Killing babies

Partial birth abortion bears a far greater resemblance to infanticide than it does even to abortion. No reasonable person can disagree, once he or she has read a description or seen an accurate drawing of the partial-birth abortion method: it is one-fifth abortion and four-fifths infanticide. It kills a child when 80% of his or her body is already outside the womb. And there should certainly be a moral and legal consensus in our country that infanticide is a crime and that it cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. This, the partial-birth abortion, is the slippery slope many have warned of for years. It was abortion advocates who established the moment of “birth,” the moment the child begins to exit the mother’s womb, as the dividing line between legal and illegal destruction of human life. In fact, when abortion advocates attacked every other provision of the Texas abortion law in Roe v. Wade, the one provision they did not attack was a criminal ban on the killing of a child who had begun to leave the womb. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 117n. 1(1973). In fact, that law remains on the books in Texas today. But the pro-life community warned that it would not be long before the same arguments used to justify killng the unborn would be used to justify killing born humans. And for a time,the Supreme Court itself slid a considerable distance down that slope, invalidating even laws requiring a physician to care for children who have survived an abortion attempt. Noting this trend, one commentator said that the Court had begun to treat the event of birth “as somewhat like a state bordcr, which an officer of one jurisdiction may disregard if he is following a fugitive in hot pursuit.” (James Burtchaell, “How Much is A Child Worth?: From Abortion to Infanticide,” in Rachel Weeping and Other Essays on Abortion (Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel 1982) p.288). Such extremism has since been tempered by the Court in Webster and Casey — but its spirit lives on among the leaders of the legal abortion movement and members of the abortion industry. If partial-birth abortions remain legal, if this Congress allows them to continue, what could be next on this slippery slope? Killing children who have emerged from the womb 3 or 4 inches more? That is, children completely born, but still attached by an umbilical cord? Killing them a few minutes after complete birth? Or maybe a few hours later, when a doctor has had the opportunity to determine if the child suffers any disabilities? All of these have already been suggested by scholarly writers who support late-term abortions.