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A Hard Choice for the Pro-Choice

The way to trouble the pro-life advocate is to ask what he or she would do in the case of "rape or incest". That question tripped up at least two U.S. Senate candidates last fall and led to their defeats.

In a similar fashion, pro-choice advocates have a terrible problem with a question about late-term abortions. That difficulty has become especially acute now that the Gosnell trial has revealed the existence of after-birth abortions, an idea that literally was only the stuff of satirical invention a couple of decades ago. But in 1997 "ethicist" Steven Pinker of Harvard more or less defended the practice in an article in the New York Times. That helped break the taboo among some, though hardly all, progressives.

Regarding Gosnell, it is said that the disgusting conditions of his clinic, the insensitive, even cruel treatment of women there and the readiness to "snip" the spinal cords of babies born alive after an abortion attempt shows the need for better facilities under nicer conditions.

But the pro-choice folks don't seem eager to answer the morality question, what about babies born alive after a failed abortion? There aren't many, but then, there also aren't many babies conceived by rape or incest, either. Furthermore, there is a still larger population of babies ("fetuses", if you insist) who are aborted late in the pregnancy. This isn't theory or hypothesis.

And then there is another phenomenon coming to attention. The Roe v. Wade case is now 38 years old and we are beginning to meet some people or that age or younger who nearly were aborted--yet, one way or another, survived. They are adults and they have opinions. One is a Congressman from Indiana whose op-ed appeared in The Washington Times.

At Discovery Institute we ask the question (in various contexts), What does it mean to be human? Regarding abortion, for decades it was never about babies already born.Killing infants is what the Molochites did in the ancient Middle East. It has caused people to shudder ever since. But not any more?

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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