In America, we are entering a new chapter in the effort to protect life. Many of the old euphemisms obscuring the truth about abortion are fading and, for better or for worse, Americans no longer can avoid the truth.
Consider the events of the past few weeks:
On Jan. 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York signed a law legalizing abortion for the entire 40 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy — literally up until the moment of full-term delivery. Almost immediately, abortion advocates in Vermont, Rhode Island and Virginia began pushing similar laws.
On Jan. 30, Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia stated he would sign into law a bill allowing newborns to be “aborted.”
And on Monday night, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked a unanimous consent bill that would have protected newborn babies from this terrible fate.
In the past, abortion advocates based their arguments on “exceptional cases” — women who are pregnant from rape, mired in hopeless poverty, or facing life-threatening health complications. In the more recent past, the center of the pro-abortion ethos was the claim that having an abortion is not unlike getting your appendix removed: a minor medical procedure that deals with unnecessary tissue.
That was then. This is now. If there were any doubt about what kind of world abortion gives us, there is no longer.
The days of “safe, legal and rare” are far behind us. The gruesome records from Kermit Gosnell’s now-shuddered “House of Horrors” abortion business in Philadelphia are readily available online, detailing how women lost their lives and babies were murdered with scissors.
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However fiercely abortion advocates may cling to the claim that abortion is “safe,” the truth is that surgical abortion is a procedure that can put women’s lives in jeopardy. Chemical abortions such as RU-486 are no better for women. Many women report adverse reactions, including hemorrhage and serious infection.
All of this while we’ve made incredible advances in neonatal screening technology to make clear that a baby in the womb — even at very early stages of development — is much more than inanimate tissue. We know that just a few weeks after conception, a fetus moves, sleeps, wakes and responds to stimuli such as a mother’s voice. At an eight-week ultrasound, an expectant mother sees her baby’s head, body, arms and legs, and hears her baby’s heart beating. The images from an ultrasound are so compellingly human that most women considering abortion who see these images choose life.
All this has fundamentally changed the narrative about abortion. Abortion advocates have come to the unavoidable end of their own logic. They face a choice: either uphold the dignity of all human beings, including pre-born babies, or embrace a terrible calculus that ranks certain human lives as less valuable than others.
New York’s law and its counterparts authorize the destruction of a 39-week-old human being, with fingernails, hair and a distinctive face. Who can say this human being is not worth protecting? And if a life in the womb is not worth protecting, what about a life outside the womb? My life? Your life?
New York’s law is a terrible affront to the dignity of human life. If we can kill a baby in the womb, early in her development, what’s to stop us from killing her at any stage, including after birth? If we are comfortable with a chemical abortion at eight weeks, there is little to stop us from embracing a surgical abortion at 38 weeks.
As crushing as New York’s law is, it also presents an opportunity to look behind the curtain at the very heart of the arguments for abortion. The euphemisms have been swept away. Now every American who believes that all human life is a gift and a blessing worth protecting must be bold in speaking the truth.
We persist in defending life as a constitutional and a natural right. We are bold in telling a woman that she does have a choice — that she can give her baby life. And perhaps this law will go down in history as the beginning of the end of America’s disregard for the least among us.
LifeNews Note: Kristen Waggoner is senior vice president, U.S. legal division, for Alliance Defending Freedom.