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In a civilized society, late-term abortion must end

Rebecca Horvath • Feb 18, 2018 at 8:30 AM

“They came with their parents.”

“They’re here through no fault of their own.”

“They deserve amnesty.”

These are common progressive sentiments about “Dreamers,” or the children of DACA. But they also apply to babies in the womb.

Recently, the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks in all but a few extreme situations. All but three Democrats opposed the bill, as did two Republicans.

Shame on them.

Even most pro-choice Americans agree some restrictions on abortion are reasonable and sensible. According to one recent poll, even though about half of Americans consider themselves pro-choice, 76 percent of people support stricter laws about abortion. You might wonder how anyone could possibly support late-term abortion or argue that they are very uncommon, but the practice kills around 13,000 babies each year.

Science, logic and medicine have all shown that a baby at 20 weeks gestation (possibly even at 15 weeks) can feel pain. A 20-week baby — who is fully formed and looks just like a full-term baby except in size and maturity — responds to pain stimuli in the womb. Period.

A 20-week baby can sometimes survive if born at that stage — while there are no guarantees, there are plenty of examples of children who have been born at five months and gone on to thrive. A 20-week baby in the womb can suck her thumb, hear her mother’s voice and make faces. She’s active, moving around frequently, and ultrasound photos show the incredible development taking place.

It seems especially cruel and wrong to kill a baby via abortion at 20 weeks along or later. To be clear, I am 100 percent pro-life and I believe it is wrong to kill a baby via abortion at any stage of pregnancy. But it seems to me that even if a person is pro-choice, it is entirely sensible to require a choice to be made before the 20-week mark — after all, there is no denying pregnancy at that point and any common “justification” for abortion is clear long before that stage.

After 20 weeks, even if a mother’s health suddenly became endangered, the baby can be delivered early after an induction or via Caesarean section. (Although for the record, most obstetricians affirm that “life of the mother” cases are extraordinarily rare — so rare that they’ve never witnessed one.) Abortion itself does not and has never saved a mother’s life. Ever.

It seems to me that abortion is the only issue folks insist on treating as an absolute, as if it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. We don’t treat other laws the same way; for example, we have common sense traffic laws to keep us safe in our vehicles, but no one is trying to take away our right to drive. We have truancy laws so kids have to attend school, but we don’t abolish them because the flu is going around and a sick child might miss a few days of school. Why do people hold on so tightly to the “right” to kill babies without any restrictions? Let’s be clear: a woman can and should make choices about her own body, but a baby is simply not her own body — have you ever seen a body with two hearts, two spines, two faces, etc.? It’s basic science.

By not restricting abortion after 20 weeks, we equate ourselves with only six other countries that allow abortion “on demand” after 20 weeks. Three of those countries — North Korea, China and Vietnam — are among the worst in the world in terms of human rights and not societies we would want to emulate in any way.

If you aren’t aware of how a late-term abortion is performed, please read up on it. Essentially, a baby is delivered alive and then dismembered or is stabbed in the brain with poison before delivery, triggering a massive heart attack — while feeling all the pain. That is the sanitized version. I can’t imagine how a civilized society can endorse such a practice for any reason. It’s not about politics; it’s about human rights.

There is simply no justification for abortions after 20 weeks, ever. Fortunately, our senators voted to support the bill, but our neighbors across the state line in Virginia are represented by two senators who opposed it. Our representatives need to know we aren’t happy about the outcome of the vote and we’d like to see the bill have another chance.

As Mother Theresa eloquently put it, “A nation that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to accept violence to get what it wants.” We must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable among us; common sense restrictions on abortions are a step in the right direction.

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