Thursday, July 25, 2013

Texas Heralds the Inevitable Abolition of Late-Term Abortion

This article first appeared at Red Pill Report, found here.

Abortion advocates and their various political arms like Planned Parenthood sent troops from all around the country to the frontlines in Austin, Texas, where Wendy Davis rallied the pro-abortion base to once again defend their sacred institution. 

To say the least, the protesters didn’t exactly paint the pro-abortion crowd in an appealing light.  Honestly, just how many Americans are you endearing to your cause by having young girls hold signs saying “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d f*** a Senator,” or chanting “Hail Satan!” over a group of people singing Amazing Grace?  Even the UK Church of Satan took offense to the latter, denouncing invocations of their Dark Lord’s name for such “diabolical” purposes. 

These protesters did, however, serve the intended purpose-- for a brief moment.

Their attendance outwardly presented widespread opposition to restrictive abortion laws for the news cameras, but more importantly, the spectacle deterred focus from what abortion advocates were actually arguing to preserve in Texas.  Keeping the argument vaguely about “choice” or “women’s rights” is a necessity, because the orchestrators of the pro-abortion agenda know what would happen if broad swathes of Americans choose to focus on what the debate is really about -- what to do with the life inside a mother’s womb at 20-weeks’ gestation and beyond. 

These pro-abortion advocates’ ethically inarguable position is that such a life can, and should be, legally ended on a mother’s whim.

Not-so-questionable humanity

At 20 weeks, a fetus can hardly be described as an inanimate lump of tissue.
“Ready for your big 20-week ultrasound?” asks writer Sarah Cohen in her piece for women’s website She Knows, titled “Say Hello to Baby.”  “Ultrasound technology has improved a lot since its advent,” she goes on.  “If Baby cooperates, you can see fingers, toes, a spine, and even a little face!  Also, you may be able to see the baby’s anatomy.”

In other words, the baby at 20-weeks’ gestation looks a lot like a human, right down to gender identity.  
According to noted abortion champion Michelle Goldberg, this can be “problematic” for the pro-abortion cause because “once a fetus has gestated to five or six months, most people, whatever their politics, can see its inherent human value.”  And for some crazy reason, “most people, whatever their politics,” have an innate aversion to killing living things with “inherent human value.”

The problem, which she recognizes, is that the argument that this “human value” should be legally snuffed out by a woman’s “choice” offers pretty thin gruel for most Americans. 

“No pain? No problem!”

As the argument goes: “Fetuses don’t feel pain” at 20 weeks, and therefore the moral issue is overstated, because the fetus can’t feel its termination or the forceful extraction from its mother’s womb.
It’s important that this argument be understood in the proper context.  Admittedly, this argument has recently been a response to Republicans having cited studies, in the wake of the Gosnell case, showing that fetuses do feel pain at 22 weeks, which led to consideration of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the House, for example.  Pro-abortion advocates suggest that these studies are false, and that fetuses don’t feel pain until later in pregnancy. 

Studies exist to suggest that both arguments could be scientifically correct. (Here and here, for example.)  But the more pressing question is, what is each argument’s end? 

The pro-life argument is that if fetuses at 20-weeks’ gestation may feel pain, it is morally reprehensible to subject them to such pain as would be involved in the abortion process.  (Morally reprehensible beyond stopping its heart and forcibly extracting it, that is.)  This is a sound argument, and indeed, it is understandably so in nearly any estimation. 

The pro-abortion argument, however, is that if a fetus cannot feel pain, it is worthy of legal termination if a woman so “chooses,” for whatever reason.  For this to be true, we would have to assume that feeling pain is the singular metric that signifies a life worthy of existence, which is a wholly false assertion by any reasonable estimation.  Sensory receptors required for touch and pain are no more required for a person to be deemed worthy of life than the sense of smell, taste, sight, or hearing.

And indeed, if elements of sensory perception are convincing metrics suggesting human life, fetuses at 20 weeks are hardly devoid of such elements. His or her brain is rapidly developing the nerve centers dedicated to the senses by this point, responding to a pronounced changes in lighting, the sounds in the environment, and even the taste of amniotic fluid.

Too few to matter

So we can determine that most Americans would recognize that babies at 20 weeks’ gestation are small humans -- if they were to focus on what, exactly, is inside a mother’s womb by that point of a pregnancy.  And we’ve established that whether or not a fetus feels pain should be rather inconsequential, unless you’re making an unreasonable rebuttal to a silence a reasonable argument.  Why, then, do abortion advocates argue that late-term abortions should be legal? 

They just don’t happen that often -- only 1.5% of abortions are late-term, abortion advocates often claim. 
It sounds so casual to say “only 1.5%,” but it is worth noting, again and again, that with over one million abortions per annum in America, this is more than 15,000 babies that will never exist on this Earth because abortionists brutally confiscated their bodies from a mother’s natural sanctuary.  Again, if it can be reasonably assumed that a fetus at 20 weeks has “inherent human value,” destroying that value is tantamount to murder.  And for context, consider that this small percentage alone is roughly on par with annual murder levels in America in recent years. 

This “1.5%” is hardly insignificant by practical measures.

The protections of Roe v. Wade

For years, Roe v. Wade has been thought to protect the institution of abortion, the legal refuge of its supporters.  But in an interesting twist of fate, Roe v. Wade now serves as protection for states like Texas in curtailing abortion.

Without question, in my opinion, Roe v. Wade was an example (if not the example) of unconstitutional judicial activism, which I argue in detail here, and my opinion aligns closely with that of Justice White who wrote the dissenting opinion: “The Court simply fashion[ed] and announce[d] a new Constitutional right for pregnant women.”   But the decision does leave considerable power with the states to do precisely what Texas is now doing in terms of late-term abortion.  After the first trimester, states can reasonably define a point of assumed “viability” and protect the “potential life” in the womb by “proscribing abortion,” so long as the proscription does not directly endanger the life of the mother.

Far too few Americans are aware of these limitations in Roe v. Wade, and the most glaringly ignorant are pro-abortion zealots. Whether or not the courts will decide to honor the ruling and precedent if any Texas’ legislation comes under judicial review, however, is yet to be seen.

An unwinnable argument

Late-term abortion advocates are losing, and will continue to lose this debate.  The ramparts from which they mount their moral and scientific defense of the practice are easily reduced to rubble in honest debate, which is why they typically avoid honest debate like the plague.  Any legal defense of a state ban on late-term abortion is equally untenable.  So they resort to their time-honored tactic of broadly invoking “choice” to justify late-term abortion, a tactic which Kate Pickert of Time magazine calls “a stance that seems tone-deaf to current reality.”

Late-term abortion lobbyists like Wendy Davis, with her theatrics and her circus troupe in tow, could offer only a temporary distraction from the truth about the unquestionably abhorrent nature of late-term abortion.  Technology and a persistent morality have allowed the terrible truth about late-term abortion to seep into our social conscience, and rightfully, millions of Americans are addressing it at the state level in efforts to end the practice.

Sideshows like the one in Austin, and other such desperate attempts to avert the inevitable, won't do anything to change that.  

William Sullivan can be followed on Twitter.

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