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The 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is a historic ruling that could change the course of the abortion debate and, with it, the course of our nation.
BY The Editors
decision of the Supreme Court upholding the federal ban on partial-birth
abortion is a historic ruling that could change the course of the abortion
debate and, with it, the course of our nation.
Or then again, it might be only a
temporary setback as the big business of abortion continues to get exactly what
it wants from American politics and jurisprudence.
It all depends on what pro-lifers do
Here are four suggestions we would
give pro-life Americans in the wake of Gonzalez v. Carhart. We plan to expand
on them in the weeks ahead.
1. Quote the court’s description of the
partial-birth abortion procedure.
To this day, many in the media want
to pretend that partial-birth abortion doesn’t really happen. They call it
“so-called partial-birth abortion” and find synonyms that make it sound less
heinous than it is.
But the majority opinion, written by
Justice Anthony Kennedy, should erase any doubt. It includes two descriptions
of the procedure: a clinical account from a doctor who has performed the
procedure, and an account from an observing nurse.
Here we’ll quote just the nurse. Her
words are graphic and horrifying, but pro-lifers should quote them, whenever
necessary, to tell the truth about abortion.
“Dr. Haskell went in with forceps
and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal,” quotes
the majority opinion of the Supreme Court. “Then he delivered the baby’s body
and the arms, everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside
the uterus. … The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his
little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his
head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch,
like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. The doctor opened up the
scissors, stuck a high powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the
baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. … He cut the umbilical
cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the
placenta and the instruments he had just used.”
2. Name the defenders of partial-birth
It’s hard to understand how someone
with a conscience could want to legalize the procedure that nurse describes. Her
description makes clear that partial-birth abortion isn’t a partisan issue
pitting one ideology against another. It’s an issue of common decency that
horrifies a majority of Americans in poll after poll.
All the same, politicians such as
U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and
Barack Obama, D-Ill., two leading candidates for president, have rushed to its
defense. They call this kind of killing a “constitutional right” and denounce
the high court for allowing their fellow Americans to ban it.
They have taken a shocking, radical,
barbaric position, and pro-lifers should continually remind Americans that this
is what they stand for.
3. Remind others why partial-birth
abortion should be illegal.
The court gave several reasons why
partial-birth abortion should be illegal, but two of them are crucial to
mention when explaining the decision to others: Abortion kills babies and harms
women. One section of the decision sums this up admirably.
“Respect for human life finds an
ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” says the
majority opinion of the Supreme Court. “While we find no reliable data to
measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to
regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.
Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.”
It’s important to stress this,
because America was a nation founded on the rights to life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness. We honor as national heroes those who have called us back
to those principles when they were out of favor — from slavery’s abolitionists
to the suffragettes to civil-rights heroes. Those who support the ban on
partial-birth abortion are the defenders of America’s founding principles in
4. Ban more procedures, immediately.
In 1997, when Congress first banned
partial-birth abortion, pro-abortion activists spoke candidly about their fears
that pro-lifers had hit on a winning strategy. Though Americans might be able
to stomach a message that emphasizes “choice,” most turn against abortion when
confronted with what that choice actually entails. Abortion activists were
certain that pro-lifers planned to start bringing up more and more procedures,
exposing the big business of abortion for what it is.
We didn’t follow
that strategy then, but we should now. The high court’s decision even suggests
that the court might now be receptive to further bans.
introduce a ban on other, equally heinous, abortion procedures, right away.
They should start with late-term procedures, but not stop there. Let’s describe
these “medical practices” in detail and find out if Americans think they should
be illegal or not.
We can’t afford to waste this opportunity
to advance the culture of life in America.