Meanwhile, while we’ve been arguing about whether or not the Covington kids were innocent, or guilty, or guilty of being white males and that’s enough for a conviction, Democrats in New York wasted no time to pass legislation removing any and all restrictions on abortion, celebrating the event with a pink-lit World Trade Center (which is ironic, given that however much female activists have claimed the color, it’s far more connected up with baby girls), and now legislators in Virginia and Rhode Island are aiming to catch up quickly.
Testimony by one of the bill’s sponsors was circulating around YouTube yesterday; as Fox News reports, Virginia Democratic Del. Kathy Tran, in response to questions, acknowledged that her bill would permit abortion for “mental health” reasons with no time limit whatsoever, even to the point at which a mother is giving birth. Today, Virginia governor Ralph Northam in an interview said that, in the case of a live birth (presumably an unintended live birth when an abortion was underway), the baby “would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired” — in other words, the decision to provide medical care would not be based on the child’s ability to survive but on the parents’ say-so. In Rhode Island, state legislators are holding hearings on bills which purport to “codify Roe v. Wade” but in fact strip away virtually any restriction, with one bill removing the willful killing of an unborn child from the state’s criminal code, as well as making a blanket statement that abortion is permitted for any reason up to viability and to preserve “health” at any time afterwards (note that with no definition of “health” nor a process for verifying that an abortion is health-related, this is effectively no restriction at all, as the Supreme Court has defined “health” to include even family size as it may affect a woman’s sense of well-being to have more children than desired); and the second of which is virtually identical but retains the willful killing provision in the case of a direct injury to the mother (but not for cases of administering an abortion-inducing drug without her knowledge).
Folks, I know that the usual rhetoric in support of late-term abortion, or, more specifically, in support of refusing to criminalize late-term abortion tends to fall along these lines:
“No woman would get a late-term abortion unless she had a really good reason, so we don’t need to criminalize late-term abortion just to cover something that really doesn’t happen.”
“Women that need late-term abortions are undergoing such trauma that it would traumatize them further to require some sort of proof that what they’re doing is necessary.”
“Late term abortions hardly ever happen, anyway.”
As it happens, a couple years ago I did some digging into this and found that Guttmacher, a pro-abortion research group, found that 1.2% of abortions are after 20 weeks, and that these late abortions are generally for the same reasons as earlier abortions, except that these are cases where women didn’t realize they were pregnant earlier (e.g., erratic cycles, or using some contraception which eliminates a monthly menstrual or pseudo-menstrual cycle). Yes, the latest abortions are generally for some sort of fetal disability, and to the best of my knowledge there is no data on numbers here, both in terms of raw counts and the extent to which these are extreme medical conditions vs. cases in which a child would have a more run-of-the-mill disability.
But stop and think about this: According to Statistica, “there were a total of 17,284 reported murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases in the U.S. in 2017.” Expressed as a percent of the U.S. population of about 323 million, 0.005% of the population was killed that year. But it would be preposterous to say, “hardly anyone is ever killed, so we don’t need laws criminalizing murder,” let alone, “to criminalize murder is an insult to adults who we should trust to make the right decision for themselves.” (Yes, fine, it’s not apples to apples, but I am assuming that there are not large number of people who would suddenly start killing their friends and family if murder were decriminalized.)
To shrug off late-term abortions because “surely anyone who gets one had a good reason” is really not something that makes a heck of a lot of sense – unless you reject the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the deliberate killing of a human being. If you believe that it’s all shades of grey, then, sure, I get it. If you look back to the ancient Greeks’ custom of exposing a child upon the say-so of the father, and say, “eh, different cultures have different norms,” or if you simply view morality as a set of behaviors and beliefs that is directed at ensuring that a society is well-functioning, and that a society in which infants could be euthanized, a la Peter Singer, could be equally well-functioning, just differently, then sure, it makes complete sense. And if you think of small humans as not really human but beings of some other category, then, sure, you can say that abortion is undesirable but nothing we should criminalize in the same way as one might argue that euthanizing abandoned pets is undesirable but unavoidable.
So that’s it for today.