What Limits Will Pro-Choice Set?
by Tom Donelson on November 12, 2012 at 7:43 PM
When does abortion drift into infanticide and at what point does society have a right to say no to abortions? The other day, I thought of an exercise for readers to participate in. This is a theoretical exercise but the point is to show the true extremist. Let's begin with one reality, abortions in the third trimester are rare and depending on who you read and how it is defined, third trimester abortions could make up anywhere from 1000 to 15,000 abortions a year. Regardless, we are talking about only at most 2% of abortions, and most likely lower.
There is no doubt that many of these babies could be saved due to modern medical care if allowed to be born. This alone should convince anyone that if you don’t accept that an unborn child born in the first trimester is human, but only a potential human, then you can’t deny that an unborn child reaching the six months mark in his or her mother’s womb is.
So what would happen if the Pro-Life movement went to the pro-choice movement and stated the following:
“Look lets end the abortion debate and find common ground of agreement. So let’s do the following:
1. What if we allow abortions up to 24 weeks but any unborn child who survives six month in the mother’s womb would be granted constitutional rights as a person, and only if the life of the mother is truly involved could an abortion occur. Beyond that, the unborn child is granted constitutional rights.
What does this accomplish? First, it put limits on legal abortion and certainly, it is something that most Americans can agree with. The second, it provides constitutional protection to the unborn at a time that the baby is considered viable. As a neonatologist told a friend of mine, “We are saving the lives of babies that are being aborted in the clinic down the street.” What we see is a case of geography determining the life of a baby. If a premature baby is born, then that baby is considered human and deserving of life, but a child still in his or her mother’s womb is not granted similar rights. Considering aborting a third trimester abortion is not only gruesome but requires that the baby is partially born before being aborted or killed. As the late Senator Patrick Moynihan noted, this sound like infanticide and it is.
The problem is that society is moving forward to legalizing infanticide as Princeton's Peter Singer has made the case that parents can kill their baby after being born and views a baby as no more worthy of life than a cat or dog. This past year, a medical ethical journal published an article comparing infanticide to abortion and made the case that Peter Singer has made, infanticide is no worse than abortion, so who cares?
My point with this exercise is simple. If Pro-life activists were willing to allow 98 percent of all abortions to be performed, could we set limits on aborting what everyone agrees are viable? Here is my challenge to the pro-choice movement, tell me why abortions should be committed on viable unborn children for any reason other than to save the life of the mother? Is that too much to ask to outlaw only 2% of abortions happening today? (Note this is a theoretical exercise and not reflective of the position of the writer. The goal is force pro-choice advocates to set limits to abortion rights and define those limits.)