Along the Tracks

Friday, October 10, 2003

A frightening ruling

NRO may be on silent running when it comes to the Nobel Prize, but The Corner is always an informative stop. Today, Kathryn Lopez links to this column from the Illinois Leader (no ties to my Leader, but good name). An Illinois judge has ruled you can’t be convicted of murdering a live-born baby if the umbilical cord is still attached, because the child has not yet “established a separate and independent life.”

So, all you moms and dads out there: Remember when the pediatrician brought your baby out, wiped the child off and then set the bundle of joy on mama’s belly? Remember those eyes squinting in their first view of light? Remember those first cries, followed by little coos? Remember arms and legs moving around, pushing, exploring? Remember when daddy was handed the scissors to cut the umbilical cord?

FREEZE FRAME RIGHT THERE. All you saw and felt up to this point was nothing but a blob of flesh, a growth with no more moral value or standing than the placenta soon to come after. That’s what Cook County Circuit Court Judge Karen Thompson has ruled. Most extreme abortion rights activists are in full agreement, and are fighting laws which bestow the designation “human” on these masses of cells deviously shaped like children, moving around, making noises, breathing and all.

I am not an “anti-abortionist,” mind you. I believe energy should be placed in providing alternatives when unwanted pregnancies occur, and more importantly, limiting unwanted pregnancies through education and birth control options. Sometimes, for health reasons, an abortion is necessary. And in there is a great debate about the threshold where “human life” begins. Reasonable people can disagree about that, but I think the woman should be the ultimate decision maker in that “gray area,” certainly the first trimester, and possibly most of the second. Beyond that, there is no legitimate argument - other than serious health concerns for the mother - for choosing to abort a viable fetus. Third trimester abortions should be outlawed (except for health reasons).

The abortion rights extremists are moving the line in the opposite direction - and the results are more frightening by the day. I was shocked when the partial-birth, head-implosion procedure was defended. Then I was shocked when abortion rights groups fought charging abusers with murder when wanted, unborn children were killed. Then I was shocked when extremists fought against “born alive” laws, which stop the despicable practice of allowing live born children who are “aborted” to die of exposure, lethal injection or whatever blunt instrument is handy. This Illinois ruling - sure to be trumpeted as “cutting edge” by the abortion lobby - has now extended abortion to include killing babies outside the womb.

But why would anyone believe they’ll end it there? Babies are hardly more “independent” after the cord is cut than they were before. If breathing and crying don’t yet make the cell mass a baby, what difference does a direct physical connection make? Why not extend “abortion” rights to the full time the baby is nursing? Not nursing the baby? Then reliance on formula will do. That gets us to a year past birth. Hey, I’ll bet they can convince some whacked judge that toddlers aren’t independent enough to be considered “human.” After all, they need to be fed, clothed, cleaned, kept out of danger - why, their no different than my foot! That should get us to kindergarten at least. Economic dependence is really just an extension of physical dependence. Somewhere, lawyers are constructing an argument that kids not yet gainfully employed are not independent humans, and can therefore be “aborted.” They might fight back, though ... better get those crack (crackhead?) doctors developing new procedures. And just why should “abortion” be limited to minors? There are plenty of unemployed, mentally ill, addicted, imprisoned, disabled and elderly who don’t fit the definition of “independent,” economically speaking.

PAGING DR. KEVORKIAN! Oh, wait, he’s in prison. Well, he might as well get in line. We’ll need to “abort” him, too.

I know, I know - “slippery slope.” Well, we’ve already slid out of the womb and into the mother’s arms. How much farther need we go until civilized people realize this hill stretches a long, long way.

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