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From the December, 2000 issue of Touchstone


Courting Disaster: Right to a Dead Baby? by William H. Perkins, Jr.

Courting Disaster: Right to a Dead Baby?

A Sidebar in Jack Wade Nowlin’s “A Case of Supreme Temptation”

by William H. Perkins, Jr., for the Baptist Press, October 6, 2000

We live in a confused nation. During the same week the federal government approved the hemorrhagic drug regimen RU 486 for abortion—something it was never intended to do—pro-lifers were able to push the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (HR 4292) through the US House of Representatives.

If the bill is also passed by the US Senate and signed by the president, HR 4292 would establish in federal law the concept that a human being living anywhere outside its mother’s womb is legally a person.

Now, for people like you and me who are not considered to be among the intellectual and political elite in this country, that may seem like a common-sense notion established more than 200 years ago in the US Constitution—but you would be wrong.

You would be wrong because in America today, someone accidentally born alive during the gruesome process of abortion is not considered a person at all. At best, he or she is considered nothing more than medical waste.

Don’t believe it? Consider the sworn testimony of two nurses who appeared before a US House of Representatives subcommittee in July. Both nurses testified that they had witnessed the willful neglect of fully formed babies born alive during late-term abortions, in order that the babies would not survive.

Registered nurse Jill Stanek testified that one aborted baby survived nearly eight hours without medical care before expiring. Other testimony in other venues over the years has established that full-term babies accidentally born alive during abortions in the United States are routinely drowned in water-filled trays or simply have their tiny skulls crushed flat by the brute strength of the abortionist.

Fawning reports in the national news media to the contrary, abortion is not the clean, simple, outpatient procedure its supporters would have us believe. People are often born alive during the process of trying to kill them before their life begins.

That’s no problem, according to a July ruling by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down New Jersey’s ban on partial-birth abortion. After wading through sanctimonious legalese, the judges effectively ruled there is no such thing as partial-birth, because a woman having an abortion is not seeking to give birth.

Such Orwellian double-talk led Newsweek columnist George Will to ask, in the Oct. 2 issue of the magazine, if the strange “born” versus “unborn” concept of human life, established by the framework of the unctuous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, has somehow given way to a new consumer right that a person who purchases an abortion is entitled to a dead baby no matter what—a satisfied customer, as it were.

Will goes on to describe the case of a Maryland teen recently convicted of attempted first-degree murder for trying to kill her newborn baby after giving birth alone in a bathtub.

“Considering that partial-birth abortion is a constitutional right . . . the teenager will be forgiven for wondering what, exactly, she did that was so wrong,” Will writes.

Precisely. What, pray tell, is the difference between that for which an affluent adult can pay to have accomplished in a sterile clinic, and that which a teenager decides to do on her own? Nothing, apparently, except for a few decades in the penitentiary for the teenager.

That is the sickening state of American justice and American society. In our beloved country, there is indeed an established right to a dead baby—if it’s done the proper way.

If that doesn’t drive you to your knees before Almighty God, what will?

William H. Perkins, Jr. is editor of The Baptist Record, news journal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

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