What Difference Is There Between Late-Term Abortion and Infanticde?

Opinion   |   Anna Higgins   |   Jun 26, 2013   |   5:03PM   |   Washington, DC

This will be my last blog post for a few weeks as I prepare to welcome my first child into the world this weekend. Amidst all the anxiety, preparation, and excitement, I am struck by the stark dichotomy that exists in the treatment of “wanted” and supposedly “unwanted” children.

Were he to have been born prematurely or diagnosed in the womb some kind of dangerous medical issue, my son would be given all the life-saving treatment from the best doctors available in the world today – based on the premise that I, his mother, decided he is wanted. If I were to decide for any reason that I no longer wished to give birth to my child, I would be allowed to abort him – no questions asked – up to my ninth month of pregnancy in some states.  It is a reality in this country that an unborn child, for any reason, can be gruesomely murdered inside the womb on the whim of a woman’s “choice.”

What is the difference between aborting an unborn child late in pregnancy and killing him after he is born?

This is the question those who insist on elective abortion refuse to answer. They cannot answer it because the only answer available is unacceptable and inhumane. The truth is that there is no difference.  If one can draw an arbitrary line at “viability” or at any other stage in pregnancy at which it is acceptable to abort a child, then what prevents that line from being drawn later on, even after birth?

Killing a child born alive after a “failed” abortion is illegal, because it has not yet become socially acceptable to kill infants born alive. However, just as this country has come to embrace some of the most liberal late-term and inhumane abortion practices in the world, there will no doubt come a point at which people will begin to accept the killing of certain persons outside the womb as necessary and legal. This slippery slope is inevitable unless we embrace the concept that the inalienable right to life applies to all persons at every stage of development. As we work to that end, we have seen very encouraging steps taken to protect innocent life in the federal government and on the state level.

So far this year we have seen over 70 pro-life measures passed on the state level, adding to the record-breaking 130 pieces of pro-life legislation passed in 2011-2012. Most recently, on the federal level, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, the point at which an unborn child can feel pain. This is a courageous step that will serve as an impetus for states to enact similar measures.

Several states have already enacted such measures and Texas is voting on a bill this week that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Other pro-life measures passed this year on the state level include requirements that physicians performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges, ultrasound requirements prior to abortions, stronger informed consent for mothers considering abortion, and massive overhauls of abortion clinic regulation.

I join with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) when she spoke as a woman and mother in the floor debate over the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

“There is no such thing as an unwanted child… . And women deserve better than abortion. Unborn children deserve their inalienable right to life. Pregnancy is wonderful. It can be difficult too. That’s why we need to show patience and compassion toward every woman as they carry a human life. We are, indeed, treading upon sacred ground. But it’s because we’re dealing with the sanctity of every human life.”

It is possible to care for both a woman and a child during pregnancy and after birth. There is no need to sacrifice our children because we claim they are “unwanted” or because our circumstances may be difficult. The answer is to honor all life and to dedicate our time and efforts to serving women in crisis – with material, emotional, and spiritual support. We must make room for every child and every woman in need, because all lives are unique, precious, and created in the image of God.

LifeNews Note: Anna Higgins writes for the Family Research Council blog and she is director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.