Last week, a spokesperson for the Queens district attorney’s office announced that a New York man accused of stabbing his pregnant girlfriend to death repeatedly in the abdomen and neck would not be charged with second-degree abortion due to the repeal of that statute in the recently passed Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which expanded abortion access to the point of birth in the state.
Not an ounce of the justice due to the unborn child of Jennifer Irigoyen will be sought, all because pro-death officials elected by New Yorkers have succeeded in their mission to define all pre-born human life in their state as disposable non-persons.
Pro-lifers often criticize pro-choice language as myopically, disingenuously focused on “a woman and her doctor.” We assert that a child is involved, too––a child who is being killed. We point out the value of pre-born life and “the mother-child bond,” but in our zeal for saving pre-born babies from abortion, we often unwittingly restrict our focus to what happens in the surgical room of abortion clinics and the doctors’ offices that prescribe abortifacients.
This Culture Of Death Hurts Us All
The truth, however, is that the culture of death pervades much, much more than abortion policy itself, abortion rates, or American attitudes on abortion. Without even bringing in the many parallel dangers of assisted suicide that pose another underestimated threat to the culture of life, consider how pro-abortion ideology results in more tragedy and injustice than just an aborted baby and abortion regret.
New York’s RHA, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo just weeks ago, is a prime example. As mentioned above, a baby who died as a result of his mother being stabbed in the abdomen is perhaps the first victim of the law not directly related to legal abortion. This is just the first of many injustices that will result, either directly or indirectly, from this law.
So far, the media coverage of the new law has been almost exclusively focused on its removal of virtually all restrictions on abortion. That is evil enough, of course. But the bill passed two other equally heinous reforms: First, it redefined a victim of homicide as “a human being who has been born and is alive.”
In keeping with this definition, the RHA repealed seven statutes relating to criminal abortion, including self-abortion in the first and second degree (Class A and B misdemeanors, respectively), and abortion in the first and second degree (Class D and E felonies, respectively). This latter repeal is why the murderer of baby Irigoyen will not be punished for his heinously evil deed.
Also among the repealed criminal laws: the abortion of a pre-born child, 24 weeks or older, if the cause of death of the pregnant woman, which was formerly considered first-degree manslaughter (Article 125.20 subdivision 3 of the penal law), and causing the death of a mother in an effort to abort a child at any point during pregnancy was considered second-degree manslaughter (Article 125.15 subdivision 2).
The law’s second blatant piece of barbarism is the repeal of section 4164 of the public health law, which repeals all rights and protections for aborted children older than 20 weeks who are born alive. They need not receive any care at all. Their deaths don’t even have to be documented before they can be chucked into the medical waste bin.
I will post this repealed provision here in its entirety so you don’t have to take my word for it:
When an abortion is to be performed after the twelfth week of pregnancy it shall be performed only in a hospital and only on an in-patient basis. When an abortion is to be performed after the twentieth week of pregnancy, a physician other than the physician performing the abortion shall be in attendance to take control of and to provide immediate medical care for any live birth that is the result of the abortion. The commissioner of health is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to insure the health and safety of the mother and the viable child, in such instances: Such child shall be accorded immediate legal protection under the laws of the state of New York, including but not limited to applicable provisions of the social services law, article five of the civil rights law and the penal law. The medical records of all life-sustaining efforts put forth for such a live aborted birth, their failure or success, shall be kept by attending physician. All other vital statistics requirements in the public health law shall be complied with in regard to such aborted child. In the event of the subsequent death of the aborted child, the disposal of the dead body shall be in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
Disposal Of Babies As Medical Waste
To sum it up, the RHA has doomed New York children born alive after an attempted late-term abortion to short lives of suffering and neglect, followed by their bodies’ disposal as medical waste, without so much as an official acknowledgment that they existed as unique human individuals.
Perhaps a hospital would issue a birth or death certificate to the mother, but they are now released from the requirement to do so. Since the RHA also allows abortions after 12 weeks to be performed outside hospitals, a child who is born alive at an abortion clinic but then dies almost certainly isn’t going to be recognized in official documentation as a unique individual.
Most of the language in the RHA is devoted to repealing protections and provisions for justice for pre-born babies and aborted babies who are born alive. The establishment of abortion as legal up to birth for protecting the “life or health” of the mother (which equates to elective abortion due to the absurd reasoning of Doe v. Bolton) is only one short paragraph.
This law was not an eclectic assortment of various repeals and amendments only loosely related to one another. The entire bill was designed to dehumanize all pre-born babies and all victims of abortion, whether they come out of their mothers dead or alive. It is rigorously consistent in its assertion that these children have no value whatsoever, because that is what pro-abortion ideology requires to survive.
For an abortion regime to endure in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence that pre-born life is as human as born life, for it to anchor itself firmly in our laws in spite of our Judeo-Christian heritage that sees humans as intrinsically valuable and endowed with the right to life, it must drive a stake into every other area of policy in which babies younger than approximately nine months post-conception are seen as more than mere “pregnancy tissue.”
Abortion policies, especially those as radical as the RHA, cannot remain forever in the face of such blatant inconsistencies as fetal homicide laws and required care for infants born alive after abortion.
Devaluing Young Human Life Harms Struggling Preemies
Those policies have a ripple effect into prenatal care and care for premature infants who were not victims of abortion. Hospitals in Indiana and Ohio have refused to care for extremely premature infants due to their states’ subjective views of viability, despite desperate pleas from their mother.
Women have been pressured to abort babies with abnormalities or difficult pregnancies to the point of others scheduling the abortion without their express consent and trying to scare them with all the potential problems their child may face. They face this pressure because abortion has become the first “solution” to the problem of a difficult pregnancy, simply because it is legal and ostensibly more convenient and less expensive than giving birth and trying to potentially raise a disabled child, or trying to balance cancer treatment with preserving the baby’s health.
The tragedy doesn’t even end at the deaths of pre-born babies with abnormalities––the effect of killing off the vast majority of certain populations, as Denmark and the Netherlands have done with Down Syndrome, is a drastic decrease in quality of life for the few who are allowed to live due to scarce resources and an ever-increasing pressure for women to abort a baby with that diagnosis. If nearly every baby of a certain diagnosis is aborted, there is little incentive to develop treatments and therapy for those conditions, much less make them affordable. These are the consequences of legal abortion.
Our ability to persuade doesn’t lie only in the fact that pre-born lives are separate and unique human individuals and therefore shouldn’t be killed. The fact that admitting abortion into our culture means admitting all its logical consequences––including a complete dehumanization of multiple classes of human beings––is a powerful message that is drastically under-delivered.
When we consider the impact of abortion laws, we must think beyond just the abortion clinic. If we do not uproot legal abortion in its entirety, its poison will corrupt the culture of life completely.