Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Baby Born Alive Is a Human Being

As a people, we’re polarized. In the Spherical Model, that means some of us prefer freedom, prosperity, and civilization, while others surprisingly prefer tyranny, poverty, and savagery. This is not an exaggeration.

This week Democrats in the Senate voted against protecting the life of babies after they are born. 

Ben Sasse, screen shot from here

There’s a history here for Democrats. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act has been law since 2002. It had been debated since 1999 or earlier. It says what law and most people already agreed on: a baby born alive is a human being, with all the rights and dignity of any other human—regardless of an intention to kill that baby before it was born. It didn't change existing law; it just defined "born alive" to mean a human person.

In 2002 it was a bi-partisan bill. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, called it unnecessary, but would support it anyway. He said, “The courts have been clear. There is no such thing as a right to a live-birth abortion. A baby born alive is a baby, a human being under the terms of the law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This bill merely restates that, so we have no problem with it.”

The term “live-birth abortion,” referred to by Nadler, was a term used for a procedure in which labor was induced, typically before viability, to cause the birth and subsequent inevitable death of the infant. Because this involved an actual born-alive infant, the preferred procedure became “partial-birth abortion.”

The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, 2000 version, describes the history and necessity of the bill in the “Purpose and Summary” section:

It has long been an accepted legal principle that infants who are born alive, at any stage of development, are persons who are entitled to the protections of the law. But recent changes in the legal and cultural landscape have brought this well-settled principle into question.
In Stenberg v. Carhart,[i] for example, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion, a procedure in which an abortionist delivers an unborn child’s body until only the head remains inside of the womb, punctures the back of the child’s skull with scissors, and sucks the child’s brains out before completing the delivery. What was described in Roe v. Wade as a right to abort ‘‘unborn children’’ has thus been extended by the Court to include the violent destruction of partially born children just inches from complete birth.
The Carhart Court considered the location of an infant’s body at the moment of death during a partial-birth abortion—delivered partly outside the body of the mother—to be of no legal significance in ruling on the constitutionality of the Nebraska law. Instead, implicit in the Carhart decision was the pernicious notion that a partially born infant’s entitlement to the protections of the law is dependent upon whether or not the partially born child’s mother wants the child.
Following Stenberg v. Carhart, on July 26, 2000, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit made that point explicit in Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer,[ii] in the course of striking down New Jersey’s partial-birth abortion ban. According to the Third Circuit, under Roe and Carhart, it is ‘‘nonsensical’’ and ‘‘based on semantic machinations’’ and ‘‘irrational line-drawing’’ for a legislature to conclude that an infant’s location in relation to his or her mother’s body has any relevance in determining whether that infant may be killed. Instead, the Farmer Court repudiated New Jersey’s classification of the prohibited procedure as being a ‘‘partial birth,’’ and concluded that a child’s status under the law, regardless of the child’s location, is dependent upon whether the mother intends to abort the child or to give birth. The Farmer Court stated that, in contrast to an infant whose mother intends to give birth, an infant who is killed during a partial-birth abortion is not entitled to the protections of the law because ‘‘[a] woman seeking an abortion is plainly not seeking to give birth.’’[iii]
The logical implications of Carhart and Farmer are both obvious and disturbing. Under the logic of these decisions, once a child is marked for abortion, it is wholly irrelevant whether that child emerges from the womb as a live baby. That child may still be treated as a non-entity, and would have not the slightest rights under the law—no right to receive medical care, to be sustained in life, or to receive any care at all. And if a child who survives an abortion and is born alive would have no claim to the protections of the law, there would, then, be no basis upon which the government may prohibit an abortionist from completely delivering an infant before killing the infant or leaving the infant to die. The ‘‘right to abortion,’’ under this logic, means nothing less than the right to a dead baby, no matter where the killing takes place.
Back when this was being debated, the arguments were little different from today. Even though this Act concerns only babies born alive, opponents argued either that it was irrelevant, because nobody wanted to kill live babies, and/or the bill was intended to curtail women’s rights by limiting Roe v. Wade.

Roe never concerned itself with viable fetuses. At the time, that was roughly considered the third trimester of pregnancy. So, according to Roe, states were always allowed to set restrictions on third-trimester abortions. The third trimester begins around 28 weeks. However, with improved technology and treatments, babies born at 24-25 weeks survive at much higher rates than they used to. And there’s a story of a baby born at 21 weeks who is now doing well at age 4.

That means states often base their abortion restrictions not on the strict date given in Roe, but on the general principle of viability. And further, many have recognized that the growing fetus experiences pain by 20 weeks, so that is a frequent line used in state abortion laws.

Roe was never intended to deal with live-born infants who survive abortions, so it has nothing to say about that.

The other argument, that it was irrelevant, wasn’t so then, and it isn’t so now.

There’s an exchange in the Senate, back in 1999, between Republican Senator Rick Santorum, who had sponsored the bill that year, and Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer. He is trying to get her to define “born,” and where that line is. What about if there’s still a foot inside the birth canal? She refuses to define, saying it’s obvious when a baby is born or not. After stonewalling multiple times and repeating that she supports Roe v. Wade, which was irrelevant, she finally claims to support a born-alive baby’s right to life:

Santorum: Good! All I am asking you is, once the baby leaves the mother’s birth canal and is through the vaginal orifice and is in the hands of the obstetrician, you would agree that you cannot abort, kill the baby?
Boxer: I would say when the baby is born, the baby is born, and would then have every right of every other human being living in this country. And I don’t know why this would even be a question, to be honest with you.
It was a question, and continues to be a question, because abortionists, regardless of the law, go ahead and kill born-alive babies. That was brought to our attention with Virginia Governor Northam’s description last month. While he has attempted to clarify, his clarifications do nothing to convince listeners that he wasn’t talking about infanticide; he seems tone deaf to the idea that people might object to killing a baby after birth that was intended to be killed before birth.

Senator Sasse referenced Governor Northam’s statement when proposing the new version of the law. His bill proposed rules and penalties, to define what care should be given and what penalties should ensue if care is not given. Because, how can a doctor who was moments before trying to kill a baby be trusted to give the newborn the utmost care?

As it was two decades ago, opponents insistently repeat that they support Roe v. Wade, which is still irrelevant to born babies. And they claim this is a non-issue that never comes up.

Except that testimony comes from actual survivors. One survivor, Melissa Ohden, now age 41, survived a saline abortion—in which there’s an injection of saline intended to burn the unborn baby inside and out, to kill it within 24 hours, after which the dead fetus is to be expelled from the body. Ohden survived that attempt to kill her. She is the founder of Abortion Survivors Network. There are many.

Melissa Ohden, abortion survivor
screen shot from here

If Northam is any clue, there would be many more, if they weren’t killed.

In a Fox News interview with Ben Sasse, interviewer Martha MacCallum referenced a young man she had interviewed a week or so earlier. He was born without arms. The doctor turned to the parents and said, “What do you want us to do?” meaning, should they go ahead and put him down, like you would a dog. The parents wanted him alive, and he lives a productive life today.

The question is, how much has this killing of live babies been done behind closed doors, without anyone speaking up? The Gosnell case was supposed to be an anomaly; Northam speaks about the things Gosnell was prosecuted for as simply a day’s work.

Senator Sasse said those who argued against the bill claimed it eroded a woman’s “right” to abortion and stood between her and the doctor. But, as with the 2002 Born-Alive Protection Act, it did nothing to touch abortion, because it was about born babies. The original 2002 bill defined “born alive,” and this bill defined penalties for failing to care for babies born alive.

While this was a pro-life bill, it was not an anti-abortion bill. But pro-abortionists are the ones who fear it. Everyone can see that the moment of birth doesn’t actually change the fetus into a baby, except by legal definition. That means the pro-abortionists have been pro-baby-killing all along.

The bill was defeated in the Senate in a 53-44 vote against cloture, which was short of the 60 votes needed to move the bill along.

Whatever the excuses, those voting against it were voting in favor of infanticide. They want a woman and her doctor to have the power to put to death an infant that has already been born and is alive. That idea was horrifying to both Democrats and Republicans back in 2002. Now the Democrats openly fight protecting infants who are born, alive, and breathing.

If there is something about the Democrat party philosophy that insists on baby killing as a basic tenet, then it is not possible to be a good person and be a Democrat. If any good people are still voting Democrat, they’d better step up and change their party, or leave it for good.

[i] 120 S. Ct. 2597 (2000).
[ii] 220 F.3d 127 (3rd Cir. 2000).
[iii] Id. at 143.

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