Abortion Federation says its members perform half of abortions nationwide.


Later in the day, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in San Francisco ruled the law appears unconstitutional because it provides no exemptions for a woman’s health, mirroring the reasons cited by the other judges and affecting doctors at 900 Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide.


The two rulings together cover a majority of the abortion providers in the United States.


On Wednesday, less than an hour after Bush signed the law, a federal judge in Nebraska made a similar ruling that covers four abortion doctors licensed in 13 states across the Midwest and East. The Justice Department said in a statement that it “will continue to strongly defend the law prohibiting partial birth abortions using every resource necessary.”


It cited arguments it made in court papers that Congress considered testimony over an eight-year period, including physicians who “uniformly agreed that a partial-birth abortion is never necessary to advance the health or life of women.”


Casey noted in his three-page order granting a temporary restraining order that a government lawyer told him at a Wednesday hearing that the medical community remains divided over the issue and that Congress did not reach a consensus.


He said the position left him with no choice but to “conclude that it is substantially likely” that the law will be found unconstitutional.


Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee, said the New York judge’s ruling was “not surprising but it is distressing.”


“It means that partly born babies will continue to die at the point of 7-inch scissors,” he said. “Certainly these judicial orders severely impede the government’s ability to protect these premature infants.”


The new law outlaws a procedure generally performed in the second or third trimester in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed, usually by puncturing its skull. Anti-abortion activists call the procedure “partial-birth abortion.” President Clinton had twice vetoed similar bills.


Opponents of the law say it is overly broad, lacks any exemption for the health of a woman and could outlaw several safe and common procedures. They also contended it is the first step in a larger campaign to ban all abortions and undo Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.


Abortion-rights advocates expect a showdown over the new law with the Bush administration at the U.S. Supreme Court.


Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the case in New York, said the ACLU was “enormously gratified but not surprised that that law appears now to be unconstitutional.”




Labor and delivery (WorldNetDaily, 050520)


ABORTION: A gruesome Florida abortion saga reveals sordid—and possibly illegal—practices in late-term procedures | by Lynn Vincent


“It’s a women’s clinic . . . My friend is having an abortion and the baby was born alive. . . . They’re not allowing her to use the phone there. They’re wanting the baby to die! . . . and she’s not wanting that to happen.”


That was a portion of the 911 call to the Orlando Fire Department on April 2, when a woman named Angele Taylor, 34, claims to have delivered a live baby during a botched abortion at the EPOC Clinic—and that the child died after clinic workers refused to render aid or call for help (see “Rowan’s story,” WORLD, May 7).


On April 27, Orange County, Fla., Chief Medical Examiner Jan Garavaglia prepared her report on the death of the boy, whom Ms. Taylor named Rowan. Dr. Garavaglia—who is a bit of a celebrity with her own show on the Discovery Health Channel—found “no forensic evidence” that Rowan had been born alive. Dr. Garavaglia did conclude that Rowan was a baby, including in her report a physical description of the boy having red, slightly wrinkled skin, normal facial features, tiny fingernails, and hair on his head.


That’s not what abortion workers at the EPOC Clinic told the Orlando Fire Department (OFD). Clinic workers told OFD medical rescuers that an abortion patient had “passed some tissue,” was “hysterical,” and that no live baby had been born. A spokeperson for abortionist and clinic owner James Scott Pendergraft later told reporters that what Ms. Taylor claimed “absolutely never happened.”


The EPOC Clinic is one of six Florida abortion businesses owned by Dr. Pendergraft, a self-avowed empire builder who in 2000 told BusinessWeek he dreamed of expanding his chain of clinics up the Sunshine State’s east coast all the way to his home state of North Carolina.


But a seven-month federal prison stint stemming from a 2000 extortion conviction stalled those plans. (The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 2002, but left open the possibility of retrying Dr. Pendergraft and another man on conspiracy charges.) Now, the incident at the EPOC Clinic could spell further trouble for the abortionist—particularly in light of revelations that his employees may have deceived fire and law enforcement officials.


An OFD paramedic, who asked that his name be withheld to protect his job, said that at 10:23 a.m. on April 2 a friend of Ms. Taylor’s, who had driven her to the abortion clinic for day two of a “labor and delivery” abortion procedure, called 911 to report that the baby had been born alive. Three paramedics and one emergency medical technician sped to the scene at 609 Virginia Dr. They were greeted outside by an EPOC Clinic worker who told them that no baby had been born alive—that such a thing wasn’t even possible. Instead, a woman scheduled for an abortion had “passed some tissue,” was “hysterical,” and was refusing to hand “the tissue” over to clinic workers.


According to the OFD paramedic who spoke with WORLD, fire personnel were not aware the “tissue” in question was in reality a fully formed baby boy. That, along with clinic workers’ assertion that Ms. Taylor was clinging hysterically to “the tissue,” would explain why fire department medical workers, in their report, noted that they had assisted the Orlando Police Department (OPD) in handling a “disturbing the peace” call.


Dr. Pendergraft has told WORLD he will not comment on the April 2 incident.


The OFD paramedic’s story matches OPD Officer Jonathan Pinder’s account of events. One of two OPD officers to respond to the scene, Mr. Pinder told WORLD that the fire department “called us in reference to releasing the baby. I guess [Ms. Taylor] wanted to hold onto the fetus, and the clinic had some concerns that she wouldn’t release it.”


When Mr. Pinder arrived, “the fire guy told us the baby had already been turned over. I made contact with [Ms. Taylor] as a courtesy,” and helped Ms. Taylor and her friend call a funeral home and a cab.


According to the OFD paramedic WORLD spoke with, EPOC Clinic workers told fire department responders that the situation inside the clinic was under control and that a doctor was supervising the whole affair. That conflicts with a complaint that Liberty Counsel, a conservative public interest law firm, lodged with the Florida Department of Health and Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA). The complaints cited several violations of Florida law in the April 2 incident, including the absence of a doctor during the abortion procedure.


The procedure in question is called a “labor and delivery” (L&D) abortion. In 2000, Jill Stanek, a registered nurse who worked in the labor and delivery department of Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., testified before Congress in support of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2000. According to Ms. Stanek’s testimony, Christ Hospital clinicians when performing L&D abortions medically induced premature cervical dilation, so that “the small, pre-baby drops out of the uterus, oftentimes alive.” Ms. Stanek went on to tell the congressional panel about infants born alive and, limbs flailing weakly, left to die in the L&D ward’s “soiled utility room.”


Christ Hospital isn’t the only institution performing L&D abortions. In March 2001, Washington C. Hill, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, gave a presentation in which he described the L&D procedure. The slideshow that accompanied his lecture noted that “success [was] dependent on fetal demise,” while “complications” included “live birth.”


Last week, Ms. Stanek told WORLD that hospitals and abortion clinics approach L&D abortion differently. “Hospitals don’t kill the baby before they initiate the procedure. They have more of a mentality of a covert type of killing, of inducing prematurely and letting them die ‘naturally,’” sometimes by allowing them to suffocate in the birth canal. Abortion clinics, however, try to kill the baby before inducing labor, often by injecting the baby’s heart with digoxin.


The autopsy findings of Dr. Garavaglia, the medical examiner, verified Ms. Taylor’s claim that Harold Perper, the EPOC Clinic worker who induced her premature labor in preparation to abort Rowan, never injected the baby with digoxin. The examiner found no puncture wounds in the baby’s chest. Neither did Dr. Garavaglia find any evidence that the baby had breathed after birth, leading her to report that “no forensic evidence” suggested he had been born alive.


But breathing is only one of four signs of live birth according to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act—any one of which mandates that medical workers provide lifesaving medical care. The other three life signs are a beating heart, a pulsating umbilical cord, or movement of voluntary muscles.


Ms. Taylor, meanwhile, has said that Rowan both moved and grasped her finger with his hand—leading her to instantly regret her decision to abort. Her story did not surprise a former medical assistant who had been in training to do L&D abortions at Dr. Pendergraft’s Hyde Park clinic. “When I was in training to do second trimester abortions, I was told that we would have [women] deliver into the toilet so that if the baby happens to be alive, that it drowns,” said the former worker, who requested anonymity because she feared Dr. Pendergraft.


The medical assistant said she had never seen a baby born alive, but that co-workers at the clinic told her they had. “They would see them move or make a little sound, and other people would say that was involuntary. I didn’t believe that and neither did they.”


According to the medical assistant, all babies, dead or alive, were stuffed into red biohazard bags for later pickup by a medical waste service. She herself had delivered women with no doctor present, and disposed of babies’ bodies that way. She added that no doctor was present during most deliveries, leaving medical assistants, and often unlicensed workers to care for patients. When she worked for Dr. Pendergraft, she said, she was one of two licensed workers among 10 on staff.


Florida’s AHCA has uncovered late-term abortion problems with the clinic before. In a 2003 survey it said in 11 out of 11 third-trimester abortions sampled, the facility failed to have two physicians certify “to a reasonable degree of medical probability” that the abortions were necessary to save the life or preserve the health of the woman as required by Florida law. AHCA allowed the clinic to amend its records to “correct” the discrepancies.


During one incident, the medical assistant said, she delivered a 28-week-old baby dead while Dr. Pendergraft was out having lunch. “When I turned it over [on its side], the baby’s hands went together like it was praying. . . . I was waiting for it to scream. . . . It looked so much like a living baby.” That, she says, is when she decided she couldn’t work there anymore. —•




Hawaii Supreme Court: The Unborn Are ‘Not Human Beings’ (Christian Post, 051206)


Wednesday, November 30, the Supreme Court of Hawaii overturned the manslaughter conviction of Tayshea Aiwohi. The 32-year-old woman had been previously found guilty for causing the death of her newborn son by smoking crystal methamphetamine three days before his birth and on the morning he was delivered.


The State’s High Court unanimously ruled that Aiwohi’s son was an unborn fetus at the time she abused crystal meth, and therefore not a person. WorldNetDaily rightly characterized the decision in this fashion, saying that in Hawaii unborn children are “‘not human beings,’ and therefore women cannot be prosecuted for causing the death of babies by harmful behavior during their pregnancies.”


According to the Honolulu Star Bulletin, Hawaii’s penal code states that a person is defined as “‘a human being who has been born and is alive.’ Most states allow for the prosecution of a person for violence against a pregnant woman resulting in the death of her child after birth. Thirty-four states have ‘fetal homicide’ laws allowing prosecution of a person for causing the death of a fetus. Most infamously, Scott Peterson faces the death penalty in California for his conviction of two counts of murder for the deaths of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child.”


But in Hawaii there is no such law. And so open-ended is the matter in Hawaii, Justice Paula Nakayama wrote “that ‘the logical implication’ from the Aiwohi ruling is that a person who attacks a pregnant woman, causing the child’s death after birth, ‘also cannot be prosecuted [for the child’s death] under the manslaughter statute, inasmuch as the Legislature has not included fetuses within the definition of the term ‘person.’”


However, under the new federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act — also known as “Laci and Conner’s Law,” enacted by Congress in the wake of the murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner, by Laci’s husband, Scott Peterson — any person who perpetrates violence against a pregnant woman and causes the death of her fetus can be prosecuted. Still, mothers are protected from their own injurious actions to their unborn child, while others are not.


Hawaii’s Supreme Court ruling in the Aiwohi case and the State’s penal code clearly define personhood on the basis of functionalism. In other words, what one does defines one’s status as a person; persons are defined by certain functions and behaviors. The Holy Scriptures, however, define one’s personhood not by what one does but by what one is — a human soul made in the image of God. One needn’t be “born and is alive” to achieve such a status, only conceived.


Peter Kreeft with the American Life League rightly contends that functionalism has largely arisen with the erosion of the family. He writes: “Our civilization is dying primarily because the family is dying. Half of our families commit suicide, for divorce is the family committing suicide qua family. But the family is the place where you learn that you are loved not because of what you do, your function, but because of who you are.” Kreeft, therefore, further notes that consequently the new “Quality of Life Ethic” is replacing the old “Sanctity of Life Ethic.” “In this new ethic,” he writes, “a human life is judged as valuable and worth living if and only if the judgers decide that it performs at a certain level.”


This new approach is a matter of extreme danger in that it leads to a frightening form of despotism. For who decides the social utility of one’s existence? As Kreeft argues: “When it is in the self-interest of certain people to kill certain other people, whether fetuses, or the dying, or enemies of the state, or Jews, or Armenians, or Cambodians, or heretics, or prophets, the killers will simply define their victims as non-persons by pointing out that they do not meet certain criteria. Who determines the criteria? Those in power, of course.”


Moreover, the Aiwohi case and current federal law which protects a woman’s so-called “right” to choose, as well protects her from her own detrimental actions against her fetus, is remarkably reminiscent of the attitudes reflected at the time of the notable Dredd Scott case (1856-57).


In the Dred Scott decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Negro slaves nor their descendants could have rights or be considered citizens. The Court at that time essentially said people of African ancestry were not people, but simply the property of the slave owner. Abolitionists fought for the human rights of slaves when the prevailing notion was that a black man didn’t even have a soul. Blacks were neither considered human beings or persons, only chattel.


Cecil Hook of Freedom’s Ring, in an insightful article titled “Human Chattel,” argues: “Who would have thought that, more than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War, we would hear the infamous Dred Scott case revived so loudly and adamantly? Once it was the slave and his child who had no rights or soul; now it is the unborn child who has neither rights nor soul. In those times a master could deal with his slave as chattel; now the unborn is regarded as disposable property possessed by the mother — a part of her body which she can destroy without conscience.”


Interestingly, when Abraham Lincoln spoke out against the Dredd Scott decision, he cited the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that all men are “created equal” with certain “unalienable rights,” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Lincoln then went on to say that the Founding Fathers “did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all then were actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them .... They meant simply to declare the right, so that enforcement of it might follow as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all ....”


Indeed! And may God hasten the day when the unalienable (God-given) right to life is restored for the unborn “person.”



Rev. Mark H. Creech ( is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.




Partial Birth Abortion Law Struck Down in Two Courts (Christian Post, 060201)


Two federal courts ruled on Tuesday that the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, which bans a certain type of late-term abortion, is unconstitutional, putting two cases on track to be appealed to the Supreme Court.


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld lower court rulings that the law was invalid because it did not provide an exception when the health of the mother was in danger.


The Partial Birth Abortion Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, had already been ruled illegal in a previous court decision. That case has been appealed to the Supreme Court but the Justices are still considering whether to take it up. Tuesday’s rulings were the second and third cases in which the law was ruled as violating the constitution.


With the appointments of two conservative Supreme Court justices in recent months, observers will be looking to see how the court tackles the abortion issue. Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. on Tuesday replaced Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who supported legalized abortion.


In 2000, O’Connor voted against a Nebraska law barring “partial-birth” abortion because it lacked a health exception. The 2003 law that was struck down on Tuesday states that partial-birth abortion is “never necessary to preserve the health of a woman.”


A physician that “knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion” could also face civil and criminal charges under the law, including up to two years in prison.


“We are reluctant to invalidate an entire statute,” wrote 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt. “However, after considering all of the obstacles to our devising a narrower remedy, we conclude that such is our obligation.”


A ruling last month by the Supreme Court sent back a case to the lower courts involving abortion because the Court ruled that the entire law had unnecessarily been thrown out when only certain parts of it should have been invalidated.


The High Court told a lower court to determine if there could be a way to keep most of the law but change the parts which were unconstitutional.


In the 2nd Circuit Court case, which was brought forth by the National Abortion Federation, the Appeals Court gave both sides 30 days to recommend how to fix the parts considered unconstitutional.


The specific procedure that was prohibited in the law is called intact dilation and extraction, where the fetus is partially taken out of the womb and the skull is crushed or punctured. It is usually performed in the second trimester.


In his dissent, Judge Chester J. Straub brought up the issue of infanticide in relation to partial-birth abortion.


“Allowing a physician to destroy a child as long as one toe remains within the mother would place society on the path towards condoning infanticide,” he said.


When the Partial Birth Abortion Act was originally signed by President Bush in 2003, several pro-choice groups challenged the law in court.


A similar case decided by the 8th Circuit Court is on hold, with the Supreme Court still considering whether or not to hear arguments.




Partial Truth: The press and partial-birth abortion. (National Review Online, 060501)


“I remember sitting in my office,” Kate Michelman recalled years later, “and James saying to me: ‘Kate. This is a disaster.’” Michelman was the head of NARAL, the abortion lobby, and its vice president, James Wagoner had just brought her a copy of a congressional letter on partial-birth abortion. It was bad enough that the Republicans had just taken Congress a few months previously. Now NARAL and its allies had to deal with a new issue that was tailor-made for their opponents.


They quickly came up with a few defenses. Partial-birth abortions, they claimed, were done rarely and only for medical reasons. Planned Parenthood explained, “The procedure, dilation and extraction (D&X), is extremely rare and done only in cases when the woman’s life is in danger or in cases of extreme fetal abnormality.” There were only 500 to 600 such cases a year. Moreover, NARAL and Planned Parenthood claimed, the fetus felt no pain, since anaesthesia given to the mother had already killed it.


The press bought it. The Los Angeles Times reported that there were only 200 such abortions a year. “Typically, it is used in late pregnancies to save a mother’s life or after the detection of severe fetal abnormalities.” A New York Times story also echoed the abortion lobby’s talking points. USA Today, the New York Daily News, and syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman all repeated the claim that anaesthesia killed the fetus before the scissors made contact. None of these stories even acknowledged that pro-lifers disputed these claims.


All of them were false.


The claim about anaesthesia was debunked first. Martin Haskell, the abortionist who had first brought partial-birth abortion to public attention, had said in a 1993 interview that the fetus was not dead before the D&X began. Dr. Norig Ellison, the president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, testified before the House that the claim that anesthesia killed the fetus was “entirely inaccurate” and dangerous to spread, since it could cause mothers to turn down anaesthesia to protect their unborn children. At this point, anaesthesia dropped out of the debate.


In September 1996—after Congress had passed a bill banning partial-birth abortion and Bill Clinton had vetoed it—Ruth Padawer, a reporter for the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, disclosed that a local clinic performed 1,500 partial-birth abortions per year. That was more than the abortion lobby and much of the media had claimed took place nationwide. Within days, David Brown and Barbara Vobejda reported in the Washington Post that it was “possible—and maybe even likely—that the majority of these abortions are performed on normal fetuses.” Their finding tracked with Haskell’s remark that 80% of the partial-birth abortions he performed were “purely elective.”


Five months later, a bigger bombshell: Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, told American Medical News and the New York Times that he had “lied through [his] teeth” about partial-birth abortion. When Nightline interviewed him in November 1995, he had followed the party line: Partial-birth abortions were rare and performed only in extreme cases. In truth, he said, the vast majority were performed on healthy mothers with healthy babies. “The abortion rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably, does everyone else.” He estimated that 3,000 to 5,000 were performed each year.


The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, maintained that there were “about 650” partial-birth abortions in 1996, or at any rate that the number fell between 500 and 1,000. It stuck to that line for several years. Later, it issued a new figure: There had been 2,200 partial-birth abortions in 2000. Either the number had tripled in four years, or one or both estimates were flawed. Since clinics’ participation in the institute’s survey is voluntary, both numbers are probably underestimates.


Assume, however, that there are 2,200 partial-birth abortions annually. Is this a big number? Its defenders point out, accurately, that it is a small fraction of the total number of abortions each year in America. Yet it is also true, as pro-life lobbyist Douglas Johnson notes, that “[i]f a new virus [were] killing 2,200 premature babies annually in neonatal units, it would be on the TV evening news every week.”


Many reporters continued to spread myths about partial-birth abortion long after they had been debunked. In 2003, the Wall Street Journal reported that partial-birth abortion was “typically” performed “for medical reasons.” The same year, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Miami Herald made the same false claim.


Much of the press, led by the New York Times, avoided using the phrase “partial-birth abortion” (or placing it in distancing quotes) whenever possible. This impulse has led to some convoluted Times headlines: “House Acts to Ban Abortion Method, Making It a Crime”; “President Vetoes Measure Banning Type of Abortion”; “Bush Signs Ban on a Procedure for Abortion.” The kids at Hogwarts speak the name of Voldemort more freely than the Times editors use the phrase partial-birth abortion.


The press has not shown any general reluctance to adopt politically contested phrases. When Congress banned “assault weapons,” the NRA bitterly protested that the phrase had been made up and referred to no distinct class of firearms. Yet the press adopted it without resorting to locutions such as “a class of guns called ‘assault weapons’ by advocates of gun control” or “Congress Bans Type of Gun.”


When pro-life presidents cut off family-planning funding for groups that counsel women to have abortions, pro-choicers called the policy a “gag rule”—and the press did not handle the phrase with gloves and tongs. Headlines, including New York Times headlines, regularly used variants of the phrase. Linda Greenhouse casually referred to Rust v. Sullivan, which concerned the policy, as “the abortion gag-rule case.”


The conservative Media Research Center analyzed 217 stories about partial-birth abortion on ABC, CBS, and NBC that aired between 1995 and 2003. They found that only 18 of those stories explained what took place in a partial-birth abortion (and only three of them explained it between 1998 and 2003). They reported on congressional votes and Supreme Court decisions about partial-birth abortion, but refused to provide the facts that would make it clear what the fuss was about.


The partial-birth-abortion debate was, as Michelman predicted, a disaster for the abortion lobby. But the press did everything it could to contain the damage.


—Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at National Review and author of The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life.




Kan. Grand Jury to Probe Late-Abortion Death Case (Christian Post, 060505)


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Anti-abortion activists in Kansas have been able to get a grand jury to look at possible charges against one of the nation’s only doctors to perform late-term abortions.


A grand jury will be convened to hear about a mentally retarded woman who died after a late-term abortion under Doctor George Tiller’s care.


State investigators earlier found no reason to discipline the doctor in the 19-year-old’s death. But anti-abortion activists took advantage of a 1970 state law and petitioned for the grand jury inquiry. They contend the patient with Down syndrome didn’t have the mental capacity to consent to sex or to an abortion.


Tiller has been the target of abortion protests for years. His clinic was bombed in 1985 and he was shot by a protester in 1993.




‘Bioethicist’: OK to kill babies after they’re born: ‘Animal-rights’ promoter asserts actual birth makes no difference (WorldNetDaily, 060914)


An internationally known Princeton “bioethicist” and animal-rights activist says he’d kill disabled babies if it were in the “best interests” of the family, because he sees no distinction in the child’s life whether it is born or not, and the world already allows abortion.


The comments come from Peter Singer, a controversial bioethics professor, who responded to a series of questions in the UK Independent this week.


Earlier, WND reported Singer believes the next few decades will see a massive upheaval in the concept of life and rights, with only “a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists” still protecting life as sacrosanct.


To the rest, it will be a commodity to be re-evaluated regularly for its worth.


His newest sermon on his beliefs came in a question-and-answer interview the Independent set up with readers.


Singer’s response came to Dublin reader Karen Meade’s question: “Would you kill a disabled baby?”


“Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman’s right to have an abortion,” he said.


He added that one point on which he agrees with the pro-life movement is that, “from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby.”


The statement furthers the arguments that Singer’s position is just an extension of the culture of death that has developed in the world, with euthanasia legal in some locations, abortion legal in many and even charges that in some repressive societies there’s an active business in harvesting healthy organs from victims in order to provide transplants for the wealthy.


“At least he’s consistent,” Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told


Singer holds that man is no different from other forms a life, and therefore man’s life is not worth more than, for example, a cow.


He told readers he’d kill 10 cows before killing one human, but that’s not because they are of less value, only that humans would mourn.


“I’ve written that it is much worse to kill a being who is aware of having a past and a future, and who plans for the future. Normal humans have such plans, but I don’t think cows do,” he said. However, he did qualify his description with the word, “normal.”


“Once again Singer is making distinctions between human beings he would consider normal and those he would consider not normal, thus he is deciding who is a person and who is not,” Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews. “Non-persons are allowed to be killed,” under Singer’s theology, he said.


Singer also said the focus on infanticide was not his, but those who oppose him and the media. “It’s always been a minor aspect of my work,” he said.


Singer declined to answer whether he believes Steve Irwin, TV’s “Crocodile Hunter,” got “what he had coming,” saying he never watched the television show.


Irwin died recently while filming an undersea special when he approached a stingray and was fatally stung.


But he advocated for the closure of health research centers where animals are used and said it’s not at all unreasonable to ascribe human characteristics to animals.


“Anyone who ascribes rights to babies or humans with intellectual disabilities must be willing to attribute rights to beings who can’t understand the concept,” Singer said. “It’s the moral agents, the ones who are acting, who need to understand the concept. Those to whom we attribute rights, do not need to understand these concepts.”


The only moral absolute, he noted, “is that we should do what will have the best consequences for all those affected by our actions.”


In WND’s earlier report, Singer said that the court-ordered circumstances that killed Terri Schiavo, a disabled Florida woman, in 2005 may be the turning point at which holding the position of the sanctity of life became “untenable.” She died after a court ordered, upon her husband’s request, that water and food be withheld from her.


Singer’s support for legalized euthanasia and his endorsement of killing the disabled for up to 28 days after birth also sparked protests against his hiring in 1999 by Princeton, a university founded by the Presbyterian denomination.




The Supreme Court’s Back Alley: Scientific evidence does not show that D&X is a safe and necessary procedure. (National Review Online, 061106)


By Clarke D. Forsythe


One of the reasons why American medicine is the envy of the world is that it has increasingly emphasized “evidence-based medicine” over the last 50 years. This means that new medical techniques, drugs, or devices are not introduced into the marketplace for patients based on mere intuition or hunches, but rather once their safety and effectiveness has been proven by controlled, scientific studies.


The reason for the success of this approach is that well-designed, controlled studies are vastly superior to the fallible intuitions of doctors based on individual, clinical observations alone. Intuition is subject to several common errors, including bias and overconfidence, and scientific research is needed to check such errors. No matter how compelling they are, inferences can be mistaken. This has been repeatedly confirmed by scientific studies. Hence, under federal law, there must be “substantial evidence” of the safety and effectiveness of any new medical drug or device.


There are numerous examples in medical history where medical innovations — like the routine use of episiotomy during childbirth — were first introduced based on intuition and small studies and then — after prospective, controlled studies — were shown to increase rather than decrease the risk of maternal injury.


Evidence-based medicine has been increasingly adopted in all specialties and areas of medicine — except when it comes to partial-birth abortion (also called D&X). In the early 1990s, partial-birth abortion was an untried alternative to established procedures like medical induction of labor and dilation and evacuation (D&E). Partial-birth abortion was first used on patients based on intuition that it would work safely, but with insufficient evidence of its safety or effectiveness. No empirical studies existed in 1992. None existed in 2000, when the Supreme Court first approved partial-birth abortion. None exists today.


Empirical evidence is particularly important in abortion practice because most abortion clinics don’t do follow-up on abortion patients. Women who suffer short-term complications usually go to a hospital emergency department (ED); they don’t return to the clinic. And EDs typically don’t inquire or report about abortion complications. Consequently, many abortion providers are not aware of the short-term or long-term complications of abortions.


The Supreme Court directly created this dysfunctional abortion system over the past 33 years by eliminating the abortion laws of all 50states, requiring no regulation, and then repeatedly obstructing states’ attempts to regulate abortion.


In 2000, the Supreme Court gave its stamp of approval to partial-birth abortion in the Stenberg case. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court dismissed the need for any empirical evidence showing the value of the procedure, deferred to the intuition of a handful of abortion providers who performed the procedure, and threw out state prohibitions on partial-birth abortion enacted by overwhelming margins in Nebraska and 29 other states.


On November 8, the Supreme Court will revisit the issue, when it hears arguments over the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. These new cases are very different from Stenberg, because they include extensive trial records based on weeks of medical testimony.


This evidence that was presented to the trial courts on the safety and effectiveness of partial-birth abortion was little more than intuition. Consider the objective standards of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF evaluates the quality of empirical evidence that is needed before a new medical technique or device can go to market. The USPSTF 2005 Guide to Clinical Preventive Services grades the quality of the overall evidence for a service on a 3-point scale (good, fair, poor). “Poor” evidence is “insufficient to assess the effects on health outcomes because of limited number or power of studies, important flaws in their design or conduct, gaps in the chain of evidence, or lack of information on important health outcomes.”


While the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) says that they adhere to USPSTF standards, they have ignored the standards when it comes to partial-birth abortion. The evidence in the cases before the Supreme Court never rose above the “poor” grade.


Realizing the lack of empirical data supporting the safety and effectiveness of partial-birth abortion, the supporters of D&X rushed a study to publication during the court trials. That study was found on several grounds to fall far short of providing reliable evidence for the superiority of the partial birth abortion procedure. The main author admitted that he could not state that D&X was superior to other techniques and that D&X did not avoid the complications to women that often are concurrent when such a procedure is desired. The study found no difference between partial-birth abortion and D&E in procedure time or blood loss.


If evidence-based medicine is thrown out in the case of partial-birth abortion and intuition is to become the standard, intuition shows multiple potential risks from D&X. These include heightened risk of placenta previa in future pregnancies, heightened risk of pre-term birth (PTB or prematurity) in future pregnancies, heightened risk of maternal laceration from crushing the fetal skull or puncturing the fetal neck, increased risk of infection from extended dilation of the cervix, and heightened risk of uterine trauma from internal rotation of the fetus during D&X, which carries risks of uterine rupture, abruption, and trauma to the uterus.


In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down the partial-birth-abortion prohibitions passed by overwhelming majorities in 30 states on the rationale that “division of medical opinion…signals the presence of risk, not its absence.” But risk of what?  The records in the new cases show that a division of medical opinion based on intuition, in the absence of empirical evidence, signals uncertainty as to whether D&X involves a greater or lesser risk for women than well-established procedures.


In 1973, the Court struck down the abortion laws of all 50 states, put the burden on the states to regulate the procedure, and then erected barriers to such regulations. The Court’s casual deference to the subjective intuition of abortion providers allows abortion providers to thumb their nose at evidence-based medicine, as they have done since 1973.


Much emphasis has been placed on how partial-birth abortion is really infanticide, and rightly so, but too little attention has been given to how the procedure carries serious potential risks for women. The lack of empirical data to support the safety or effectiveness of the D&X procedure after 15 years justifies the Supreme Court in upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and in overturning its 2000 decision in Stenberg, so that the people in the states, through their elected representatives, can re-enact the 30 state prohibitions enacted between 1995-2000.


— Clarke D. Forsythe is the attorney and director of the Project in Law & Bioethics of the Americans United for Life in Chicago.




Against Partial-Birth Abortion (National Review Online, 061107)


By The Editors


Let us pretend for a moment something that we do not believe: that Roe v. Wade, as modified by subsequent decisions, is now too old to be overruled, and that the Supreme Court should continue to protect abortion from legislative prohibition at any stage of pregnancy. Even on those assumptions, the Court should allow partial-birth abortion to be prohibited. Nothing in Roe commits the Court to keeping legislatures from prohibiting the killing of a partially born infant. The Court mistakenly ruled, in a 5–4 vote in 2000, that legislatures do not have this power. It should reverse itself.


Partial-birth abortion involves the partial delivery of a child, the puncturing of its skull, the removal of its “intracranial contents,” and then the delivery of a dead baby or extraction of its parts. Even many people who favor the abortion license in general think that this procedure should be banned. The case for protecting it from restriction comes in gross and sophisticated forms. Defenders of partial-birth abortion have typically resorted to misinformation: underestimating the frequency of the procedure, falsely claiming that anesthesia kills the fetus while still in the womb, and suggesting that it is done out of medical necessity.


Whether the procedure is “rare” is to some extent a subjective judgment. At least 2,000 partial-birth abortions are committed every year. As Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee has pointed out, the network news would be running stories about an epidemic if something killed prematurely born infants in neonatal wards so regularly.


Nobody has ever shown an instance in which a partial-birth abortion was necessary to save the life or health of a woman. The most defenders can show is that there may be instances in which individual abortionists may decide that it is the safest method of abortion.


The sophisticated case is the one made by Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and in lower courts by, among others, Judge Richard Posner. The argument is that nothing morally distinguishes partial-birth abortions from other methods of abortion in the second and third trimester. What difference could it make to a fetus, these jurists ask, whether its feet are in or out of the womb when it is killed? The bans are irrational.


This argument has some force, but even more chutzpah. The Supreme Court, with the eager assent of all of these jurists, has declared that the child within the womb can have no protection. The mother has a right to kill it at any time it is within her. The ban on partial-birth abortion is an attempt to mark an outer boundary to this right.


If that boundary is to fall, one could, with equal force, ask what difference it makes to a child whether it is killed within the womb or entirely outside it. One could, that is, use the Court-enforced legality of late-term abortion to construct a right to infanticide. Surely some abortionist somewhere could be found who would conclude that it is safer for the mother to remove the child entirely from her womb before dealing the fatal blow.


The Court may now have a majority willing to allow a ban, the Senate having wisely confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Whether the Court will have more such justices, or more Ginsburgs and Stevenses, will depend on today’s votes.


The Court takes up the issue this week. An argument can be made that it should junk Roe and its progeny altogether, and get out of the business of micromanaging abortion policy. But it is not necessary for it to do so to reach the right result in the case.




You Don’t Need a Weatherman: To know which way the Greenhouse gases blow. (National Review Online, 061108)


By Douglas Johnson


Last June, Linda Greenhouse, who has covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times for most of the last 28 years, took time out to receive an honor at Harvard. According to a later report about her speech on National Public Radio, Greenhouse lamented, among other discouraging developments, what she called a “sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism.” She added, “To say that these last few years have been dispiriting is an understatement.”


Trooper that she is, however, Greenhouse is back on the front lines at the Supreme Court this week with a commentary in the Times’s Sunday, November 5, “Week in Review” section about the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, on which the Court will hear oral arguments on today.


There are several points in Greenhouse’s essay that are worthy of careful analysis, but here I will focus on just one: Her attempt to discredit the idea that human babies are really being mostly delivered alive before they are killed. It seems that Greenhouse recognizes that this notion bothers a lot of people — including even many people who, for some reason, are not so troubled by other types of abortions.


Greenhouse quotes, from a legal brief, a characterization of the partial-birth-abortion method as “killing a child in the birth process.” She then comments, “While this description is true in the sense that uninterrupted gestation leads to birth — ‘He not busy being born is busy dying,’ in the words of the Bob Dylan song — it is well off the mark as a description of what actually occurs.”


But off the mark in what way? Greenhouse offers only one statement in support of her “off the mark” declaration — a quote from abortionist Warren M. Hern, who explains that he (among others) kills a fetus by injecting a lethal drug into the womb and then removing the cadaver a day or two later. “The cognitive construct of the law has nothing to do with current medical practice,” Hern said.


All that demonstrates, however, is that Hern is not performing partial-birth abortions. That is not terribly surprising, since Hern once told American Medical News that he did not employ the method because of safety concerns: “I have very serious reservations about this procedure. . . You really can’t defend it. I’m not going to tell somebody else that they should not do this procedure. But I’m not going to do it.”


The method Hern says he uses is not covered by the law, because his killing takes place entirely inside the uterus — a free-fire zone under Roe v. Wade. In contrast, by explicit definition in the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, a “partial-birth abortion” is an abortion in which the abortionist “delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus [emphasis added].


Greenhouse apparently wants her readers to believe that nobody is actually “killing a child in the birth process.” Such exercises in studied denial are nothing new. When the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was first introduced in 1995, groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood propagated a myth that anesthesia given to the mother caused the fetus to expire peacefully before the rest of the process commenced. But this fabrication soon was exploded by the leading professional societies of anesthesiologists, who said that the fetus is not much affected by anesthesia given to the mother.


In reality, it has been established beyond reasonable dispute that many abortion practitioners do, in fact, mostly deliver living babies before killing them by puncturing the base of their skulls with sharp instruments, such as the seven-inch Metzenbaum surgical scissors or the trochar (a pointed, hollow metal tube). The practitioners who prefer this method usually employ it in the fifth and sixth months, and sometimes later.


Martin Haskell, the abortionist who initially engendered controversy over the method when he promoted it in an explicit 1992 instructional paper, was asked by American Medical News whether the fetus is dead before the delivery. “No, it’s not. No, it’s really not,” he replied, estimating that about “two thirds” were alive at the time of their “extraction.” (He added that “80% are purely elective.”)


Other abortionists made similar admissions during the trials in the three separate legal challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act — some of which were quoted by Cathy Cleaver Ruse in her powerful article “Partial-Birth Abortion on Trial.” For example, in the trial before U.S. District Judge Richard Casey in New York, Dr. Carolyn Westoff testified that there is “usually a heartbeat” when she begins delivery in a partial-birth abortion, and that the fetus is living until she collapses the skull.


Another abortionist, Timothy Johnson, told the judge that when the “fetus” has been extracted, “Feet could be moving, yes.”


After hearing extensive testimony from both sides, Judge Casey said in his opinion: “The Court finds that the testimony at trial and before Congress establishes that D&X [partial-birth abortion] is a gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized medical procedure . . . [and finds] credible evidence that D&X abortions subject fetuses to severe pain.”


Obviously, the babies would not experience pain if they were already dead.


But still — is it really a partial birth?


Legally, under the laws of virtually every state and under federal law, once a human is all the way outside the mother and draws breath, or shows other signs of life such as heartbeat or movement of voluntary muscles, a live birth has occurred, and all the protections of law attach — whether or not the baby is “viable” (capable of long-term survival).


In February 1997, Ron Fitzsimmons, the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, told Greenhouse’s newspaper that “in the vast majority of cases” the method is used on “a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along” (New York Times, Feb. 26, 1997). Twenty weeks is halfway through a full-term pregnancy — the middle of the fifth month.


Even early in the fifth month, babies are often born alive when expelled spontaneously by premature labor. By 20 weeks — 4-1/2 months — a prematurely delivered baby may breathe for an hour or so before dying. By 23 weeks (just into the sixth month), roughly one-third of preemies survive long-term. By 24 weeks (about halfway through the sixth month), more than half are long-term survivors.


To put it another way: At the stages of development that most partial-birth abortions are performed, the great majority of babies would be legal “live births” if they were expelled by spontaneous premature labor, and many would be long-term survivors.


So, in a partial-birth abortion, a premature human is deliberately pulled to within just a few inches of being, medically and legally, a live-born person even under the law of Roe v. Wade. Thus, this abortion method does indeed amount to a partial live birth — or “partial birth.”


So, it is Greenhouse who is “well off the mark as to what actually occurs” — and President Bush who spoke the painful, literal truth on the day he signed the law in 2003, when he called partial-birth abortion “a terrible form of violence . . . directed against children who are inches from birth . . .”


The Dylan song that Greenhouse quoted is aptly titled “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).” On November 8, lawyers for Greenhouse’s side will try to persuade at least five Supreme Court justices that partial-birth abortion, too, is “alright,” just another straightforward application of the constitutional doctrine constructed in Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, no big deal. They will try to persuade the justices that the elected representatives of the people must not be allowed to interfere with the practice of borderline infanticide.


If, God forbid, they succeed, many will see it as yet another declaration by the nation’s highest tribunal (if I may borrow further from the same song):


That not much

Is really sacred.




The Rise of Infanticide? (Mohler, 070328)


A spate of murdered babies has shocked Germany in recent weeks. The Times [London] reports that at least 23 babies have been killed this year, “many of them beaten to death or strangled by their mothers before being dumped on wasteland and in dustbins.” German officials believe the total number of babies killed this year to be even higher than what has been reported.




Police investigating the murders are at a loss to explain the sudden surge in such cases, which have involved mothers of all ages all over the country.


Now city councils have launched an advertising campaign to highlight the problem and to promote greater use of the Baby-Klappe hatches that allow women to drop off their babies to be found and cared for without having to give their names. Posters were being put up in cities and towns across Germany yesterday, urging women to make use of the Baby-Klappe, with the slogan “Before babies land in the rubbish bin . . .”


The campaign has already attracted criticism from senior clergymen and from charities, including Caritas, who argue that it could actively encourage mothers to dump their children. But there is agreement that something must be done to address what appears to be an infanticide epidemic.


One criminologist suggested that these mothers are murdering their babies because they seek to save a relationship with the father. Whatever the motivation, these women are committing the homicide of their own infants. The German government’s idea of “drop-off points” is an effort to save at last some babies in the future. According to press reports, there are now more than 90 drop-off points in Germany. Six babies have been pushed through a slot in just one Berlin center since 2003.


The rise of infanticide is shocking, but hardly surprising. After all, in many societies these babies could be safely aborted almost up to the time of their delivery. The logic of infanticide is just the logic of abortion pushed beyond the moment of birth.


The fact that Germans have responded with outrage over this spate of infanticides is comforting in one sense, but it also reveals the hypocrisy of the age. How can infanticide be wrong and abortion be a basic right? Both mean the killing of a baby, and both represent the Culture of Death at its most deadly.


Meanwhile, British authorities are considering a proposal to allow nurses to carry out abortions without a physician present.  As The Telegraph [London] reports:


Dr Kate Guthrie, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “This is logical. As long as standards of care are high and as long as there is adequate training, competent clinical staff should carry out early surgical abortions and it does not matter if it is a doctor or a nurse.”


But Anthony Ozimic, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “Do nurses really want to perform abortions, the killing of innocent human beings?


“The pro-abortion lobby claims that so-called safe, legal abortion was necessary to safeguard women’s health yet, having achieved legal abortion, it now wants to remove safeguards by getting nurses to do doctors’ dirty work for them.”


The effect of this proposal would be to make abortion even more readily available — radically enlarging the number of persons deemed qualified to perform the procedure.


The Culture of Death advances with developments like these.  The twenty-first century is looking scarier all the time.




Supreme Court Upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (Foxnews, 070418)


WASHINGTON —  The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.


The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.


The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.


The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.


Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.


It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how — not whether — to perform an abortion.


Abortion rights groups have said the procedure sometimes is the safest for a woman. They also said that such a ruling could threaten most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, although government lawyers and others who favor the ban said there are alternate, more widely used procedures that remain legal.


The outcome is likely to spur efforts at the state level to place more restrictions on abortions.


More than 1 million abortions are performed in the United States each year, according to recent statistics. Nearly 90% of those occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and are not affected by Tuesday’s ruling.


Six federal courts have said the law that was in focus Wednesday is an impermissible restriction on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.


The law bans a method of ending a pregnancy, rather than limiting when an abortion can be performed.




High Court Backs Ban on Partial Birth Abortion (Christian Post, 070418)


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.


The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.


The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.


The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.


Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.


It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how — not whether — to perform an abortion.


Abortion rights groups have said the procedure sometimes is the safest for a woman. They also said that such a ruling could threaten most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, although government lawyers and others who favor the ban said there are alternate, more widely used procedures that remain legal.


The outcome is likely to spur efforts at the state level to place more restrictions on abortions.


More than 1 million abortions are performed in the United States each year, according to recent statistics. Nearly 90% of those occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and are not affected by Wednesday’s ruling.


Six federal courts have said the law that was in focus Wednesday is an impermissible restriction on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.


The law bans a method of ending a pregnancy, rather than limiting when an abortion can be performed.


“Today’s decision is alarming,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent. She said the ruling “refuses to take ... seriously” previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion.


Ginsburg said the latest decision “tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”


She was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.


The procedure at issue involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman’s uterus, then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.


Abortion opponents say the law will not reduce the number of abortions performed because an alternate method — dismembering the fetus in the uterus — is available and, indeed, much more common.


In 2000, the court with key differences in its membership struck down a state ban on partial-birth abortions. Writing for a 5-4 majority at that time, Justice Breyer said the law imposed an undue burden on a woman’s right to make an abortion decision.


The Republican-controlled Congress responded in 2003 by passing a federal law that asserted the procedure is gruesome, inhumane and never medically necessary to preserve a woman’s health. That statement was designed to overcome the health exception to restrictions that the court has demanded in abortion cases.


But federal judges in California, Nebraska and New York said the law was unconstitutional, and three appellate courts agreed. The Supreme Court accepted appeals from California and Nebraska, setting up Wednesday’s ruling.


Kennedy’s dissent in 2000 was so strong that few court watchers expected him to take a different view of the current case.




Partial-birth abortion ban upheld (Washington Times, 070419)


The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a federal law prohibiting partial-birth abortion, marking the first time a specific abortion procedure has been successfully outlawed.


The 5-4 ruling, which reversed the justices’ decision in a Nebraska case seven years ago, is the first major shift since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired from the court and was replaced by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.


Yesterday he provided the key fifth vote, joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion ruling that the government can ban a particular medical procedure if there are other options available and if the state has a reason to be concerned.


“When standard medical options are available, mere convenience does not suffice to displace them; and if some procedures have different risks than others, it does not follow that the state is altogether barred from imposing reasonable regulations,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “The act is not invalid on its face where there is uncertainty over whether the barred procedure is ever necessary to preserve a woman’s health, given the availability of other abortion procedures that are considered to be safe alternatives.”


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the minority, said the ruling was “an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court.” She was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer.


“Today’s decision is alarming,” Justice Ginsburg wrote. “It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”


Yesterday’s ruling overturned a federal appeals court decision that had struck down the law, passed by Congress in 2003 and signed by President Bush.


Since the Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, it has become a defining issue in presidential elections. Rep. Steve Chabot, the Ohio Republican who sponsored the federal law, said yesterday’s decision was the result of Mr. Bush’s 2004 election victory and his ability to nominate two justices to the court.


“Elections matter, and had John Kerry been elected president a couple of years ago I think it’s clear that his judges would have been much more liberal than the two that the president appointed to the court,” Mr. Chabot said. “I think those who are pro-life and tend to be more conservative about values should be pleased that their hard work made a difference. Had the left won a couple of years ago, I think you would have seen a different decision here.”


In 2000, the court ruled 5-4 to strike down a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion, with Justice O’Connor joining the four justices who dissented in yesterday’s ruling. Justice O’Connor announced her retirement in 2005 and was replaced by Justice Alito.


In his opinion, Justice Kennedy said the federal law defined the exact procedure being banned more clearly than the Nebraska law, which allowed it to meet the court’s scrutiny. His opinion included a graphic description from a doctor and a nurse of the procedure, which involves a doctor delivering all but the head of a fetus, forcing scissors into the base of the fetus’s skull and making a hole, suctioning out the contents, then fully delivering the fetus.


Justice Kennedy said doctors will often not tell a woman the details of that procedure, but said it is “precisely this lack of information concerning the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the state.”


Both sides of the debate predicted that the ruling will lead to more state legislatures moving ahead on restrictions, such as parental-notification laws.


“It took just a year for this new court to overturn three decades of established law. Today’s ruling is a stunning assault on women’s health and the expertise of doctors who care for them,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenged the ban successfully in federal district court. “The court has dramatically reduced the ability of doctors to provide services that, in their opinion, are the safest, best options to protect women’s health.”


Dr. LeRoy H. Carhart, the lead plaintiff in both the Nebraska law challenge and in yesterday’s case (Gonzales v. Carhart), said, “What a difference seven years, a new president, and two new justices, can make.


“Many of the women in my practice have grown up in the post-Roe era; they believed they had a constitutionally protected right to abortion. But with this ruling, I’m afraid that era is over,” he said.


James Bopp Jr., a prominent pro-life lawyer, said the decision rejects the pro-choice side’s argument that restrictions on abortion could be invalidated because of hypothetical situations, a finding that could carry over to other abortion cases.


“I think the court put an end to that here,” Mr. Bopp said, adding the ruling puts a new burden on pro-choice plaintiffs. “They’re going to have to show a significant number of circumstances, and that’s going to be difficult.”


Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Scalia, in which the two repeat their position that they find “no basis in the Constitution” for the underlying right to an abortion established by Roe v. Wade. While the other three justices in the majority yesterday did not join that opinion, Mr. Bopp said not to read any deeper meaning into that.


“This doesn’t tell us what Roberts or Alito think,” he said.


Still, some pro-life activists saw reasons for hope.


“It signals a new sensitivity on the part of the court to the plight of the unborn child in a late-term abortion,” said Joseph M. Scheidler, National Director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. “The whole pro-life movement has been energized by this 5-4 victory. We may now have our Supreme Court majority.”




A limited and humane decision (Washington Times, 070419)




Simply describing partial-birth abortion is enough to revolt a majority of Americans, who have asked time and again for the barbaric, infanticidal practice to end. Yesterday, the Supreme Court acknowledged them.


The limited and careful 5-4 ruling upholds the broadly bipartisan Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which outlaws intentional partial-birth abortion with exceptions for endangerment to a mother’s life. The victory for commonsense morality and for constitutional jurisprudence is proof that under the Roberts court, careful abortion restrictions can begin to shift the law from the abortion-on-demand regime enacted in 1973 to one that better reflects public opinion and morals.


Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy rejected contentions that the act was unduly vague or burdensome. It targets the “intact dilation and extraction” procedure opposed by lawmakers as far left as Sen. Patrick Leahy and as clearly conservative as former Sen. Rick Santorum. It applies only in cases where the intent to deliver and kill is clear, and it does not prohibit other types of dilation and extraction. It provides doctors of “ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited” — as is the standard of the statute in question. In short, the law is limited, specific and humane. More than anything, the opposition reflects the effort of the abortion-rights lobby to stifle even the most reasonable curbs on the excesses of the Roe v. Wade era.


Accordingly, this 5-4 decision split the court ideologically, with Chief Justice John Roberts plus conservative Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito siding with Justice Kennedy, while the court’s liberal wing of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens dissented. Justice Ginsburg’s dissent is caustic. The court “tolerates, even applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,” she laments.


How ironic to hear a defender of the post-Roe federally imposed abortion regime decry Congress’ partial-birth abortion ban. It was the abortion-rights left that federalized this issue in the first place by pressing its agenda in the courts. Now it protests when Congress bans a small number of abortions in the wake of numerous blocked state-level attempts? Sorry. Thirty states have tried to ban partial-birth abortion; courts have blocked the great majority of them. In the broader public, majorities consistently oppose the practice in polls. Far from imposing itself, in this case Congress enacts the will of the people previously frustrated by the courts and activist groups.


In conclusion, we’d like to highlight Justice Thomas’ one-paragraph concurring opinion, which we hope eventually will be the final word on the subject. “I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court’s abortion jurisprudence... has no basis in the Constitution.” Justice Scalia concurred.




Christians Applaud High Court’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ruling (Christian Post, 070419)


Christians have overwhelmingly been voicing their satisfaction with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court which upheld a 2003 law banning the controversial partial-birth abortion.


The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was reinforced by a 5-4 vote on Wednesday, with judges explaining that its restriction does not violate a woman’s right to abortion.


“I am pleased that the Supreme Court upheld a law that prohibits the abhorrent procedure of partial-birth abortion,” said President George W. Bush following the ruling. “Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America. The partial-birth abortion ban, which an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress passed and I signed into law, represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America.”


The ruling has also encouraged Christians who feel that it may lead to states placing more restrictions on abortions. They feel that it is the first critical step toward possible abolishment of the practice.


“With today’s Supreme Court decision, it is just a matter of time before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 will also be struck down by the court,” explained Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America (CCA), in a statement. “This is a very historic decision and Christian Coalition of America commends Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito (the five judges who voted to uphold the ban).”


Several abortion rights groups had expressed their opposition to banning the procedure, because they have asserted that it can sometimes be the safest alternative for women. They also argued that it could threaten most abortions after 12 weeks in pregnancy.


However, those in favor of the ban pointed to its brutality.


The procedure involves partially removing the fetus intact from the patient’s uterus. This is then followed by crushing or cutting the skull of the fetus, where then the doctor suctions out the baby’s brain.


The court wrote the following in response to their ruling: “In a decision so fraught with emotional consequence, some doctors may prefer not to disclose precise details of the means that will be used…It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child…”


Several Christians have applauded the way in which the Supreme Court handled the issue, noting that the issue of abortion is complex, and there should not be a universal ruling allowing all types of abortion to occur.


“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court upholds and acknowledges that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is a reasonable restriction on abortion,” said Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). “This is a welcome sign of judicial restraint from the Supreme Court. It allows legislators to deal with the complexities of the abortion situation rather than having courts impose rigid rules that block sensitive and moral-based solutions to the abortion controversy.”


Anti-abortionists have said that the case will not reduce the actual number of abortions, however, since an alternative procedure – where the fetus is dismembered in the uterus – will still be available and is more common among women.


Also according to recent statistics, about 90% of abortions in the United States – which number over one million – occur in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, thus unaffected by the ruling.


According to the Christian Coalition, 80% of Americans had supported banning partial-birth abortion.


“We are grateful to all who worked so hard to pass this law and to educate the public about this unspeakably violent procedure,” concluded a statement from Priests for Life.




A Sane Decision: The restoration in Gonzales v. Carhart. (National Review Online, 070420)


By Walter M. Weber


The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart did much more than simply uphold the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The ruling struck a solid blow for sanity in an area — abortion jurisprudence — too often marked by pro-abortion madness.


With Supreme Court cases, the rationale is often as important as the result — maybe more so. And in Gonzales v. Carhart, how the Court reached its decision was of profound importance. Here’s an effort to translate some of the crucial points from the legalese.


“Facial” vs. “As Applied” Challenges

For years, whenever a state has passed a law restricting abortion, groups like Planned Parenthood have rushed into court to bring a constitutional challenge. The abortion attorneys then present the judge with hypothetical worst-case scenarios in which some women in some circumstances might suffer adverse consequences from the challenged law, and the judge obligingly strikes the whole law down — in legal terms, “on its face.” The law is thereby rendered inoperative in its entirety, even though the challenge rested upon particular hypothetical cases.


No more.


In Gonzales v. Carhart, the Court said such “facial” challenges “should not [be] entertained in the first instance.” Rather, an “as-applied challenge” is the “proper means” to address concerns about particular circumstances that may threaten harm to some women. In other words, if abortion doctors are worried about the law’s application to specific situations, then they should sue for court-ordered relief as applied to such circumstances. The law should not be knocked down as a whole.


This is bad news for the abortion industry. No longer can they leverage extreme or hard cases into across-the-board legal victories. At most, they can win court decisions that govern the exceptional cases. Meanwhile, the law — a waiting period or a parental-notice requirement, for example — will remain in effect in all other situations.


Standard of Review

To frame the question is often to decide the debate. In constitutional law, the question is framed with the choice of the “standard of review.” How strong a justification must a state offer for its law, and how closely tailored must the law be to that justification? Will a restriction be subjected to the most intense review — “strict scrutiny,” in legal shorthand — or the most mild, deferential review — “rational scrutiny” — or something in between? Which standard governs the case can largely predetermine the outcome, as laws rarely survive strict scrutiny, but generally do pass rational review.


In Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court spoke the language of “rational scrutiny,” the mild standard that gives legislatures considerable leeway. “Where [government] has a rational basis to act, and it does not impose an undue burden, the state may use its regulatory power . . . in furtherance of the legitimate interest in regulating the medical profession in order to promote respect for human life, including life of the unborn.”


To be sure, this is not a carte blanche for all abortion restrictions. Laws that impose a “substantial obstacle” to abortion, the Court noted, would be unconstitutional under the Court’s current precedents. But the “rational basis” test gives states the benefit of the doubt and is far more regulation-friendly than the kind of microscopic nitpicking that characterizes “strict scrutiny.” That means states can adopt a host of commonsense regulations on abortion.


Medical Uncertainty

For far too long abortionists have been treated as exempt from the rules that apply to other physicians. Not only do they literally “get away with murder,” they also frequently get away with malpractice. Courts, meanwhile, have tended to bow to whatever “Doctor” says: if the doctor supports or practices abortion, that doctor’s testimony about what is or is not a valid safety concern has been treated as virtually infallible. Indeed, after the Supreme Court’s prior partial-birth abortion case of Stenberg v. Carhart, things got so bad that courts were overturning laws just because some pro-abortion doctors questioned the medical merits of the laws. As the court put it in Gonzales v. Carhart, “Stenberg has been interpreted to leave no margin of error for legislatures to act in the face of medical uncertainty.”


The Supreme Court repudiated this approach in Gonzales v. Carhart: “A zero tolerance policy would strike down legitimate abortion regulations, like the present one, if some part of the medical community were disinclined to follow the proscription. This is too exacting a standard . . . .” In particular, abortionists are not a law unto themselves. “The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice, nor should it elevate their status above other physicians in the medical community.” In other words, from now on abortionists must play by the same rules as other physicians.


The “abortion distortion factor” has warped the law in this area ever since Roe v. Wade first invented a constitutional right to abortion. The decision in Gonzales v. Carhart has taken important strides in the direction of greater sanity and common sense in abortion law.


— Walter Weber is senior litigation counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).




Partial-birth hypocrisy (Washington Times, 070420)


To say the least, the subject of partial-birth abortion does not inspire the courage of conviction in Democrats. As readers listen to the strident condemnations of this week’s Supreme Court ruling from the likes of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, keep in mind that these pro-choice lawmakers could begin trying to repeal the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 tomorrow if they were serious. They control Congress, and the Supreme Court has just deferred to Congress on the issue. But solid majorities of Americans rightly regard partial-birth abortion as barbaric. So, these Democrats, wedged between public revulsion and the hard-left abortion lobby, instead point fingers at the Supreme Court.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the most egregious offender. Along with 15 other Senate Democrats, he actually voted for the bipartisan ban, which passed by a 64-34 margin. But he now presumes to disapprove of this week’s ruling. “I would only say that this is the only decision a lot of us wish that [Justice Samuel] Alito weren’t there and O’Connor were there,” he said. Let us hope Mr. Reid is simply making this up to please EMILY’s List or some other abortion-rights group. Otherwise, it would mean that three-and-a-half years ago, he voted for a law whose constitutionality he doubted. Or, maybe the “wish” is simply that Justice Alito hadn’t put him in such an awkward position. Either way, “Profiles in Courage” this is not.


Sen. Joseph Biden, Delaware Democrat, is not so hypocritical on the subject. Instead, he’s simply hiding. He voted for the ban, too, but is now ducking the phone calls of reporters seeking comment. He looks highly conspicuous. On the other hand, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, also voted for the ban, but with a 100-percent pro-choice 2006 rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, he can be all things to all people this week or simply remain quiet. (He’s chosen the latter.) Don’t forget former Sen. John Edwards, who was one of two absent for the 2003 vote (the other was Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican).


Finally, we return to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, who deserve some credit for being sufficiently hard-left on partial-birth abortion. Their only additional discredit is their wish that the courts hadn’t returned this issue to the Senate’s doorstep (although Mr. Obama had not yet joined the Senate in 2003).


Republicans are subject to their own political calculations on this issue, but for the most part, hypocrisy is not much involved. Nearly the entire party opposes the gruesomeness of partial-birth abortion, as does the public, and it has acted accordingly. The notable, welcome hypocrite is presidential aspirant and one-time stridently pro-choice Rudy Giuliani, who has been tacking to the right on abortion for months now. He did not disappoint this week when he said that the court “reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial-birth abortion.” If not pretty, it is nevertheless a welcome transformation.




The Face-Off Over Partial-Birth Abortion: Judicial restraint and “facial” challenges. (National Review Online, 070423)


By Edward Whelan


In last week’s Supreme Court ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, the five justices in the majority who upheld the constitutionality of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 displayed judicial restraint by properly deferring to the democratic processes. The four justices in dissent, by contrast, would have invalidated the entire act based on their judgment that it might in some circumstances unconstitutionally imperil the health of a woman seeking an abortion.


Underlying the divide between Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion and Justice Ginsburg’s dissent are two very different approaches to assessing so-called “facial” challenges to abortion regulations. The difference between these approaches reveals the enormous gap between the majority’s sound exercise of judicial restraint and the dissent’s aggressive judicial activism.


Let’s begin by explaining the legal jargon of facial vs. as-applied challenges. A facial challenge to a law (or to a set of legal provisions) aims to strike down the entire law, while an as-applied challenge seeks merely to prevent the application of the law in particular, defined circumstances. As the Supreme Court summarized its settled practice in United States v. Salerno (1987), to prevail on a facial challenge, “the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the [law] would be valid.” The only recognized exception to this Salerno rule is in the “limited context” of First Amendment speech protections. In that context, a facial challenge to a law will prevail if the challenger shows that the restriction bans or chills a substantial amount of protected speech.


An illustration might be helpful. Assume that a federal law bars private ownership of all firearms and that someone who wants to buy machine guns argues that the federal law (and not just the application of the law to ownership of machine guns) is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Under the Salerno rule, the facial challenge would fail unless the Second Amendment is determined to protect ownership of all firearms.


The Salerno rule for facial challenges promotes judicial restraint by requiring that judges defer to legislative enactments that have permissible applications. At the same time, persons alleging that laws have been (or threaten to be) unconstitutionally applied against them are free to pursue as-applied challenges tailored to their circumstances.


It is beyond dispute that the federal partial-birth ban has plenty of constitutionally permissible applications. Even the objections that Justice Ginsburg raises in her dissent, for example, do not reach the countless instances in which the law prevents the partial-birth method from being used for post-viability abortions where there is not even a claim that it serves the mother’s health interests. In short, under the Salerno standard, Gonzales v. Carhart is a slam-dunk winner for the majority’s position.


Why isn’t this the end of the story? Well, although the First Amendment speech context is the only recognized exception to the Salerno rule, the Court on an ad hoc basis has (in Justice Scalia’s apt summary), “without any attempt at explanation, created entirely irrational exceptions to the [Salerno] rule, when the statutes at issue concerned hot-button social issues on which ‘informed opinion’ was zealously united.”


One such instance occurred in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. The one provision that a majority of the Court invalidated in that case required that a married woman, before having an abortion, give the abortion provider a signed statement that she has notified her spouse of her impending abortion. (The requirement did not apply in cases of medical emergency or in cases in which the woman stated that her husband was not the father of her child, that he could not be located, that the pregnancy resulted from spousal sexual assault that she had reported, or that she believed that notification would cause her husband or someone else to physically injure her.) Without any mention of the Salerno rule, the five-member majority asserted that the provision unconstitutionally applied to “a large fraction of the cases in which [it] is relevant,” and it defined the class of “relevant” cases as “married women seeking abortions who do not wish to notify their husbands of their intentions and who do not qualify for one of the statutory exceptions to the notice requirement.” Of course, even as to this artificially narrowed class, the majority’s ability to hypothesize only a “large fraction” of cases demonstrated that the challengers had failed to establish — as the Salerno rule required — that no permissible applications of the provision existed.


A second instance occurred seven years ago in Stenberg v. Carhart, the case in which a five-justice majority invalidated Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion. With no analysis or explanation, the Stenberg majority applied the polar opposite of the Salerno rule: the hypothetical possibility that Nebraska’s ban might have any impermissible applications led the Court to invalidate it in toto. As Justice Thomas pointed out in dissent, not even the loose standard applied to the spousal-notice provision in Casey could justify facial invalidation of the Nebraska law, since it was “[i]ndisputabl[e]” that the absence of a health exception to the ban on partial-birth abortion would not affect a “large fraction” of the women who wished to obtain a safe late-term abortion.


Fast-forward to last week’s ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion properly concluded that the facial challenge to the partial-birth ban failed both the Salerno rule and the ad hoc “large fraction” approach taken in Casey. It was therefore unnecessary, he concluded, to determine which test applied.


Justice Ginsburg, in her dissent, purported to apply the “large fraction” approach of Casey. But she radically redefined — and shrank — the denominator of the fraction. As she put it, “the absence of a health exception burdens all women for whom it is relevant — women who, in the judgment of their doctors, require an intact D&E because other procedures would place their health at risk.” (Emphasis in original). Thus, she asserted, there is “no fraction because the numerator and the denominator are the same.” But the relevant class (the denominator) under the Casey approach consists of the much larger group of women affected by the partial-birth ban. It includes, in other words, not just those who hypothetically have a health reason to undergo partial-birth abortion but the much larger group who, apart from any health reason, would undergo the partial-birth method.


Ginsburg’s approach is the same lawless approach that the Stenberg majority took (and that it did not even attempt to reconcile with either Salerno or Casey). But she is wrong in contending that her approach is consistent with the “large fraction” approach of Casey. Had the majority in Casey defined the denominator in the same way that Ginsburg did, it would have identified the relevant class not as it did — “married women seeking abortions who do not wish to notify their husbands of their intentions and who do not qualify for one of the statutory exceptions to the notice requirement” — but as the subset of such women who would actually experience “adverse consequences” from providing notice. Stated mathematically, Ginsburg’s approach always results in the numerator being equal to the denominator, so it could never yield a fraction less than one.


Remarkably, Ginsburg’s approach to facial challenges of abortion regulations is even less deferential to the legislative process than the First Amendment exception to the Salerno rule. The First Amendment exception at least requires challengers to show that the challenged law is substantially overbroad. Ginsburg’s approach is (to borrow Kennedy’s label) a “zero tolerance policy” that would invalidate an abortion regulation in its entirety if that regulation had, or threatened, a single possible impermissible application. Thus, Ginsburg and her fellow dissenters treat the concocted “right” of abortion as the supreme American freedom, and they resort to extraordinary gimmicks to override democratically adopted enactments on this subject.


The Salerno rule should apply to facial challenges to abortion regulations, just as it applies to all other facial challenges outside the context of First Amendment speech protections. The “large fraction” standard that the Casey majority applied, without reflection or explanation, is unprincipled as well as nebulous. (At what point does a fraction become large?) But even the Casey standard is modest and restrained compared to Ginsburg’s extravagant judicial activism in her Gonzales v. Carhart dissent.


— Edward Whelan is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and is a regular contributor to NRO’s “Bench Memos” blog.




The Supreme Court gives reason for hope (, 070423)


By Star Parker


In a week of news about tragedy, despair, pointless violence and death, the U.S. Supreme Court has brought us tidings of hope.


With the court’s 5-4 ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, passed in 2003, the court confirmed that this is a decent, moral, and civil nation. The ruling secures this fact in our present, and shines light of hope for our future.


If anything might be contributing to the sense of gloom that that seems to grip American hearts and minds these days, it is doubt about this. We forget that nothing unsettles the human mind more than a feeling that the social fabric is unraveling.


More disappointing is that what we have is a decision that only touches how an abortion may be done, not whether it may be done. The brutal and inhuman procedure that is banned — partial delivery and then destruction of the unborn child — accounts for a small percentage of the almost 1 million abortions that are now being done each year.


Although the nature and scope of the problem that has been addressed is limited, we measure the preservation of human life one at a time. So this is a great victory.


Justice Anthony Kennedy included in the decision he wrote graphic discussion describing the horror of this procedure. Liberal and pro-abort journalist Dahlia Lithwick calls this the “business of grossing us out.”


In a graphic scene in the recent movie “Amazing Grace,” about William Wilberforce’s crusade to end the slave trade and slavery in the British Empire, Wilberforce pulls a boat of British elite, quietly and politely sitting and dining, alongside a docked slave ship. Wilberforce disturbs their peaceful respite with the stench of the slave ship.


So Justice Kennedy has done here. He includes the testimony of a nurse who participated in one of these procedures:


“The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out ... The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out ... Now the baby went completely limp. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta, and the instruments he had just used.”


I believe that Kennedy was conveying a message here, appropriately, that it is inconceivable that a free, moral, and civil society can tolerate this.


To state what should be obvious, law exists to sustain life, not the other way around. It is clear that certain lines, when crossed, create circumstances that, on the simplest levels of human intuition and sensitivity, are unacceptable. And, if indeed somehow, we seem to think they are acceptable, this should serve as an alarm to the state of our own humanity.


Partial birth abortion clearly crosses this line.


This said, I think we know a lot more today also about the moorings of our two political parties.


The leading Republican candidates — Giuliani, McCain, and Romney — uniformly celebrated this decision.


The leading Democratic candidates — Clinton, Obama, and Edwards — uniformly condemned it.


The rationale justifying opposition to upholding this ban because the act does not provide a “health exception” does not hold water. As has been pointed out, the act does provide exemption when the life of the mother is endangered. A health exemption beyond this is simply legal gymnastics for neutering the ban.


Sen. Hillary Clinton has jockeyed around over recent years trying to position herself as a moderate on the abortion issue. Although defending the alleged “right” to an abortion, Clinton has taken to rhetoric about morals and values and family and to portray how much she cares about eliminating the reality of abortion.


It should be clear today what Clinton is willing to tolerate and where her priorities are. And they certainly are not life, family, and the most core standards of human decency.


How about Sen. Barack Obama?


After the debacle at Virginia Tech, he gave a speech talking about the “...rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and claims to civilization alike.” He condemned the “coarsening of our culture.”


Can Senator Obama really be a credible source on these matters when he is willing to justify and tolerate the horror and brutality of partial birth abortion?


The Supreme Court, in its current form as a result of appointments by our Republican president, has demonstrated it can and will address the erosion of principle which is causing our society to unravel.


We have little reason to believe today that we can expect the same from the Democratic Party.




The New Anti-Catholic Bigotry (, 070427)


By Chuck Colson


The editorial cartoon appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer in the wake of the Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. It featured the nine justices sitting on the bench. The five Catholic justices who voted to uphold the ban are depicted wearing bishops’ mitres. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is Jewish, is staring at them with a horrified look. So are the three Protestant justices.


The cartoon’s message was clear: The Catholics had voted, not to uphold the law, but to impose their personal religious views. It’s a graphic example of anti-Catholic bigotry.


The Philadelphia Inquirer was hardly alone. Now, it’s not surprising when irresponsible commentators like Rosie O’Donnell make bigoted remarks about Catholics—as she did. Well, at least she won’t be on ABC for a while. But it is shocking when more respectable observers do so.


For instance, Geoffrey Stone, former dean of the University of Chicago law school, writes that “all five justices in the majority in [this case] are Catholic. The four justices who either are Protestant or Jewish all voted in accord with settled precedent”—note that. And then he adds: “The five justices in the majority [that is, the Catholics] . . . failed to respect the fundamental difference between religious belief and morality.”


If you uphold a law approved by both parties in Congress and supported by most Americans, you are imposing your morality. But if you vote against the ban, you have nobly kept your religious views from interfering with your job. The ugly implication here is obvious: that it is not possible for faithful Catholic judges to carry out their responsibility to interpret and uphold the law.


Imagine the reaction if a cartoonist had suggested this of other religious groups—if they had portrayed justices wearing yarmulkes or holding the Koran. Joseph Cella, head of a Catholic pro-life group, is right in saying that the Philadelphia Inquirer cartoon is “venomous, terribly misleading, and blatantly anti-Catholic.”


Protestants have a special duty to condemn anti-Catholic bigotry. Shamefully, at one time many Protestants accepted the vile teachings of Paul Blanchard, author of American Freedom and Catholic Power. They supported the anti-Catholic agenda of the group for which he was general counsel: Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Our Catholic brethren should not have to wait to hear our voices forcefully raised against the bigotry now directed against them.


That’s why I am circulating with some other Christian leaders a statement calling on Protestants to join us in condemning this bigotry.


We also call on groups that present themselves as the enemies of prejudice to join us as well. And in particular, we invite Americans United to do so. Let us know once and for all: Are they selective opponents of prejudice? Do they regard anti-Catholicism as an acceptable form of bigotry?


It is appropriate to demand an apology when people in public life use their position to engage in bigotry—just as we did with Don Imus. Subscribers to the Inquirer ought to drop their subscriptions, or boycott the products of their advertisers, until an apology is forthcoming.


All forms of bigotry are vile and must be exposed for what they are: attacks on the very character of a civil society. Apologies are called for.




Piercing the Skull (, 070503)


By Marvin Olasky


Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me? Wrong. Sharp instruments break the bones of unborn children, but words can also hurt — or help.


Two weeks ago in his majority decision Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy used hard-hitting words: “pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain.” In describing the soft target of abortionist terror, he even used the Two Words That Must Not Be Uttered: “unborn child.”


The crucial change in American thinking about abortion came not with Roe v. Wade in 1973 but with the pregnancy of Sherri Finkbine in 1962. Up to then newspapers had often referred to abortion’s prime victims as babies or children — but when the pretty star of the Phoenix version of “Romper Room,” a nationally syndicated program for children, decided to have an abortion, sympathetic journalists began using the word “fetus,” and that became customary.


Two score and five years later, the carnage from our domestic war has been enormous. We rightly mourn the 3,400 members of the American military who have died defending us in Iraq over the past four years: They’re human beings. We largely ignore a number almost 15,000 times greater — close to 50 million killed since Finkbine’s child — but that’s OK: They’re just fetuses.


Can words stop scalpels? Maybe not, and especially not if most people don’t hear them. Plug “Anthony Kennedy” and “abortion” into the Lexis-Nexis database, add the date April 19, the day after the Supreme Court decision, and 190 articles pop out. But only three newspapers in the Lexis-Nexis universe — The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger — quoted Kennedy’s honest words. Good for them.


The New York Times, often the worst, didn’t do badly this time, not only quoting Kennedy but also showing some awareness of history: The decision was “a vindication for the strategic choice the anti-abortion movement made 15 years ago.” That’s when many pro-lifers turned from an all-or-nothing drive for a Constitutional amendment to an all-or-something emphasis on incremental improvements that could save some lives and slowly bring more people to the pro-life side.


Associated Press stories often were the worst this time. One 900-word article had a bit of specific detail at the end but near the top trumpeted this biasing sentence: “Unlike in many developed countries, where abortion is considered a medical procedure beyond the reach of politics, it remains among the most politically sensitive subjects in the United States.” (Unmentioned: That the United States has one of the least protective policies toward unborn children found in any developed country.)


Several newspapers, without quoting Kennedy, did include some specific detail: The Kansas City Star, for example, described “crushing or puncturing the skull of the fetus once most of it is already outside the uterus.” The Web site, on the other hand, not only lacked specific detail but used euphemistic language about “healthcare providers (abortionists).” also used a lead that made gaining votes rather than saving lives the essence of the story: “In a decision that might as well have come with a gift card made out to President Bush’s base, the Supreme Court voted Wednesday to limit abortion.” The Chicago Tribune’s lead was similar: “The U.S. Supreme Court handed conservatives a long-sought victory Wednesday.”


The presence or absence of specific detail is what I most look for in stories related to abortion — but point-of-view is also important. For example, ABC reported that the decision “angered abortion rights supporters abortion rights activists were devastated.” ABC could just as well have led with pleased pro-lifers. Newspapers frequently bemoaned new restrictions on women, but a different POV would spotlight new protections for unborn children.


And “fetus” was still the word of choice for describing the unborn child. How long, Lord, how long?




Deadly Trend (BreakPoint, 080314)


By Chuck Colson


The Infanticide Protocol


Sociologist Stefan Timmerman has observed that “Humans in every society studied to date are more likely to be murdered on the day they are born than on any other day of their lives.” Timmerman was quoted recently by bioethicist Wesley J. Smith in the online publication To the Source.


Smith rightly claims that while infanticide was commonly accepted in ancient times, only the Jews and the Christians actively opposed it. The strength of their opposition paid off “when infanticide was outlawed by Emperor Valentinian, a Christian, in the 4th century.”


So, as Western culture abandons its Christian roots, we ought not to be surprised that infanticide is making a comeback.


Take a look at what is already happening in the Netherlands. In 2004, doctors from Groningen University Medical Center admitted to killing, or “euthanizing,” to use the euphemism, dying or profoundly disabled babies. That practice came to be known as the Groningen Protocol.


Under those guidelines, not only are dying infants killed, but so are disabled infants who do not even require intensive care. The criteria for euthanizing a baby are subjective: Either the baby is judged to have no chance of survival; may survive after intensive treatment but with a grim future; or endures “suffering [that] is severe, sustained, and cannot be alleviated.” These criteria depend on the doctor’s whim.


So much for the Hippocratic Oath.


By judging which life is valuable or not, doctors are doing precisely what the Nazis did over 60 years ago. The Nazis even had a phrase for this, which translated means “life not worth living”—and not because of the individuals’ suffering, but because of their burden and cost to society.


“As the West loses some of its Biblical moral footing,” writes Smith, “there is a new effort to decriminalize infanticide.” In fact, he asserts, “the notion is ‘positively trendy’.” Most notably, of course, is Princeton Professor Peter Singer who has advocated for some time killing disabled infants. But he is not the only one. When the Groningen Protocol was revealed, others began—not condemning it—but, sadly enough, defending it.


Smith noted a New York Times feature and a New England Journal of Medicine report, both giving credence and sympathy to Dutch infanticide proponents. And now the Hastings Center Report, the most respected journal on bioethics, has published another pro-Groningen Protocol article in which the authors not only “support lethally injecting dying babies, but also those who are disabled.”


“The article assumes that guidelines will protect against abuse,” writes Smith, but, as he points out, “infanticide is by definition abuse.” And, as Smith reminds readers, Dutch euthanasia guidelines for adults and teens have been “violated for decades,” so why should we expect anything different with infanticide guidelines?


“[W]e are moving toward a medical system,” says Smith, “in which babies are put down like dogs and killing is redefined as a caring act.”


But this can happen only in a society that has forgotten that every human life is made in the image of God—and, therefore, worthy of protection.


Think worldviews do not matter? Think our Christian heritage is irrelevant? Too bad we cannot ask the infants of Groningen what they think.




Atheism and Child Murder (, 080512)


By Dinesh D’Souza


Peter Singer is a calm, lucid and able debater, and our debate at Biola University in Los Angeles on April 25 was lively and hard-fought. Not for nothing is Singer considered a world-class philosopher and advocate.


Singer praised me for not simply making assertions of faith or hurling Bible passages at him but rather for using reason and argument to make my case. And I complimented Singer for stepping, so to speak, into the lion’s den. (Biola actually stands for Bible Institute of Los Angeles.) Unlike the pusillanimous Richard Dawkins, who doesn’t dare to debate me even at his home campus of Oxford, Singer was brave to come to a Christian campus to dispute the resolution “God: Yes or No.” The audience of 3,000 was mostly though not exclusively Christian.


So perhaps atheism has found an able advocate. But unbelievers may want to think twice before lining up behind Singer, who argues in favor of infanticide, euthanasia and (this is not a joke) animal rights! One of Singer’s interesting proposals concerns what may be called “fourth trimester” abortions, i.e. the right to kill one’s offspring even after birth!


Here are some choice Singer quotations on the subject which I get from his books Rethinking Life and Death and Writings on an Ethical Life.


On how mothers should be permitted to kill their offspring until the age of 28 days: “My colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggest that a period of twenty-eight days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others.”


On why abortion is less morally significant than killing a rat: “Rats are indisputably more aware of their surroundings, and more able to respond in purposeful and complex ways to things they like or dislike, than a fetus at ten or even thirty-two weeks gestation.”


On why pigs, chickens and fish have more rights to life than unborn humans: “The calf, the pig, and the much-derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy, while if we make the comparison with a fetus of less than three months, a fish would show more signs of consciousness.”


On why infants aren’t normal human beings with rights to life and liberty: “Characteristics like rationality, autonomy and self-consciousness...make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings.”


In my opening statement I showed the profound connection between Singer’s Darwinian atheism and his advocacy of infanticide and euthanasia. Remarkably Singer responded by saying he didn’t come to debate his bioethical views! Rather, he wanted the debate to focus exclusively on the question of whether God exists or not. I didn’t want this to be a debate in which Singer and I ended up talking on completely different subjects, so I engaged him on his chosen ground.


Even so, I was disappointed that Singer wouldn’t stand up for the opinions that have made him famous, or infamous. Our topic resolution was broad enough to permit a discussion both of the existence of God and also of the social implications of the theist and the atheist positions. I view Singer’s work as exploring the consequences of living in a truly secular society, devoid not only of the Christian God but also of Christian morality.


So while Christianity introduced into Western civilization the concept of dignity of human life, Singer explicitly says we have to get rid of this outdated concept. He contends that God is dead and we should recognize ourselves as Darwinian primates who enjoy no special status compared to the other animals. In the animal kingdom, after all, parents sometimes kill and even devour their offpsring. Singer argues that the West can learn from the other cultures like the Kalahari where children are routinely killed when they are unwanted, even when they are several years old.


Some of Singer’s critics call him a Nazi and compare his proposals to Hitler’s schemes for eliminating the unwanted, the unfit and the disabled. But as I note in the debate, Singer is no Hitler. He doesn’t want state-sponsored killings. Rather, he wants the decision to kill to be made by you and me. Instead of government-conducted genocide, Singer favors free-market homicide.


Given the connection that Singer draws between atheism and child murder, using the former as his premise to recommend the latter, I wonder if our atheist friends are going to rush to embrace this guy as one of their heroes. Is Singer showing us where the road to complete secularism actually leads?




Grand Jury Declines to Indict Late-Term Abortion Doctor (Christian Post, 080703)


A grand jury that was convened to investigate notorious late-term abortion provider George Tiller adjourned a six-month investigation Wednesday without issuing an indictment.


In a written statement, the panel of 15 grand jurors said they did not have enough evidence to indict him on any crime related to abortion laws.


Grand jurors said they believed that the Kansas State Legislature worded abortion laws in a way that would only allow late-term abortions in “the gravest of circumstances” where the continuation of pregnancy would cause “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”


The Kansas Supreme Court has interpreted the language of “substantial and irreversible impairment” to include the mental health of the mother, according to grand jurors in the statement.


The panel said they found “questionable late-term abortions” performed at Women’s Health Care Services, the clinic Tiller runs. They added, however, that Kansas legislators needed to “provide clearer and more definitive guidelines regarding ‘substantial and irreversible impairment,’ before an investigation would yield an indictment against Tiller or the clinic.


For many years, Kansas citizens have tried to charge Tiller with performing illegal late-term abortions. The recent probe of Tiller was prompted by a public petition.


Cases involving the Wichita doctor have often attracted national attention because he is among a handful of late-term abortion providers in the nation. Pro-life groups frequently hold vigils and protest at his clinics.


Troy Newman, president of the Operation Rescue, a Kansas-based pro-life group, issued his own statement expressing extreme disappointment in the panel’s decision. In 2006, Newman had initiated a petition drive to probe Tiller’s handling of a woman with Down syndrome, who died after having an abortion.


Newman contended that illegal abortions are being performed “under the misuse of a mental health exception that was not written into the law, but forced upon it by a pro-abortion former attorney general.”


“Once again, we are suspicious that corrupt influences in the government, which have been influenced by Tiller’s large financial involvement in Kansas politics, may have thwarted justice once again,” he said.


Despite no charges being found by the grand jury on Wednesday, Tiller still faces 19 misdemeanor charges filed by the Kansas attorney general’s office. According to the allegations, Tiller failed to get the opinion of a second doctor who was financially or legally independent of him before carrying out late-term abortion procedures. A trial for that case is scheduled for July 28.




 Appeals Court Backs Va. Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (Christian Post, 090625)


A federal appeals court upheld Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion, reversing an earlier ruling that had declared it unconstitutional.


Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals wrote in his opinion, “The fact is that we – civilized people – are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder.”


“A partially born child is among the weakest, most helpless beings in our midst and on that account exerts a special claim on our protection,” Wilkinson added.


In a 6-5 vote on Wednesday, the court ruled the Virginia Act – which prohibits killing a human infant who has been born alive – constitutional.


Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence commented earlier, “No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless. Virginia has legitimately chosen to protect innocent life from a terrible procedure, and the court was right to uphold Virginia’s law.”


The partial-birth abortion ban was initially struck down by a 4th Circuit panel. The Supreme Court ordered the panel to reexamine its decision when it upheld the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act two years ago. In 2008, after review, the panel again found the ban to be unconstitutional.


The entire 4th Circuit court was then asked to hear the case.


Opponents of the ban claimed the state law defined the term “partial birth infanticide” “so broadly” that it would ban even the safest and most common second trimester method of abortion, namely the dilation and evacuation method, thus exposing all doctors who perform standard D&Es to prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment. They also claimed the ban failed to include an exception to protect the mother’s health.


But in its decision, the appeals court said the law specifically exempts the standard D&E procedure and provides “sufficient clarity” as to what conduct is prohibited, and it also adequately protects women’s health.


The court also noted that to hold the ban as unconstitutional for all circumstances “based on the possible rare circumstance not appropriate under any standard for facial challenges.




The Scandal of Gendercide – War on Baby Girls (Christian Post, 100311)

By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.


The reality has been known for years now, though the Western media have generally resisted any direct coverage of the horror. That changed this week when The Economist published its stunning cover story — “Gendercide — What Happened to 100 Million Baby Girls?”


In many nations of the world, there is an all-out war on baby girls. In 1990, economist Amartya Sen estimated that 100 million baby girls were missing — sacrificed by parents who desired a son. Two decades later, multiple millions of missing baby girls must be added to that total, victims of abortion, infanticide, or fatal neglect.


The murder of girls is especially common in China and northern India, where a preference for sons produces a situation that is nothing less than critical for baby girls. In these regions, there are 120 baby boys born for every 100 baby girls. As The Economist explains, “Nature dictates that slightly more males are born than females to offset boys’ greater susceptibility to infant disease. But nothing on this scale.”


In its lead editorial, the magazine gets right to the essential point: “It is no exaggeration to call this gendercide. Women are missing in their millions—aborted, killed, neglected to death.”


In its detailed and extensive investigative report, the magazine opens its article with chilling force. A baby girl is born in China’s Shandong province. Chinese writer Xinran Xue, present for the birth, then hears a man’s voice respond to the sight of the newborn baby girl. “Useless thing,” he cried in disappointment. The witness then heard a plop in the slops pail. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail!” When she tried to intervene she was restrained by police. An older woman simply explained to her, “Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here.”


The numbers of dead and missing baby girls is astounding. In some Chinese provinces, there are more than 130 baby boys for every 100 baby girls. The culture places a premium value on sons, and girls are considered an economic drain. A Hindu saying conveys this prejudice: “Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor’s garden.”


Midwives even charge more for the birth of a baby boy. But the preference for a boy rises with both economic power and the number of children born to a couple. The imbalance of boys to girls is no accident — it reflects a prejudice that runs throughout the societies where the abortion and killing of baby girls is considered both understandable and routine.


Add to this the widespread availability of ultrasound imaging services. Even though the governments of China and India have officially declared sex-selection abortions to be illegal, they persist by the millions. (And, interestingly, the magazine notes that Sweden actually legalized sex-selection abortions in 2009.)


This sentence from the investigative report is particularly horrifying: “In one hospital in Punjab, in northern India, the only girls born after a round of ultrasound scans had been mistakenly identified as boys, or else had a male twin.”


In other words, even as the spread of ultrasound technology has greatly aided the pro-life movement by making the humanity of the unborn baby visible and undeniable, among those determined to give birth only to baby boys, in millions of cases the same technology has meant a death warrant for a baby girl in the womb.


There are multiple factors that lead to the preference for boys over girls. In China, the government’s draconian “one child only” policy has led to both forced abortions and an effective death sentence for baby girls when a couple is determined that, if their children are to be so drastically limited, they will insist on having a son. As the magazine explains, “For millions of couples, the answer is: abort the daughter, try for a son.”


Consider this:


In fact the destruction of baby girls is a product of three forces: the ancient preference for sons; a modern desire for smaller families; and ultrasound scanning and other technologies that identify the sex of a fetus. In societies where four or six children were common, a boy would almost certainly come along eventually; son preference did not need to exist at the expense of daughters. But now couples want two children-or, as in China, are allowed only one-they will sacrifice unborn daughters to their pursuit of a son. That is why sex ratios are most distorted in the modern, open parts of China and India. It is also why ratios are more skewed after the first child: parents may accept a daughter first time round but will do anything to ensure their next-and probably last-child is a boy. The boy-girl ratio is above 200 for a third child in some places.


The social consequences of this imbalance are vast and uncorrectable. China and India now face the reality of millions of young men and boys who have absolutely no hope of a wife and family. In China, these young men are called guanggun or “broken branches.” Just consider this — the 30 to 40 million “broken branches” in China are about equal in number to the total number of all boys and young men in the United States.


These young men represent a looming disaster on the societal level. Young males commit the greatest number of criminal acts and acts of violence. Marriage has been the great taming institution for the social development of young males. Without prospect for marriage and a normal sex and family life, these multiple millions of unmarried young men are becoming a significant social challenge in China and India. Some observers even argue that this may lead to an increased militarism in the region.


Of course, the greatest disaster is personal for the young men and boys who face the future as “broken branches.” The parents who insist on having boys are dooming their own sons to lives of brokenness, frustration, and grief.


And the future looks even more ominous for baby girls. Nick Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute points to “the fatal collision between overweening son preference, the use of rapidly spreading prenatal sex-determination technology and declining fertility.” As the magazine adds, “Over the next generation, many of the problems associated with sex selection will get worse. The social consequences will become more evident because the boys born in large numbers over the past decade will reach maturity then. Meanwhile, the practice of sex selection itself may spread because fertility rates are continuing to fall and ultrasound scanners reach throughout the developing world.”


While imbalances such as now found in China and India are unknown in the West, the practice of sex-selection abortion is found here as well. Indeed, there is no current law against the practice in the United States, where abortion is legal for any reason, at least in earlier stages of pregnancy. In reality, sex selection abortions happen here, too. After all, proponents of abortion in the United States infamously insist on a woman’s unrestricted right to an abortion “for any reason, or for no reason.”


The Economist is right to call this tragedy gendercide — the targeting of baby girls for death and destruction simply because of their gender. The magazine deserves appreciation for its no-holds-barred report on this tragedy, and for forcing the issue to be faced. Furthermore, The Economist ends its editorial with the right message, “The world needs to do more to prevent a gendercide that will have the sky crashing down.”


Will reports like this awaken the conscience of the world to the unspeakable crime and global tragedy of gendercide? If not, what will it take? The blood of millions of murdered and missing baby girls cries out to the world’s conscience. Will we hear?




Bodies of 21 Babies Found in China River (Foxnews, 100330)


BEIJING — The bodies of 21 babies, believed dumped by hospitals, have washed ashore on a riverbank in eastern China, state media reported Tuesday.


Video footage showed that the bodies — stashed in yellow plastic bags, at least one of which was marked “medical waste” — included some infants several months old. Some wore identification tags with their mothers’ names, birth dates, measurements and weights. The official Xinhua News Agency said there were also fetuses among the bodies.


Residents discovered the remains under a bridge in the city of Jining, Shandong province, over the weekend. Tags on the feet of eight of the babies traced them back to a hospital in Jining, according to the People’s Daily Web site. Three of them had been admitted earlier to the hospital in critical condition, the report said. It did not say when.


The other 13 bodies were unidentified. The number of girls or boys was not reported.


More girls than boys are aborted in China because of the traditional preference for male offspring, especially in rural areas. Although gender-selection abortions are illegal in China, the practice remains widespread and has led to a skewed sex ratio at birth in China with 119 males born for every 100 females. In industrialized countries, the ratio is 107 to 100.


An official from the general office from the Affiliated Hospital of Jining Medical College confirmed it was involved.


“Several of the bodies of babies with (identification) tags were from our hospital, but not all of them. The officials from the health bureau are still in the hospital doing an investigation,” said the official, who like most Chinese officials would not give his name.


Xinhua said medical staff were suspended after the discovery.


“The hospital medical staff involved have been suspended from their work during the investigation,” Zhong Haitao, a spokesman at the Jining Health Bureau, was quoted as saying.


Local residents and firefighters recovered the bodies Monday after they were discovered under a bridge spanning the Guangfu River in the outskirts of Jining, Zhong said.


Interviews with residents who discovered the bodies floating near the shore over the weekend were broadcast on the Web site of the Shandong Broadcasting Company,


The footage shows bodies lying on parts of the bank of the river. Some are uncovered, and others are in bags. They are all small and covered in dirt. A leg sticks out from under one bag. At least one of the bags has “medical waste” written on it.




ABC’s Partial-Birth Hero (, 110520)

Brent Bozell


As far as I’m concerned, there’s a circle in Hell reserved for late-term abortionists. But this is the Obama era, so Hollywood makes TV shows casting them as heroic figures. Such is the state of our popular culture.


On the May 12 episode of ABC’s “Private Practice,” Dr. Addison Montgomery (played by actress Kate Walsh, a real-life Planned Parenthood activist) spewed the strongest pro-abortion — “pro-choice” — rhetoric as she performed a partial-birth abortion on a woman who thought she’d already had an abortion two months before.


“I hate what I’m about to do, but I support Patty’s right to choose,” the doctor declares. “It is not enough just to have an opinion, because in a nation of over 300 million people, there are only 1,700 abortion providers. And I’m one of them.”


The poor, poor killer of babies. ABC should have cued the orchestra to swell up and champion the few and the proud, followed by the on-screen credit, “This message brought to you by Planned Parenthood.” It was that blatant.


There were no cheers for this very special episode from the usual liberal TV critics, and feminist groups weren’t shaking pom-poms either. But there’s probably a Planned Parenthood “Maggie Award for Media Excellence” in ABC’s future. Walsh won this award in 2008 for her “extensive advocacy efforts on behalf of affordable family planning services and real sex education.”


The tension in the “Private Practice” plot came from the show’s pro-life character, African-American fertility specialist Dr. Naomi Bennett. When she first protests the partial-birth abortion, Addison argues, “Partial birth is not a medical term, it’s a political term, and you know it.”


Naomi replies, “I don’t care what you call it, you can’t do it.”


Another female character chimes in, “Yes, she can. It’s at the doctor’s discretion. And it is legal.”


Naturally, ABC wasn’t about to be very specific about how grisly the partial-birth abortion is, as Addison euphemistically proclaims to the patient it involves “forceps and suction,” and “the fetus would be removed.” Naomi later protests that it crushed a baby’s skull. But she’s the controversial one.


When pregnant Patty comes to the office to consult with Addison, Naomi tries to talk her out of an abortion, telling her that her baby, at 19 weeks in the womb, can hear her mother talk and be startled by loud noises and has vocal cords and fingerprints. With a gentle smile, she insists, “Consider carrying the baby to term.”


This puts Patty on the fence, infuriating Addison. The scene shifts to Patty’s workplace, a bar, where Addison arrives to talk her back into the abortion.


“She had no right to upset you like that,” she insists.


If pro-lifers discuss facts about fetal development and plead that parenthood isn’t a prison sentence, somehow that unfairly interferes with “choice.”


Montgomery uncorks another pro-abortion lecture at the bar: “When it comes to abortion, everybody has an opinion. Everybody’s going to want to tell you what to do. If this were 1972, it would have been a back alley and not my elevator you would have collapsed in. You didn’t have a choice. Now you do.” She claims to Patty “everyone else is background noise.” This is not an offering of “choice.” This is an urgent appeal for an abortion.


Of course, the doctor added those fiendish and violent pro-lifers are always ruining the Era of Choice.


“It’s still hard. And even after you make the most difficult and personal decision that there is, it’s still not safe. Because you have some fanatic who claims to value life who can walk into an abortion clinic and blow it up.”


It’s the ultimate Orwellian argument. We live in a country where 4,000 abortions are performed daily and it’s the pro-lifers who are killers.


Just as upsetting as this dramatic smear that the abortion-opposing side is dominated by violent fanatics was the complete collapse of the pro-life character. At the episode’s end, there is Naomi, supportively holding the woman’s hand as Addison prepares to carve up the baby (off-screen, of course). When the butchering is complete, pro-abort Addison thanks Naomi for her support of Patty.


“Pro-life,” Naomi replies. “I was there for both of you,” and concedes, “You helped that woman.”


Hollywood would never end an episode or a movie with a woman deeply troubled by her abortion converting to Christianity — even though that’s exactly what happened with Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” in Roe vs. Wade. They’d never have an abortionist switch sides — as did the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson. In Hollywood, the pro-lifers fold within 60 minutes. It is truly the land of make-believe.




Infanticide, Canadian Style (Christian Post, 110917)

By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.


Mark Steyn hit the nail on the head when he accused a Canadian appeals court of allowing for a “fourth-trimester abortion” - that’s right, the killing of a baby that is already born.


The case emerged from the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta, where a judge faced the fact that a woman had been convicted of strangling her newborn son and then throwing the baby’s body over the fence into her neighbor’s yard.


As CBC News reported, the woman was given a three-year suspended sentence and will spend no time in jail for the killing of her baby. Katrina Efferts “will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won’t spend time behind bars for strangling her own son.”


Justice Joanne Veit, whose name should now go down in legal and moral infamy, tied this woman’s act of infanticide to Canada’s lack of legal restrictions on abortion. The judge’s decision stated that “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.”


She continued: “Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother.” She also stated that the Canadian approach is a “fair compromise of all the interests involved.”


Two juries had found Effert guilty of second-degree murder, but an appeals court had reduced her conviction to infanticide.


Mark Steyn got right to the point:


So a superior court judge in a relatively civilized jurisdiction is happy to extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a legal person - that’s to say, someone who has managed to make it to the post-fetus stage. How long do those mitigating factors apply? I mean, “onerous demands”-wise, the first month of a newborn’s life is no picnic for the mother. How about six months in? The terrible twos?


That is exactly the point. Judge Veit did indeed “extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a living person.” The only problem with that statement is that this baby was “a living person” before his birth. The issue of birth is artificial and deadly. The willingness to kill within the womb leads logically to a willingness to kill outside the womb. The horrifying illogic of abortion, even in the United States, means that this mother could have aborted her baby in the hours prior to his birth with no legal consequence. This woman was convicted by juries of killing her son just after his birth. The appeals court reduced the crime, and then Judge Veit suspended the sentence.


The moral dishonesty of the entire tragedy comes down to the fact that, in legalizing abortion, liberal societies claimed to be making a bargain. We will not protect unborn life, but we will defend all those who make it to birth. Of course, the dividing line was always dishonest. Are we seriously to believe that human personhood is a matter of mere location, inside or outside the womb?


Now, this judge has simply extended the logic of abortion, and catastrophically so. If the “onerous demands” of parenthood justify killing one’s own child, there is no logical reason to confine permissive infanticide to newborns, or even to younger children.


We have seen this coming. As far back as 1993, ethicist Peter Singer was arguing openly that babies “are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons.” He went on to argue that “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.” Singer, to our shame, now holds an honored chair in ethics at Princeton University.


Other ethical philosophers, such as Michael Tooley and Jeffrey Reiman, had argued similarly. Tooley asserted that human infants do not qualify for personhood and Reiman argued that infants do not “possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.”


Enter, Judge Veit. The philosophical foundations for the acceptance of infanticide were laid long ago. Now, an appeals court in Canada has applied them to law.


Add to this the moral inversion of motherhood in the eyes of this court. What kind of twisted logic produced this sentence from Judge Veit’s decision? “Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother.”


Just imagine saying that out loud. A society is naturally to grieve an infant’s death, “especially at the hands of the infant’s mother,” but the society is also to grieve for the mother?


Adding insult to injury, the CBC report reveals that Katrina Effert just might actually spend time behind bars - not for killing her son but for throwing the boy’s body over the fence. For that infraction, she might serve 16 days in jail.


Mark this well - the horrific logic of this judge’s decision will not remain in Canada. Indeed, it did not even start in Canada. Those arguments are already in place in the United States. If we will not defend life in the womb, eventually the dignity of every single human life is thrown over the fence.




Infanticide: The Deadly Logic of Abortion in Court (Christian Post, 111004)

By Chuck Colson


In April 2005, Katrina Effert, age nineteen, secretly gave birth to a baby boy in the downstairs bathroom. She then strangled the child, wrapped him in towels, and dropped him over the backyard fence behind a neighbor’s shed.


After repeatedly lying to police and trying to pin the crime on a man she hooked up with nine months earlier, Effert finally confessed to killing the child, whom she named Rodney.


In 2006 and again in 2009 juries convicted her of second-degree murder with a minimum of ten years in prison. In September, the same judge who presided over Effert’s trial in 2009 changed the conviction to infanticide and sentenced her to a three-year suspended sentence with probation.


In England since 1922 and in Canada since 1948, infanticide has been separated from murder. Women who killed their newborns were often domestic servants who hid their pregnancies and destroyed the evidence for fear of being fired.


Juries were unwilling to convict those women of murder since it carried the death penalty. Therefore, a new crime with a lesser penalty was created using the dubious assumption that only a mentally disturbed and, thus, morally irresponsible woman would kill her own child. Mental illness, remember, is the way that secular societies replace the judgmental “sin” word.


According to an article in Canada’s National Post, when Justice Joanne Veit gave instructions to the jury in 2009, she told them that if they determined that Efferts was “disturbed” - a word that has no clear legal or psychological definition - they had to find her guilty of infanticide. The jury nonetheless returned a verdict of murder.


Now whether or not Veit should have overturned the jury’s decision can be debated. What can’t be debated was the judge’s chilling rationale. Veit linked her leniency and Effert’s crime to abortion.


Canada, you see, has no restrictions on abortion. If Effert had had an abortion the day before she delivered, all would be well - legally at least. Instead she gave birth.


As reported in the Calgary Herald, Veit wrote that the lack of a Canadian abortion law shows that “many Canadians… generally understand, accept and sympathize with” hard-pressed mothers, “especially mothers without support.” So, such sympathy makes infanticide permissible?


Commentator Mark Steyn correctly states that the judge is, in essence, justifying “fourth-trimester abortion.” He goes on: “So a superior court judge in a relatively civilized jurisdiction is happy to extend the principles underlying legalized abortion in order to mitigate the killing of a legal person - that’s to say, someone who has managed to make it to the post-fetal stage.”


As Dr. Al Mohler puts it, “The willingness to kill within the womb leads logically to a willingness to kill outside the womb.” Of course it does - and don’t let abortion supporters deny it. Princeton Professor Peter Singer has made that argument for years as a justification for killing infants.


At least this case in Canada exposes where the evil logic of abortion leads. It is totally morally unsustainable.


But it’s clear that despite the fact that more and more Americans at least are turning pro-life, the battle is far from over. We, that is, the Church, have a lot of work to do to uphold the dignity - and the sacredness - of every human life, from conception to natural death.