The student weekly of St. Olaf | Sunday, September 14, 2014 | Subscribe
ISSUE 117 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/31/2003

Late-term abortions ended: Ban saves many infants

By Hannah Woldum
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 31, 2003

On Oct. 23, a Senate vote of 64-34 passed a bill to ban partial-birth abortion. This bill, approved earlier by the House of Representatives, will now proceed to President Bush, who intends to sign it into law. This will be the first federal law to be passed prohibiting any kind of abortion since Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

“Partial-birth abortion” is not a formal medical term, but according to the new law, it refers to the practice of killing a partially delivered fetus. Specifically, the law bans abortions where “the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of the breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother.”

This type of abortion is especially barbaric. Partial-birth abortion, called “intact dilation and extraction” by doctors, is completed by partially removing the baby while it is still alive and collapsing its skull. Yet this extremely sadistic process is accepted and even supported by some people. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) called the day the ban was passed “a very sad day for the families of America.” Boxer claims to support the American family, yet the word “family” itself implies the protection and love of children. She also claims to desire “a civilized society” in which people care about women and their rights. To her, this implies a society in which doctors may kill innocent babies for the benefit of the mother. The legalized murder of babies is hardly an aspect of a civilized society.

Boxer and other abortion rights activists are upset that this new bill does not contain any clause that would allow partial-birth abortion when the woman’s health is at stake. However, Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) argues that there are extensive findings that prove this procedure is never needed to protect the health of the mother.

Abortion rights activists worry that restricting abortion will erode a woman’s constitutional right to end her pregnancy. They often claim that a fetus is not a baby and ought to have no rights. But, doesn’t the passing of this ban on partial-birth abortion show that many people are arguing that a fetus does have rights, that it is barbaric to kill a fetus by partial-birth abortion because a fetus is a human being? A woman may have the right to govern her own body, but what about the rights of the baby? A baby is not part of her body, but a separate person with its own body.

No human’s rights should infringe on the rights of another human. If a mother wishes to terminate her pregnancy by having a partial-birth abortion, what about the baby’s wishes? It cannot even talk to defend itself. Does its inability to communicate justify overlooking its rights as a human being? No. In fact, a majority of people in both the House and the Senate are revealing – directly or indirectly – their belief in the rights of a fetus simply by signing the bill to ban partial-birth abortion.

A statistic published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute shows that only 0.2 percent of the 1.3 million abortions performed in the year 2000 were partial-birth. Abortion advocates use this statistic to counter the claim made by some abortion opponents that many lives would be saved by outlawing partial-birth abortion. Yet Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), a former surgeon, argues that the new legislation will indeed save many lives: 0.2 percent of all abortions amounted to 2,200 partial-birth abortions in 2000. Right now, there would be at least 2,200 more people living in America from just the year 2000 alone, children of all personalities, interests and talents. No one can argue that 2,200 lives are not worth saving. Add the additional numbers from previous years, and the totals are phenomenal.

President Bush applauded the passage of this bill to ban partial-birth abortion because it will “continue to build a culture of life in America.” After all, what kind of country would America be, if innocent and vulnerable human beings were denied the most fundamental protection of all and instead inhumanely killed, all to satisfy the desire of their own mother? Where is the freedom in that?

Contributing Writer Hannah Woldum is a first year from Tulsa, Okla. She majors in English and studio art.

Printer Friendly version of this page Printer friendly version | E-mail a Copy of the Article to a Friend Email this | Write the editors | More articles by Hannah Woldum

Related Links

More Stories

Page Load: 47 milliseconds