Democrats voted down the born-alive bill that would have given legal protection for infants that survive an abortion attempt. While pro-life advocates are enraged, Democrats claim there has been no real change in actual practice with the defeat of this bill. And they are right. Their decline in the respect for life is simply continuing to advance.
Regardless of where you stand on abortion, consider the implications for society. Seven years ago, William Saletan wrote: After-Birth Abortion: the pro-choice case for infanticide describing the logical case for infanticide presented by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. They claimed that we can morally justify after-birth abortions based on assumptions in our abortion laws. They challenged pro-choice advocates to find a logical argument against infanticide. In union with what seemed outrageous at the time, we are slipping closer to infanticide and have to face some unpleasant truths.
1) If abortion is ever okay, it’s always okay.
The Clinton term “safe, legal, and rare” was doomed from the start and is no longer used by most pro-choice advocates. Abortion either is or isn’t permissible. Either the fetus or unborn infant is part of the woman’s body and it's her right to do as she wishes, or it is a human life and should be protected.
If it is part of the woman’s body, there is no need for it to be rare, because it just involves her. The Democratic Party now uses the terms safe and legal but not rare and are actively trying to lift all restrictions on abortions. It is logically inconsistent to be pro-choice yet believe abortion needs to be rare.
2) Accepting abortion based on circumstance such as rape is not logical.
The circumstances do not justify an action. If you believe abortion to be wrong, the circumstances by which it is committed do not change the morality of the action. If I rob a bank in order to get money to feed my starving family, I still go jail if I get caught. Or even if I am innocent of a crime but attempt to escape prison, I am still held accountable.
3) Defining life by milestones such as a beating heart, or ability to feel pain, or a certain length of time in the pregnancy, are too subjective for universality.
At any given point in the pregnancy, there is really no tangible difference in the fetus from one day to the next. For example, if you consider a beating heart to be the defining moment of life, how can you say the fetus was any less of a fetus a matter of hours or minutes earlier? Developmental milestones do not change the essence of a being. A fetus at day 5 and at week 35 is still a fetus; just more developed.
4) We are much closer to legalizing after-birth abortions than we are to making abortion illegal.
Considering that the milestones of development are too subjective to be universally agreed upon, it seems safe to say these laws will not hold up over time in states that have approved them. If there is no difference between abortion on day 1 up until the day it’s born, at no point is there more or less of a life. The legal implications of the recent defeat of the bill to require care for a baby outside of the womb after an attempted abortion, set the precedence that being born no longer qualifies you as a human being deserving protection.
5) New definition of life.
Now, even outside of the womb as pro-abortion advocates have already been arguing, the desire of the mother defines the right to life.
6) It will not stop here.
You may be think, “Surely our country would never go that far,” but why not? Who could have anticipated the legalization of abortion 20 years before Roe vs Wade which is arguably a much greater jump in values?
Take an honest look at the logic of our laws and what happens if we follow that logic to its grisly end. If someone else (such as a mother or physician) is allowed to determine whether another being is allowed to live what are the implications? If we agree with the definition either implicitly or explicitly put forth by Giubilini and Minerva that “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her,” not only can we not protect the unborn and the newborn, but also our deformed and elderly.
As a pro-choice advocate, can you answer the challenge put to you by Saletan in his article and provide a logical rationale for why abortion should end after birth? Are you content allowing us to continue towards this path? Even if you 100% believe in the right for women to have an abortion, will it be worth the cost?
We must wake up to what is happening and act in every way that we can. Complacency or waiting while life is further devalued will further erode the values of our country and puts everyone at risk.
Cole McKeown is married to Teresa, the father to a one-year-old boy with another one on the way in July. He works as a physical therapist in Sleepy Eye Minnesota.