Inconvenient Headlines

Published April 2, 2013

National Review Online

It’s a deeply felt conviction among liberals that they are the caring party. It’s not too much to say that liberals are quite confident that they are nicer, more moral people than conservatives.

It must require truly titanic powers of denial for the “moral” and “compassionate” party to maintain its position on abortion — a position that leads them into some macabre rationalizations. Consciences among the morally superior party are agreeably quiescent.

But recent headlines have not been similarly cooperative. In Florida the legislature is considering a variant of the “Born Alive Infants Protection Act,” which would require that abortionists provide medical assistance to infants who are “accidentally” born alive and kicking during an abortion. (Then–state senator Barack Obama vociferously opposed similar legislation in Illinois.)

Ms. Alisa LaPolt Snow, representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified against the bill. Florida representative Jim Boyd, apparently unsure that he had understood her correctly, asked:

“So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief. If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

Ms. Snow responded that her organization “believes that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.” In short, as The Weekly Standard summarized, Florida Planned Parenthood is in favor of “post-birth abortion.” This is consistent with the position of the president of the United States and most members of the caring party.

Ms. Snow was asked why she didn’t support simply transporting a breathing, moving infant to a hospital where he or she would have the best chance of survival. Snow developed a sudden concern for ambulance convenience: “Those situations where it is in a rural health-care setting, the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away, that’s the closest trauma center or emergency room. You know there’s just some logistical issues involved that we have some concerns about.” Really? Logistical concerns?

So if a baby is brought to a rural clinic suffering from, say, meningitis, and the nearest trauma center is 45 minutes away, does Planned Parenthood have “concerns” about the “logistical issues” involved? Or does Planned Parenthood stand for the principle that when a woman chooses abortion, she is entitled to a dead baby?

Snow’s testimony comes at an inopportune moment for the deniers — the “abortion rights” absolutists who hotly deny that infants are ever born alive during botched abortions — because in Philadelphia, an abortionist is on trial.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is on trial for murder in the deaths of one woman and seven second-trimester babies. The 41-year-old woman had sought an abortion and was given an overdose of narcotics at Gosnell’s clinic. The seven babies were all born alive, according to the indictment. Gosnell then used scissors to “snip” their spinal columns. One of his assistants, who has pled guilty to third-degree murder, said that such “snippings” were “routine” for late-term abortions — so there were probably many more than seven.

Gosnell wasn’t at all particular about gestational age. An ultrasound technician recorded the age of one baby as 29.4 weeks, or about 7.5 months. In Pennsylvania, abortions are not permitted beyond 24 weeks (and the survival rate is above 85 percent for babies born at 27 weeks). In one case, a nurse testified that a baby cried after being born. Gosnell snipped his neck and told the nurse that there was nothing to worry about. The baby was placed in a basin on a counter. Another large baby was disposed of in a shoe box, but he was too large and his feet dangled over the sides. In another case, Gosnell allegedly joked with a nurse that a baby was so big “he could have walked to the bus stop.”

Gosnell seems to be a particularly freakish “provider.” He kept fetal feet in jars in an office prosecutors described as a “house of horrors.” (Pictures are on the Internet, but beware, they are graphic.)

Senator Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), who engaged in an unwise colloquy with then-senator Rick Santorum about when infants deserve to be treated as people, spoke for many of the caring elite when she said that life begins when “you take the baby home from the hospital.”

Some day, our descendants will look back at this and ask how we could have tamely accepted such barbarism. A special obloquy will attach to the Orwellians who call it compassion.

— Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2013 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Most Read

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up to receive EPPC's biweekly e-newsletter of selected publications, news, and events.


Your support impacts the debate on critical issues of public policy.

Donate today