Though pro-choice supporter tries to convey abortion in terms of a mother’s rights, the result of every abortion is the end of a life; abortion is murder. Daily, thousands of babies are suctioned out of their mothers’ wombs through a procedure called abortion. Refused by their mothers and regarded as medical waste by their killers, both of whom the law protects, these babies seemingly have no right to protection or life themselves. As a matter of fact, society allows these babies to die silently, with no recognition or acknowledgment of their humanity.
Examples of such laws would be: notice to parents if their minor child is seeking an abortion; limiting abortions to “hard cases”; greater financial support for pregnant women and alternatives to abortion; women’s “right to know” laws informing them of risks, fetal development, and sources of support for alternatives to abortion; ultrasound pictures of her child offered to each woman; mandatory counseling by people who are independent of the abortion facility with a waiting period as happens in Germany; banning abortions after 12 weeks as in France.
Turning to Roe, I don’t want to re-hash arguments about its illegitimacy, since there really is a broad consensus in the legal profession that it is constitutionally unsound. Your incomplete explanation of Roe’s result does require a response, however. It’s true that subsequent Supreme Court cases threw out Roe’s trimester approach and replaced it with a dividing line based on the “viability” of the child (viability is of course not defined, and of course, all the children would be viable if they were left alone, but that’s another argument). But what you skim over is the fact that abortions are permitted after viability in this country.
After the child can live outside the womb, the child may still be aborted if the health of the mother is at risk. And the definition of health of the mother, under the Supreme Court’s rule, is “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient.” Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973). This definition is so broad that anyone who wants an abortion at any time before the birth of the child fits within the “health” exception.
And post-viability abortions do take place in this country for reasons unrelated to the normal understanding of health of the mother. In fact, the State of Michigan caused quite a stir last year by seeking to prosecute a certain Dr. Higuera for performing a post-viability abortion on a healthy woman without even asking why she wanted the abortion. He apparently believed there was no need to establish a “health” exception to abort a viable child.
Indeed, given the Court’s definition, what would a “non-health” reason be? According to news reports, the woman aborted her child in the 7th month of pregnancy because she was no longer married to the child’s father and already had other children. Had the doctor bothered to ask her and record this information, there is no doubt that this reason would qualify as a health exception under the Supreme Court’s definition. No one would have even known about this doctor’s practice except that a nurse working for him finally became so disgusted by the doctor’s regular post-viability abortions that she reported him to authorities. The doctor pled guilty to altering medical records and the state dropped the charge of illegal abortion.
Forty states have post-viability abortion laws on their books, but all of them must be interpreted to include the Supreme Court’s definition of “health” which permits abortion for any reason. There are almost 10,000 abortions of viable babies reported in this country every year, along with an unknown number of unreported cases, such as Dr. Higuera’s. Guess who went to jail in the case of Dr. Higuera? No one. And, regrettably, as you point out, this child died unloved.
Probably disposed of as medical waste, and without the dignity of even a name. There are, however, monuments across the country in memory of unborn children who have died or were aborted, and every Catholic cemetery has a section for the bodies of miscarried children. Cardinal Bernardin once held a memorial Mass and burial for aborted children whose bodies were found in a dumpster, an act of charity that was greeted with derision by those who must maintain that unborn children are utterly worthless.
The legal maxim is that “hard cases make bad laws.” According to Planned Parenthood’s research, which is usually considered accurate because they are the largest abortion provider in the country, between 3 and 4 % of U.S. abortions are done for reasons of rape, incest, or health fears combined. The other 96 – 97 % of abortions, again according to Planned Parenthood, are performed because the mother does not want to have a child for various social reasons.
Your hypothetical concerns a 13-year old girl who has been raped by her father. How would such a case be handled today? Well, this child could enter an abortion clinic anywhere in Illinois and have an abortion without any adult being notified. No one will know that she has undergone surgery, so no one will be alert to possible complications. The police need not be notified if the girl is too afraid to tell, so her father will be free to rape her again. In fact, her father could take her to the clinic himself to cover up his crime.
Most people would likely support abortion in this and other “hard cases” even though there is research indicating that women who carry a child conceived in rape to term suffer fewer emotional problems than those who abort. And, even though there are many, many adult people who were themselves conceived in rape who argue that they did not deserve to be punished for their father’s crime. While I do know there are heartbreaking cases such as this that happen from time to time, they are very few. There is nothing that can erase the suffering of a child who has been raped. But I really believe that abortion poses more physical and emotional risks to the child, and that it is also an injustice to the life of an innocent human being.
Since most people seem to disagree with me, and would support abortion in this case, I would probably not be successful in efforts to protect the life of children conceived in rape or those in other “hard cases.” While I still believe that these human beings deserve protection, I would be more than willing to work towards a world where only “hard case” abortions are permitted. Why? Because, in the end, I think there would be fewer people seeking to abort even in cases involving hardships once the norm becomes respect for the dignity and humanity of the unborn.
You can say you don’t accept my answer on jailing women for abortion if you wish, it doesn’t change my views. As an empirical matter, women were not prosecuted under U.S. abortion laws when they were in effect, and compared to the situation today, abortion was very rare. Pro-choice belief that there is no reason to ban partial-birth abortions other than the fact that they are “gross” is interesting, but last I heard there was no constitutional prohibition on passing laws because people find something to be gross.
The states claimed the laws were needed because they found it degrading to the medical profession to permit a doctor to kill a squirming baby he was holding in his hands. They also argued that once a child is almost completely outside a woman’s body, her right to have the child killed ends. Her “pregnancy” can be “terminated” without “terminating” the baby with a scissors to the head.
The Supreme Court in its wisdom disagreed. I guess that’s what passes for serene judicial “balancing of conflicting rights claims.” In case you haven’t noticed, the balance is as follows: baby always loses, abortion always wins. When contraception and abortion are made readily available, do the rates of pregnancy, abortion, and birth increase or decrease compared to the time before they were available? Why do researchers believe this is so? And what percentage of those seeking an abortion report having used contraception when they became pregnant?
What percentage of women having abortions last year had already had at least one previous abortion? How much higher is the death rate for women in the year following an abortion compared to the death rate for women in the year following the birth of a child? Is giving birth to a child therefore safer than having an abortion? How much does a woman increase her risk of developing breast cancer by having an abortion? Why aren’t women informed of these risks?
Most importantly all lives matter even if it is just a baby in the womb. That baby has a heart beat and I feel like that speaks for itself. Murder is murder even if it is a baby that is not born yet. All in all, I feel like abortion is murder and it needs to be stopped. There should be a law that is against abortion because every life is important, and everyone deserves to be able to live the life they have been given.