Stop the Tyrants Part II

Good-Bye to Decency

§D   Torturing a Baby is a Constitutional Right!

The majority deliberately confused the differences between the partial-birth abortion method and the death by dismemberment method, the "D&E.;" They did so not only to offer legal protection to partial-birth abortion. They wanted to ensure that the death by dismemberment procedure would remain a constitutional right regardless of the legal status of the partial-birth method; dismembering the baby is also a perfect way of preventing a live birth. Since the dissection method (D&E) is the most common method of second-trimester abortion, the majority claimed that banning it would be unconstitutional.

It is actually quite ironic that the Stenberg majority should wish to protect the dilation and evacuation method (D&E), because their opinion goes to great lengths to spell out the dangers inherent in this method of second-trimester abortion. Let's refer to the Majority Opinion once again:

The D&E; procedure carries certain risks. The use of instruments within the uterus creates a danger of accidental perforation and damage to neighboring organs. [This danger is inherent in all surgical abortion techniques.] Sharp fetal bone fragments create similar dangers. And fetal tissue accidentally left behind can cause infection and various other complications. [Majority Opinion, Page 7]

Justice Breyer repeats this litany of D&E dangers several times. It is most strange to call Nebraska's ban unconstitutional because it might be interpreted by some prosecutors and judges to include the D&E method, and then go on to question the medical propriety of the D&E method! Without a doubt, the majority does so to call into question the legitimacy of any attempt to ban the partial-birth method.

In order to justify their 'dismembering a fetus is a right' claim, they ignore the fact that a second- or third-trimester pregnancy can be ended without deliberately killing the baby! This fact is well known to the House Judiciary Committee. A registered nurse, Jill L. Stanek, testified before the committee on abortion practices at Christ Hospital in Illinois, where she works:

The method of abortion that Christ Hospital uses is called "induced labor abortion," also known as "live birth abortion." This type of abortion can be performed different ways, but the goal always is to cause a pregnant woman's cervix to open so that she will deliver a premature baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward. The way that induced abortion is most often executed at my hospital is by the physician inserting a medication called Cytotec into the birth canal close to the cervix. Cytotec irritates the cervix and stimulates it to open. When this occurs, the small, preterm baby drops out of the uterus, oftentimes alive. It is not uncommon for one of these live aborted babies to linger for an hour or two or even longer." [Testimony at hearing on H.R. 4392, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000]

This fact was also made clear in the testimony of one of Dr. Carhart's fellow abortionists, Dr. Harlan Giles. Dr. Giles testified in the Ohio lawsuit concerning that State's ban on partial-birth abortions:

I do not think there are any maternal conditions that I'm aware of that mandate ending the pregnancy that, also, require that the fetus be dead or that fetal life be terminated. In my experience for twenty years, one can deliver these fetuses either vaginally or by cesarean section

(This statement was quoted in the testimony of Helen Alvare before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Senate Judiciary Committee. This joint hearing was labeled "Partial-Birth Abortion: The Truth.")

Outside of the context of a woman wanting an abortion, one would expect a physician confronted with a late-term pregnancy that needs to be ended would either induce labor, or perform a cesarean section. These methods are available both before and after the baby has sufficient development to survive birth. And both are certainly much safer than either the D&E or the D&X!

In their zeal to protect the death by dismemberment procedure, the "dilation and extraction" (D&E), the members of the majority proved they have no concern for the pain and suffering of the innocent babies who are being killed in this manner. (Just as, of course, they care nothing for the agony of babies being killed in the partial-birth method!) They have effectively elevated an act of extreme cruelty -- the deliberate torture of a helpless baby -- to the status of fundamental constitutional right.

Most abortions occur well before the baby is fully formed. So any right to abortion as a reproductive measure does not need to include the right to an elective abortion in the second or third trimesters.

And if abortion is really about protecting a woman's health, and preserving a woman's control over her own body, there is absolutely no reason why destructive late-abortion methods like the dilation and evacuation (death-by-dismemberment) and the intact dilation and extraction (partial-birth and brain-suctioning) must be legally protected. Such procedures are a necessary part of the abortion right only if the right to an abortion is the right to a dead baby!

If the five judges in the Stenberg majority really had any respect for human life -- maternal or fetal -- they would have taken all of this into consideration. But they did not. John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg even go so far as to say it is "irrational" to ban the partial-birth method of abortion while allowing other abortion methods. They conveniently forgot that most late abortions are occurring because of the judicial activism of pro-abortion fanatics such as themselves. And Justices O'Connor, Souter, and Breyer give their tacit approval to this argument:

[The majority argues] that a ban on the D&X; does not further [Nebraska's legitimate] interests. This is because, the reasoning continues, the D&E; method, which Nebraska claims to be beyond its intent to regulate, can still be used to abort a fetus and is no less dehumanizing than the D&X; method. While not adopting the argument in express terms, the Court indicates tacit approval of it by refusing to reject it in a forthright manner. [Kennedy dissent, Page 7]

The majority's blindness to these moral concerns is most damning. Even worse is the fact that this blindness cannot be accidental. The members of the majority wanted to do a favor for the militant abortion rights movement -- the people who consider children to be an invasion of privacy. Reacting to the Stenberg ruling, columnist George F. Will pointed this out:

Not long ago pro-abortion forces argued that abortion involves no cruelty or gruesomeness from which society should flinch. Now they defend partial-birth abortion in order to defend all late-term abortions, all of which involve the violent dismemberment of "fetal material" that looks exactly like a baby.

People who are this indifferent to the suffering of the most helpless and innocent of human beings -- living, fully-formed, mentally-aware babies resting within the wombs of their mothers -- have no business holding any office in the government of the United States!

See the Chapter 4 Table of Contents.

The Stop-the-Tyrants Project [page 22]: Chapter 4 (Section D)
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