In a recent article for the Washington Examiner, two leaders of the anti-abortion group known as the Susan B. Anthony List brought up an inconvenient fact that far too many people forget: babies can and do survive third-trimester abortions.
It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the proceeding ethical dilemma is enough to make even abortion-rights activists check themselves. When physicians botch late-term abortions, any fetus past the point of viability may be born alive.
As Marjorie Dannenfelser and Tessa Longbons cite from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 143 babies died between 2003 and 2014 when born alive after botched abortions. And the CDC has acknowledged this figure might be only a fraction of the truth because most states fail to report such uncommon and unspeakable errors.
What is significant about these deaths is that the most common pro-abortion argument – the protection of the bodily autonomy of the mother – does not justify them. Once outside the womb, it’s impossible to reasonably claim that those 143 babies were infringing upon the mother’s body or living like a parasite within her because they weren’t.
Those 143 babies were practically indistinguishable from babies born naturally. Their size, their level of development, their environment, their degree of dependency – the only difference is whether or not they were wanted by their mother.
To argue that babies who survive abortions don’t deserve the most basic human right of all, the right to life is essentially to argue that human rights can depend upon another person’s opinion of you. It is a denial of the principles of all of Western civilization, and if taken to its logical conclusion could be used to justify murder, slavery, exploitation, genocide and nearly any other atrocious violation of human rights.
As a society, we have rejected the above-stated forms of oppression. We have rejected the notion that some human beings are worth more than others. We have rejected the idea that an individual’s life can be discounted based on his or her race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or ability. And as a society, we rightfully reject those who spout such ideas.
But not when it comes to so-called “after-birth abortion.” Instead, we elect people, right here in America, who vote in favor of what can only be called infanticide. The states of New York and Illinois have repealed legislation which previously protected babies born alive after abortion, and state governors in Montana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have vetoed proposed legislation of the same nature.
More than three-quarters of Americans oppose infanticide – a far greater number than those who oppose abortion. Why, then, can’t we come together and agree that infanticide is wrong? Why don’t our laws reflect our convictions?
Even those who defend abortion don’t support infanticide. But they won’t actually vote against it, because the argument against infanticide is really no different than the argument against abortion. To accept one is to accept the other, and to reject one is ultimately to reject the other. The bodily-autonomy argument which is used to justify abortion is little more than a smokescreen.
Whether you’re killing a human being inside or outside the womb, you’re still denying that human being his or her right to life. In America, we’re supposed to stand for human rights; we’re supposed to stand for liberty and justice for all. To stand for our own children would be a good place to start.
Ruth Moreno is a contributor to TheRichValdes.com