“We must philosophically strengthen feminist theory so that it can admit that abortion is an aggressive act, that it is a form of extermination. [I]n successful abortions, the fetus death rate is 100 percent.” — Camille Paglia, “Vamps and Tramps”
One of the biggest arguments pro-choice advocates have against fetal-pain bills and late-term abortion laws is that when a mom decides on an abortion that late it might be dangerous or at least very inconvenient because the child is so large and well developed. They argue any restrictions on abortion whatsoever threaten abortion as a whole.
In that line of reasoning, in a 5-3 decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt yesterday the Supreme Court threw out health and safety regulations on abortion clinics in Texas—one requiring clinics to meet the same health standards as hospitals and the other requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. While Texas has a fetal pain bill in place, not all states ban abortions after 20 weeks, and yesterday’s ruling will mean more abortions in clinics that may be unsafe. The majority justices even dismissed the horrors of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic, which were an impetus for the Texas law.
The cultural effects of this permissive legal structure are not surprising. In yet another horrifying abortion tale masquerading as a nuanced progressive opinion piece, Vox reports, via an article that originally ran at Jezebel, of a woman who had an abortion at 32 weeks because her unborn son was diagnosed with “anomalies [that] were so bad that he was ‘incompatible with life.’” The piece stated “If he survived birth, it would be a brief and painful life. So they decided to terminate the pregnancy.”
Complicating their already difficult decision, according to Vox and Jezebel, were state laws restricting abortions so close to a child’s birth. Eleven states have enacted fetal pain bills, which limit abortions to before a child is 18-20 weeks old in utero. Because of this, Elizabeth (not her real name) flew to Colorado, where Warren Hern—one of the few late-term abortionists with a license—gave her baby a shot to stop his heart. Elizabeth then flew back to New York to deliver the baby. Hern advised Elizabeth to deliver in a hospital rather than in his clinic because doctors had told her labor and delivery could kill her also.
As tragic as this couple’s story reads, Vox and Jezebel portray it as an unnecessary trial due to pro-lifers passing fetal pain bills. That’s classic liberal petitio principii, raising the question: What’s your support for this premise? Elizabeth says “political shit” complicated her abortion; Vox and Jezebel clearly agree. But how?
Maybe Pick Your Proof Stories More Carefully
This story is not a great exemplar for the evils of late-term abortion limits. For one, Hern may not have been the best doctor to advise Elizabeth’s late-term (or any) abortion. He is currently facing a lawsuit from a couple claiming a story that sounds quite similar to Elizabeth’s (to be clear, it’s not the same couple). The plaintiff, Jennifer, “suffered a horrific late-term abortion complication that she says has caused her physical pain, mental suffering, and the loss of her ability to bear children.”
Vox also states abortions like the ones described in the piece are “incredibly rare,” yet there are approximately 11,000 late-term abortions per year—and that’s just the states that report abortion statistics. Many states like California, where abortion is legal until viability, do not report abortion statistics at all. For comparison, Pew reports that from 2009 to 2014 (the most recent years data are available) the number of gun homicides has hovered around 11,000 and 12,000 per year, yet we don’t see Vox and Jezebel telling us these “incredibly rare.”
Further, data shows this particular instance is not typical of most similar decisions. Studies show “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”
The parents in this incident are no doubt bereaved over the loss of their baby and upset about this horrific abortion experience. While it’s undoubtedly sad, it’s still unclear why an abortion was necessary. Elizabeth had to give birth either way. Why kill the baby first? Why not deliver a live child and hold him in your arms for the brief time he’s granted on earth?
Essentially, these parents decided to euthanize their child because they feared his probable disabilities, and abortion laws allow for that, but only as long as the child is located inside the mother’s womb. Inside a mother, a child is a euthanize-able human. Once outside their mothers, the law protects children. This is only one of the major logical contradictions of abortion, and an illustration of the obvious connection between abortion and euthanasia. This case essentially admits it constitutes baby euthanasia because the abortionist used a shot to stop the baby’s heart and induce abortion. If the fetus isn’t a baby, why stop the baby’s heart to abort it?
Abortion Doesn’t Offer Relief to Anyone
Further, pro-choice advocates often use conception in rape and concerns for a mother’s life as justifications for legalizing late-term abortions, yet these two conditions were not at play in this instance. Vox still blamed Elizabeth’s harrowing experience on late-term abortion laws, otherwise known as “fetal pain” laws, saying, “They often take extremely individual, complicated medical decisions out of the hands of the doctors who are qualified to make them. Biology is fickle, bodies are unique, and anything can go wrong at any moment.”
Yet Vox fails to show how more late-term abortion laws would have eased Elizabeth’s physical or emotional pain. In fact, it’s just as likely her access to late-term abortion has increased her suffering. She would still have faced this difficult situation and its aftermath, including the very obvious knowledge for a lifetime that she consented to the killing of what, at that date, is very obviously her unborn child. If she had delivered her child alive or after its natural death she could have taken comfort that she was not the one who caused it.
Scientists and doctors have confirmed repeatedly that babies feel pain by at least 20 weeks, if not before. Compound this with the fact that the 22-week mark is the new viability point. Many of these babies, such as this little one born at 21 weeks and six days and who is now thriving, survive with proper medical treatment. In response, Utah’s governor signed a bill in March that requires abortionists to numb the baby if the mother is at least 20 weeks along.
It Has a Heart, It Can Feel Pain: It’s a Baby
This seems like the least abortionists can do. Yet its necessity again demonstrates that abortion proponents lie to women and the public about what’s inside a woman’s womb. If it needs painkiller and has a heart to stop, it’s a baby. At least modern medical science is forcing abortion supporters to admit the grisly reality of what they advocate.
“We aren’t treating two patients if abortion is an option,” Anna Higgins, an attorney who is a public policy expert on life issues, told me. “We should be treating mom and baby like two patients with various medical needs. Just like any other medical situation. Murder is a ridiculous and false ‘option.’”
Instead of facing the fact that abortion at 20 weeks is the willful euthanizing of an “inconvenient” child, late-term abortion proponents continue blaming “bad” laws rather than acknowledging the grim reality of what they support. And these advocates are prominent in our laws and public policy, not treated as distasteful fringe extremists. Clearly, our society’s ethics have stooped to a new low.
Sometimes there is more to being pro-life than seeing a child live to his 18th birthday. Being pro-life means we value life from natural birth to natural death. So if a mom has a baby with complex abnormalities who lives outside the womb for five minutes, it still demonstrates life is valuable in all stages and all forms. I wonder if Elizabeth would have experienced far less emotional distress, perhaps even some bittersweet moments, had she allowed her baby to be born naturally and had held him in her arms, no matter how briefly.