Our National Disgrace: Senate Fails to Pass Abortion Bill


Courtesy of NYT.com

Our National Disgrace: Senate Fails to Pass Abortion Bill

By: Dartanyan Edmonds

The historical narrative of modernity is one of unfettered progress. We pride ourselves on the political, scientific and technological accomplishments of our age.  In the modern view of civilization, the ancients and medievals were primitive and backwards people who simply didn’t have the access to science that we have today, so we are much better than they were.  We are less cruel than the ancients and less savage than the scholastics.  We don’t subject people to witch trials or launch wars over religion or subject heretics to the Inquisition’s sword.  

We have made meaningful progress and the mores from the past are worth forgetting.  We no longer need religion or Aristotelian metaphysics to explain the deepest truths about ourselves.  Or at least, we tell ourselves that even though this narrative is simplistic at best. While we modern Westerners have progressed in many respects, we haven’t ridden ourselves of our brutality and savagery.  I submit that we have only blessed it with the surgeon’s sanction, hidden it behind the doors of the clinic and clothed it with the doctor’s cloak.    

 That’s right, folks. I’m talking about abortion. I’ve written about abortion in these pages before and didn’t think that I would revisit the subject just yet, but given the passing of the 45th March for Life and the recent anti-abortion bill’s failure, I figured that now would be a good time to resurrect the issue. Last Monday, the Senate failed to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that was aimed at banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy- the point in a pregnancy when it is believed that fetuses can experience pain.  The bill was introduced in the House and passed, but failed to obtain the 60 votes needed for it to pass in the Senate. 

 Among those who sank the bill was Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, who tweeted hours before the vote that he wouldn’t support the measure.  

“The Senate votes tonight on a proposed 20-week abortion ban,” he tweeted. “I believe this bill violates a woman’s protected constitutional rights, and I will vote no.”  

I’m sure that the senator’s sentiments aren’t substantially different from those of many readers of this paper.  For pro-choicers, abortion is a women’s sacrosanct right, a declaration of her privacy and bodily autonomy.  Her body is essentially her property and the fetus, by living inside of her, is her property as well, the pro-choicers tell us.  Therefore, she has a right to end her pregnancy.

But there is a glaring problem with this point of view: it’s scientifically untenable. The fetus is a biologically distinct human organism within its mother’s womb.  Though dependent on its mother for sustenance, it has its own life, its own genetic coding and will become an adult human if left to grow naturally.  As I argued in these pages last year, given these realities about the fetus, the argument that a fetus is just a clump of cells and not a human being is weak tea.  There’s no good reason why a viable fetus is more human than a non-viable one, no good reason why it shouldn’t be considered a human being and therefore no good reason to deny unborn children their right to life and equal protection under the law. 

That last point is especially salient given the barbarous nature of late-term abortion.  Late-term abortion procedures are too graphic to be described in detail here. According to Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist, second trimester abortions consist not just of the removal of the unborn child from her mother’s womb, but her dismemberment. Third trimester abortions are no more merciful.  Levatino relates that the child is usually delivered as a stillborn after having been poisoned. That these procedures occur when the child can feel pain only makes them more inhumane.  

Let’s be clear: I believe that many pro-choicers are well meaning and truly believe that they aren’t supporting the destruction of innocent human life, but a woman’s right to choose.  But when the fetus can feel pain as she is being pulled apart in her mother’s womb, there’s more than enough reason to argue that advocacy for late-term abortion is indifferent to the humanity of  unborn children.  Legal late-term abortion is a declaration that the most innocent and vulnerable human beings, even when they are capable of feeling pain, are worthless. That a practice as inhumane as late-term abortion legally occurs in only seven countries- including China and North Korea, some of the most inhumane regimes on the planet, should come as no surprise. That it happens in the leading country of the free world, championed as a beacon of scientific and cultural progress, is nothing short of a national disgrace.