If it weren’t for double standards, they would have no standards at all.
While we try to avoid a lot of political discussions in this venue, sometimes it can’t be helped. In a bizarre illustration of the circus that is the US Congress, last week Republicans in the US House of Representatives passed the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act”. This legislation requires that medical professionals provide the same care to an infant born alive after a failed abortion as they would for any infant delivered at the same gestational age and provides penalties for those who fail to do so. The bill also requires immediate transport and admission to a hospital. On its face, this doesn’t seem too controversial. After all, aside from the Church of Satan and the Aztec or Spartan Empires, very few people are in favor of infanticide. Or are they?
The legislation passed on a party-line vote, as the Republicans currently represent the majority in the US House. Of 212 House Democrats, 210 voted AGAINST the bill, with only one, Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Texas, voting for the bill and one, Vincente Gonzalez, representing the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, voting “present” (coward). So, essentially the near entirety of the House Democrats voted in favor of infanticide. That seems like it might be pretty hard to justify. Here is where the whole bizarre character of all this comes in.
Most Americans, even Democrats (aside from Congress), are opposed to late-term abortion and infanticide. About two-thirds of US adults (67%) feel that abortion should either be completely illegal, or should become illegal at some stage of pregnancy. Only 19% say abortion should be legal at all stages of pregnancy.(1) Of US Democrats, only 30% feel that abortion should be legal in all circumstances, without exception.(1) So, how do we go from 30% of the American public who identify as Democrats believing abortion should be legal in all instances to nearly 100% of House democrats believing abortion should be legal to beyond birth, that is, infanticide?
The excuses doled out by the House Democrats in voting for infanticide range from shallow, to laughable, to incomprehensible. On the House floor, Democratic Representative Suzanne Bonamici called the “born-alive” bill “extremist, dangerous and unnecessary.”(2) Dangerous to whom, aside from the infant? Semi-rational Democrats’ arguments center around the points of the bill being unnecessary, as infanticide is already illegal, and the fact that abortions after the point of viability, generally after 24 weeks gestation, are rare. I suppose both of those are true, although not legitimate reasons to oppose the bill. If everyone is on board with the illegality of infanticide, why the angst over another bill codifying it in the case of failed abortion and providing penalties for the perpetrators? Clearly, the House Democrats feel that, once an abortion is attempted, a surviving child is not an infant and not subject to laws regarding infanticide. Confusing, no? Late-term abortions are uncommon, constituting 0.9% of all abortions.(3) While that sounds like a smallish number, it means there are about 9300 late-term abortions in the US yearly (based on the data of the rabidly pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute).(4) Other estimates are higher, but around 10,000 late-term abortions per year doesn’t seem to be an insignificant number. Data about how many infants survive abortion attempts is also hard to come by, but the Abortion Survivor’s Network, an advocacy group, estimates that nearly 18,000 children have survived an attempted abortion since 1973.(5) Other estimates put the potential number of survivors of abortion in the US at over 44,000.(5) But the point is, dear readers, even if just one infant is born alive after an abortion attempt yearly, why shouldn’t that infant be saved? Along those same lines, even if a criminal event is rare, it is, nevertheless, a crime. Shouldn’t legislation say so? There is no numeric threshold for when an act becomes a crime. Murdering one person is just as illegal as murdering 10,000; the latter is just a large number of the same illegal act. The rarity of an illegal act does not preclude legislation against it.
While we are on the subject of rarity, recall that the pro-abortion crowd centers most of their arguments for abortion on the rare instances of rape and maternal health, which only constitute about 2% of all abortions.(6) So, on one hand, the born-alive legislation is unnecessary because the circumstance is rare, but abortion is necessary for rape and maternal health, even though those circumstances are rare.
If that double-standard is confusing, it is nothing compared to some of the other arguments of the House Dems, justifying their opposition to the Born-Alive bill.
Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler of New York objected to the part of the bill that instructs doctors to bring the struggling baby to the hospital after administering care.
“The problem with this bill is that it endangers some infants by stating that that infant must immediately be brought to the hospital,” he said. “It directs and mandates certain medical care that may not be appropriate.”(7) So, let me get this straight, the bill is bad because it endangers children by mandating they be brought to a hospital after surviving a failed abortion attempt? Now I understand why those people I see in the operating room do so poorly after being shot 4 times in the chest and abdomen; they should have just gone home for some milk and cookies instead. Frankly, I have to give Mr. Nadler credit. I am not sure how anyone with even minimal intelligence can make such a preposterous statement and keep a straight face.
In a similarly imbecilic vein, Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky argued that taking the child to the hospital after treatment could be harmful. The legislation “requires immediately taking a struggling baby to a hospital. That hospital could be hours away and could be detrimental to the life of that baby,” she said.(7) Huh? I didn’t realize that there were abortion clinics anywhere in the US that were hours away from these “dangerous” hospitals. But, if the hospitals are dangerous, why does it matter how far away they are? I should think, the farther the better.
And while we are on the subject of logical incongruities, Democratic Representative Hillary Scholten said, “As a pro-choice Christian who chose life, this issue is personal to me… When I read scripture, I turn to Jeremiah 1:5 which states ‘I knew you before I formed you and placed you in your mother’s womb.’ It doesn’t say the government’s womb.”(7) I don’t know, is it more offensive when religion is added to an already idiotic argument? It certainly puts “pro-choice Christian” right up there with “Catholics for Choice” and “devout Catholic Democratic politician” in the list of America’s silliest non-sequiturs.
The House also passed, on the same party-line, a measure condemning attacks against pro-life activities, groups and churches, which was similarly opposed by 209 of the 212 House Democrats. Recall that blocking access to an abortion clinic is a federal offense, but I guess burning down a crisis pregnancy center is ok.
Both measures now head to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where they will go nowhere. Even if they were to somehow pass the senate (about the same chance of winning the Powerball), the President has said he would veto any such legislation that comes to his desk. (As an aside, he said that in his mannerism of leaning forward and whispering into the microphone, “I’ll veto it”. Mr. President, I don’t know if someone told you that was a cool way of making a point, or if you came up with it, but it’s creepy and annoying. Please stop).
Opposing the resuscitation of newborn infants makes no sense, if one follows the usual pro-abortion arguments. Bodily autonomy, maternal health, rape, doctor-patient privacy are all invalid once the child is delivered. (Is it ok to use the word “child” for a newly-delivered infant? That’s another of the pro-abortion crowd’s tactics, to use euphemisms like “fetus” or “clump of cells”, instead of child. Perhaps, they would prefer, “really big clump of cells”). Similarly, it is difficult to imagine how caring for a newborn infant advances the GOP’s campaign to “ban abortion nationwide”, to paraphrase the Democratic scare language.
As we have previously said, defending the indefensible is hard. In fact, it is impossible. Hence all the euphemisms, twisted logic and straw-men. One would have more respect for the pro-death caucus that is the Democratic Party if they simply said, “we believe in the right to end human life at any point, for those unworthy of life”. When I say, at any point, I mean exactly that, at any point, pre-natal or post-natal. Indeed, the most common argument for late-term and partial-birth abortion is fetal anomaly or disability. Lebensunwertes leben, or “life unworthy of life” is not a new or forgotten concept. For whatever perverse reason, there is a force in the human psyche that desires power, and the ultimate power is the power of life and death over others. In assuming such power, one usurps what is only reserved for God and takes the place of God. That is the very definition of evil. I have to wonder if Satan is thinking, “Can it really be this easy?”
As we have said, over and over again, the Catholic position is clear, simple and true; all life, created in the image and likeness of God, is equally worthy and precious, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Anything else is both religiously and secularly inconsistent, leading to the euphemisms, illogic and slippery slopes we have discussed. Is it unfair, or hyperbole to think that things like the extermination of those unworthy of life, at any point in their lives, is possible in this society? Will “health care facilities” open “thantological centers”, where the disabled, elderly, frail, depressed and poor can be brought to “end their suffering”? Will thanatology become a new medical specialty?
At a time when 99% of the elected representatives in a political party refuse to affirm caring for newborn infants, nothing should be surprising.
May God have mercy on their souls.
George Mychaskiw II, DO, FAAP, FACOP, FASA
Saint Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering
School of Osteopathic Medicine