Democrats have gone off the deep end over abortion. “In just a few years pro-abortion zealots went from ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘keep the newborns comfortable while the doctor debates infanticide,’” Senator Ben Sasse (R, Neb) recently said to National Review in describing his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
That act creates criminal penalties for any health care practitioner present at the birth of an infant who survived an attempted abortion who fails to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” It does nothing to restrict abortions.
Senator Sasse was moved to introduce his bill because he found Virginia Governor Ralph Northam willingness to let a mother and doctor decide to let an unwanted infant die to be “morally repugnant.” After the deluge of criticism from conservatives (none from Democrats so far as I am aware), Gov. Northam responded by having a spokesman issue a statement asserting that “No woman seeks a third trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities, and the governor’s comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor.”
There are two big problems with this defense. First, a 2013 study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, a “special affiliate” of Planned Parenthood, concluded that “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” Second, Governor Northam’s statement allowing mother and doctor to allow abortion-surviving infants to die was not limited to those with fetal anomalies. Third trimester abortions are done, he said, “in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable.” But they are not done only in those cases, and the surviving newborns, as his own statement recognizes, may not have severe deformities.
No matter “what party you’re from,” Sasse told National Review, “if you can’t say that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth, get the hell out of public office.” Democrats can’t say that, but so far they are not leaving office. Perhaps in the privacy of their own homes some Democrats may say its wrong to let abortion surviving live infants die, but they are not saying so in public, and not one is expected to support Sasse’s bill. Far from it.
A good example of how strained, almost nonsensical, Democratic defenses of what can fairly be called postpartum abortion comes from Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA), who denounced the Sasse bill as “just the latest in the decades-long Republican effort to eliminate a woman’s right to control her own body.” Surviving newborns, of course, are no longer in women’s bodies, and Senator Feinstein did not explain how allowing them to die enhances their mothers’ control over their bodies.
“For example,” Senator Feinstein continued undeterred,
imagine being pregnant and learning that your baby has a terminal condition. This bill would limit that mother’s decisions and require her doctor to administer unwanted medical care that could prolong her pain and suffering—even putting her health and safety at risk.
It’s not clear whether Senator Feinstein is dense or disingenuous, since Senator’s Sasse’s bill would do nothing to restrict or limit abortions. It would “limit that mother’s decisions” only to the extent of prohibiting her and her doctor from killing a surviving newborn or allowing it to die by withholding medical care.
Dense or disingenuous is one thing, but Senator Feinstein has also demonstrated that she shares an increasingly prominent strain of the modern Democratic Party that is downright bigoted against religious believers. In grilling Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett in a hearing considering her nomination to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Feinstein stated, awkwardly but obnoxiously, ““When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” a comment that the influential National Catholic Reporter wrote “brought to mind some of the darkest moments in the long traditions of anti-Catholicism in England and America.”
Apparently Senator Feinstein, the senior senator from California, has passed the baton of anti-Catholicism to the junior senator, Kamala Harris, who took it up with a vengeance. Among the questions she submitted in December 2018 to Brian Buescher, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, was the following:
Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as “a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.” Mr. Anderson went on to say that “abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.”
a. Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?
Buescher replied that he joined the Knights of Columbus when he was 18 and did not recall if he was aware at the time whether it had taken a position on abortion.
Since Senator Harris, following in the path of Senator Feinstein, seems to entertain grave doubts about whether members (in Senator Harris’s case, especially male members) of Catholic organizations are qualified to be federal judges, it will be interesting to know whether they think Catholic Joe Biden is qualified to be president.
On a Meet The Press appearance in 2007, Biden was asked if he believes life begins at conception. “I am prepared to accept my church’s view,” he replied. “I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith.” That explained, he continued, why he supported “the late-term abortion ban, where there’s clearly viability.” In his Vice Presidential debate with Paul Ryan Biden repeated that “my religion defines who I am. [Catholicism] has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help…. I accept my church’s position on abortion…. Life begins at conception.”
In fact, it will be interesting to see what the current version of Biden thinks of that earlier version, and why he wants to lead a party that has so thoroughly abandoned not only protecting clearly viable life through restrictions on late-term abortions but even some infants who are more than viable — who are actually living, who can’t take care of themselves, who need help.