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The story surrounding a pregnant California woman who allegedly delivered her baby in a McDonald’s bathroom and attempted to drown the newborn in a toilet is unbelievably horrific, but, in addition to disgust, the traumatic story also brings to the surface some uncomfortable realities that we must all face, particularly any person who is unabashedly “pro-choice.”
See, the accused, no doubt, is alleged to have done an inhumane and horrendous thing by trying to secretly kill her baby, with authorities subsequently charging her with attempted murder, inflicting great bodily injury and felony child abuse — all understandable and warranted charges, if the details check out.
While universal disgust will certainly follow the story, there’s a profound moral, spiritual and cultural disconnect that has also bubbled its way to the surface, where it will likely remain, emitting the deathly stench of hypocrisy.
And here’s why: There are places in the U.S. where there are no legal restrictions on abortion, meaning that, technically speaking, a woman can wait until darn near the end of a pregnancy to decide whether to terminate.
Pro-choice critics will generally note — and correctly so — that the vast majority of abortions occur early on in a pregnancy, and that’s a perfectly fine detail to tout. They’ll also proclaim that the vast majority of states have caps on when women can seek abortions, with many setting that restriction at viability. Again, a fine and accurate mention.
But for anyone interested in truth, decency and accuracy, these points are nothing more than mere distractions. The reality is: there are at least eight locations in the U.S. where people can seek abortions without restriction (seven states and Washington, D.C.).
And while most women might terminate late-term pregnancies due to fetal abnormalities, the laws in those places don’t restrict on that basis. Thus, it’s somewhat of a free-for-all.
Oh, and one additional thing I must note: while some will point to the fact that only 1.3 percent of abortions performed in 2013 were late-term to show that third-trimester procedures are rare, that percentage actually translated to more than 8,300 lives.
So, if you believe that life matters, 8,300 individual human beings — even if they account for only a sliver of abortions in the U.S. — should concern you.
Anyway, back to that story about the California woman’s alleged attempted murder of her newborn: it should make pro-choice Americans squirm quite a bit. Why, you ask? Well, let’s say that in a hypothetical world she, instead, drove to an abortion clinic a week before the alleged bathroom delivery — or even five minutes before — and a doctor intentionally terminated her fully-formed baby, effectively accomplishing the same end goal authorities now accuse her of.
In that circumstance (pending she went to a state where this sort of late-term abortion is legal) the incident would have concluded with no attempted murder charge, no claim that she inflicted “great bodily harm” and certainly no felony child abuse charge.
So, I guess my question is: Why is this late-term situation treated differently, morally and legally speaking?
And before answering, take a moment to really think it through. As horrific and grotesque as the woman’s alleged actions were, the end result, had she been successful in her quest, would have been death. How does that end goal differ from what would have happened if this woman sought out an unfettered late-term abortion?
If you’re being honest, you know that the reality is: it doesn’t.
Sure, the tactics and process would differ, but, in the end, the baby would still be dead, gone and buried. Now, if we want to get technical, there’s a law on the books in California that generally precludes abortion after viability, so this wouldn’t apply in the accused woman’s state. Still, she could have sought the hypothetical abortion in one of the places that actually allow it.
As The New York Times noted last year: “Seven states and the District of Columbia do not have specific laws prohibiting abortion after a certain point in pregnancy.”
My point is this: the baby’s location when the death occurs really shouldn’t matter, yet some places in the U.S. treat the late-term death situation in the womb quite different from the death scenario after the womb. But does that really make much sense?
This is an issue I also passionately addressed back in 2013 during the Dr. Kermit Gosnell case. As the Associated Press noted at the time, Gosnell was “convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies who were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his clinic.”
That case, which I intensely covered, left me with some of the same questions about the strangeness of our laws when it comes to the lives of the unborn. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
On April 16, as I sat in the courtroom at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia, an important revelation was delivered from an unexpected source. The moment came when Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, publicly echoed what pro-life advocates have long argued: That abortion is a violent (or “rough,” as he termed it) act, particularly when the unborn are further along in their development.
As I reported on TheBlaze at the time, in defending his client in front of the judge and jury, McMahon said of abortion, “The process itself is kind of rough. You go in with forceps [you may go in and pull out an arm, a leg].”
The quote, alone, dealt a stinging blow to my conscience, as I fought off the mental images that the attorney’s stunning admission conjured. Of the handful of days that I spent in the courtroom, this was the most jarring, thought-provoking and pivotal moment I encountered.
I left the courtroom that day considering the cognitive dissonance that some in the pro-choice lobby regularly tout and that our society willingly tolerates. Consider that it’s difficult to condemn, on moral grounds, terminating a viable baby outside of the mother’s womb if one supports the right to do so in utero. This is more rooted in logic than it is opinion. After all, the difference between the two is merely the tactic used to ensure death, isn’t it?
My point here isn’t to change anyone’s mind on abortion more generally. Instead, I’m looking to get us thinking deeper about the strange nature of our laws, especially when it comes to late-term abortion.
In the end, there seems to be a deep disconnect. Am I alone?