The debate surrounding abortion has hit rock bottom. Not surprisingly, the setting for the new low has been the House of Representatives.
Recently proposed legislation to punish people who kill babies who are still alive following botched abortions passed the House, but not with the support one would imagine. While every single Republican voted to criminalize the intentional murder of a breathing human being, only five Democrats followed suit.
Five, out of 188. That’s less than 3 percent. You can count them on one hand. That’s right, roughly 97 percent of Democrats think it’s okay to take the life of a helpless newborn. Or, more likely, they don’t care enough to voice their opposition. Savagery for the ages.
The measure, H .R. 3504, states: “This bill amends the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital . . . Also, a health care practitioner or other employee who has knowledge of a failure to comply with these requirements must immediately report such failure to an appropriate law enforcement agency. An individual who violates the provisions of this Act is subject to a criminal fine, up to five years in prison, or both. An individual who commits an overt act that kills a child born alive is subject to criminal prosecution for murder . . .”
Exactly how are we any different than Sparta when a substantial percentage of our elected officials refuse to support the above language?
The Rise of Sparta-Like Barbarity
For those unfamiliar with Greek history, Sparta was the militaristic society renowned for its warrior culture, where children began training for battle at the age of seven. That is, if they were deemed worthy to continue life after birth—legend has it Spartan children born with physical defects were tossed from cliffs so as not to burden society. While comparisons to Sparta on the battlefield may be considered honorific, in the arena of child welfare the equivalence is anything but.
Western civilization has indeed become more empathetic in many ways since Sparta’s heyday more than 2,000 years ago, yet even now its most vulnerable members are subjected to Spartan-like barbarity.
That this bill is just now being proposed speaks volumes about our society, never mind its opposition. While 3504 builds on an earlier effort known as the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act passed in 2002 under President Bush, that law imposes no criminal penalties for its violation. The fact that the purposeful killing or abandonment of a child “born alive” is not criminalized at the federal level is a crime in itself. That the vast majority of Democrats refuse to act on such an obvious societal and moral transgression goes well beyond the criminal, into a realm of vocabulary not yet invented simply because such cruelty has rarely been witnessed in the modern world.
Predictably, opponents of the bill such as the American Civil Liberties Union are attempting to tie it into the larger abortion debate. But the recent vote, or lack thereof, involves an entirely separate issue. The concepts of “when does life begin” and “hands off my body” are no longer relevant once the baby is “born alive.” Only his or her survival and well-being are. Simply put, once the baby is born, the word “abortion” is, or at least should be, irrelevant.
After all, what is the difference between Melissa Drexler, the New Jersey teen who gave birth at her high-school prom before strangling her baby and throwing him in a trash can, and a doctor killing a newborn simply because he botched an operation? A murder charge, apparently.
Or Maybe We’re Worse than Sparta
Of course, the charge of murder is generally handled at the state level. So why, you may ask, are conservatives so quick to abandon their federalism when it suits them? The tragic case of Kermit Gosnell and a recent video exposing the practices of Planned Parenthood, along with other independent investigations, have demonstrated that states are either incapable or lack the political will to police the abortion industry. In that case, the federal government can, and must, step in.
As the recent passage of 3504 shows, however, that lack of political will isn’t just confined to the states. How else does one explain the deafening silence of Democrats on what should be a bipartisan issue: the willful death of a newborn child? Given that Americans overwhelmingly support a federal ban on late-term abortion, it’s hard to believe that the Democrats’ stubbornness on H. R. 3504 reflects their constituencies’ views about a federal ban against the intentional killing of born children.
It’s more likely that it reflects the blind partisanship of the abortion issue itself and the political influence of groups like Planned Parenthood. And that says more about our society than perhaps the wanton killing of an unwanted child.
Come to think of it, perhaps the Sparta analogy is a bit unfair. To Sparta. Turns out their unwanted babies probably weren’t tossed off a cliff after all, but rather left to die of exposure on a hillside. There, while small, at least they had a chance. That is more than anyone can say for a baby born through no fault of his or her own into a country that turns a blind eye to the slaughter of innocent children.