Dear Readers: In my last blog on An Accidental Life, I set forth some examples of witness testimony on the fact that infants in late term abortions may survive and be born alive. It’s difficult to believe that in such cases there are people who take the position that a born alive infant must be refused medical assistance in order to respect the mother’s right to choose, but that is so. As recently as last summer during the Kermit Gosnell case in which the physician performing abortions was found guilty of killing born alive infants with scissors after birth, there were protesters when he was convicted of murder. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood insisted that the choice of whether the infant should live or die should be between the mother and the doctor–in other words, the infant had no independent rights.
During the Congressional Committee hearing in 2000 mentioned in my last blog when many witnesses testified that born alive infants were left to die in hospitals and clinics around the country, one Representative took a position during the hearing (H.R. 4292) that providing legal personhood to premature infants who survive abortions is an attempt to do what the U.S. Supreme Court has strictly forbidden over and over–it unduly restricts a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy–her right to choose, by extending protection to fully born, premature infants in “direct contravention of Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions. (Statement of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones in Hearings on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 106th Cong., July 20, 2000).
I beg to differ. The Supreme Court has never ruled on the rights of an infant born alive during an abortion. I’ll discuss that further in a later blog–or you can check out the reasoning behind the verdict in An Accidental Life. In fact, I’m fairly certain the Court never anticipated such an issue arising.
Another example – on July 20, 2000, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (“NARAL”) issued a press release criticizing the Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000 because, in NARAL’s view, extending legal personhood to premature born alive infants surviving abortion constitutes an “assault” on Roe v. Wade. (NARAL Statement: Roe v. Wade Faces Renewed Assault in the House: on file with the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Comm. on the Judiciary.)
And if you really want a shock, read Professor Peter Singer’s book ‘Practical Ethics’ (1993). In Practical Ethics, Dr. Singer, a Bioethicist at Princeton University argues that parents should have the option to kill disabled or unhealthy newborn babies for a certain period after birth. Professor Singer has written that “a period of 28 days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to live as others.”
As you may recall, the Born Alive Infant’s Protection Act is a federal, not a state law. It covers only Federal institutions and hospitals. If a state wants to similarly protect infants born within its jurisdiction, it must enact the law. Some states have done that; some have enacted similar statutes with various changes. It’s worth noting however that President Obama is on record has having voted against Illinois enacting the law several times when he was a State Senator, reflecting that his concern was whether the law might diminish the woman’s right to choose.
In the next few days and weeks I will post facts relating to the trial in An Accidental Life, as well as more information about the rights of infants born alive during an abortion. Readers who are particularly interested in this might want to read the ‘author’s note’ in the back of the book before starting the story.
Why I wrote this book: Several years ago I was watching television and came upon an interview with registered nurse, Jill Stanek. Jill was a nurse at a hospital in Illinois, and was talking about testimony she’d given before a Congressional Committee in 2000 that infants born alive during late-term abortions are sometimes left to die. In the hospital in which she worked, Jill said, these infants were placed in a soiled utility room until they passed away. When they were aware of this, Jill and other nurses often held the babies in their arms while they struggled to breathe, until they died. Jill’s testimony is quoted in the author’s note mentioned above. Jill’s testimony was supported by many others, including another nurse at the same hospital. A Congressional Report was issued on the testimony, and it’s available to the public. (Report 107-186/107th Congress, 1st Session/House of Representatives.)
I cannot describe my shock at hearing this. I’d never considered the idea of an infant being born alive during an abortion. I’ve since found that most other people are unaware of this, too. And even if the thought had occurred to me, I’d have thought that any doctor would have rendered medical assistance immediately to a child born alive.
Not so. I researched the charge and found that the facts were worse than anyone can imagine. I found that there are many people, and organizations, who believe that a born-alive infant remains bound by the mother’s right to choose, even after birth. In a later blog I’ll talk about what the Supreme Court has to say about this. I think that will come as quite a surprise to many.
Today, there are many such children alive because some member of the medical (or otherwise) team obtained critical care right away, but many thousands more have died as described above and in the Congressional Report. Testimony of the witnesses that testified before Congress in 2000 resulted in a federal law–the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. But that law covers only federal institutions and hospitals. States must adopt that law, or enact their own, in order to protect those innocent lives. And yet, as of this date only 26 states have adopted such protection. Additionally, enforcement is poor. For example, I challenge anyone to find an abortion clinic outside of a hospital that has neo-natal intensive care equipment required for a born-alive infant to fight for his or her life.
And don’t think that late-term abortions are automatically limited. Courts have held since Roe v. Wade that late term abortions, regardless of possible viability, are permitted when required for the mother’s health. This includes a wide range of reasons, which I’ll discuss in coming blogs.
Regardless of your thoughts on abortion, what happens to infants born alive during abortion are one of the darkest secrets in our country today. Help get the word out–we must speak for those who aren’t able to speak for themselves.
“This picture reminded me of that story in the news yesterday about the man in Florida who had his hand bitten off by an alligator. The guy was a tour guide in one of those airboats that run through the everglades. He held a fish over the side of the boat and the alligator snatched the fish and his hand. Sad enough he lost his hand. But here’s what happened—the Feds, EPA I suppose, have now filed charges against him for the crime of feeding the alligator!!
And that reminds me of this. A story, also in the news yesterday, about a woman marine biologist who captains a whale watching ship. Worked hard all her life on researching the whales. She was in Monterey Bay several years ago when someone in her crew whistled at a humpback whale, hoping that it would move closer. One of her employees called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for ‘harrasing’ the whale, and when the bureaucrat agent contacted her to request a video to view, she sent one, for some reason enhancing the whistle part of the tape. NOAA immediately indicted her for editing the tape under an ancient False Claims Act (1863). Three years later she’s lost her business. Federal agents raided her home and removed all her scientific photos and business files and computers.
And that reminds me of a story in the news today. Mayor Bloomberg in NYC is mandating through regulations breast feeding of babies instead of using bottles! (We’ve moved from regulating soft drinks and junk food now to breast baby’s milk). Hospital are to hide away their bottles and formula, and if a mother requests one, she gets a lecture along with each bottle.
Someone tell me please—what’s going on here? 1984 redux?
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Hello friends – If you were following our Dancing on Glass tour in August, you may remember that we were rudely interrupted by the disappearance of my computer half-way through! Whoever took my computer also took our little touring car. So, take a look. How about this one for a replacement?
- Jimmy and new touring car?
After the earthquake (okay, people in California stop chuckling), and driving parallel to Hurricane Helen down the coast, we ended up on Friday, August 26th in Augusta, Ga. Lots of history here. Had a booksigning scheduled that night at Lifeway, but spent the afternoon in the Augusta History Museum. It’s a great spot–there was a steam passenger train from the 1920′s like the one my grandparents rode in the 1920′s. I got on and sat in one of the seats for a while, imagining.
The booksigning in Augusta was great. Hal Perdue, the Manager, had balloons to welcome everyone, and wonderful food, and punch–his own recipe. Here’s a picture of Hal and me and all those balloons. Hal had copies of the Moon in the Mango Tree and Secret of the Shroud as well as Dancing on Glass. Had some great conversations with readers! Hope everyone enjoys the books.
From Augusta we went to Buford, Georgia where I had a signing at another Lifeway store. Met hurricane Nora there–that’s Nora St. Laurent who hosts The Book Club Network.com. This is a really lively site for book clubs and authors to meet and chat. I highly recommend it–Nora lights a spark! Some of Nora’s local book club members came by and I loved meeting them. We had a drawing for “River Road Recipes” there and Marilyn won. Those are the favorite recipes for my heroine in Dancing on Glass, Amalise Catoir.
Now–I’ll share with you her favorite recipe. (Which happens to be one of mine) Red beans and rice. You can do this in a crock pot, even better. Cover the dry beans with water with about 2 inches above the beans to spare. Add chopped onions, garlic, sausage (Amalise likes it hot!), a few bay leaves, salt to taste, and a ham hock. Put the crock pot on high for six hours, or low for eight or nine hours. About one hour before finishing up, add one tsp. of cumin, and two or three tablespoons of butter and stir until the butter melts. Then put the top back on the pot for another hour, make the rice, and serve. The butter somehow binds the gravy, makes it thick and really good. Yum-let me know if you like it.
Now that I’ve risen from the ashes, I’ll continue the Driving Ms. Pamela blogs again soon. Until then – Pamela.