By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 08/31/08
The value placed on a life is so fundamental to our American belief system that it shouldn’t need any commentary. The Lockean creed, upon which our Declaration of Independence is based declares the veritable sanctity of life, liberty, and property (appears in our Declaration as “pursuit of happiness.”)
The debate has persisted for a generation on the legality and morality of induced abortion, succinctly defined as the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus by medical, surgical, or other means at any point during human pregnancy for elective reasons.
But what is the value, moral or otherwise, of a child already out of the womb? We regrettably read or hear regularly of mothers who gave birth, only to discard or allow to die their newborn infant. Those mothers, if located, are typically charged with murder for their actions, and we look upon them with disgust and contempt.
So what are we to think of someone who not only condones the killing of newborn infants, but apparently encourages it? Even worse, what are we to think of someone who, while being in a position to protect and defend such newborns, not only refuses to do so, but argues in defense of killing them or allowing them to simply expire?
In March, 2001, a bill was introduced in the Illinois State Senate. That bill stated in part, “A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.”
What precipitated this legislation was an investigation of a Chicago area hospital that was allowing babies born alive, following botched abortions, to simply die without any medical care. This was not over finances, whether or not the mother had insurance to care for the infant or not, it was simply determined on the part of the hospital that since the baby was intended to be aborted, that even though it was born alive it should be allowed to expire, since that was the mother’s intent. Technically, from a medical perspective, these infants were no different than the many premature babies born on a regular basis throughout the country.
The bill was the Illinois equivalent to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which passed Congress and passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent in 2002, and was signed into law by President Bush. It was not designed to confer any rights or legal status upon any baby not yet born, which means it had no legal conflicts with Roe v. Wade, the dubious 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized induced abortion.
Sen. Obama spoke against the bill on the Senate floor of the Illinois statehouse. Further, he was the only senator to do so. Arguing against the bill, Obama declared: “This is probably not going to survive constitutional scrutiny. Number one, whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to … a nine-month-old child that was delivered to term. That determination, then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place … This would be an anti-abortion statute.” The bill passed the Senate, but later died in a House committee.
In 2002, the legislation was reintroduced in three separate bills. Obama voted against the two bills that received a vote and, once again, spoke in opposition on the Senate floor. Obama also has opposed restrictions on partial-birth abortion, a late-term procedure that kills a partially delivered living fetus and is considered by some to be tantamount to infanticide.
It’s easy to see why columnist Terence Jeffrey has declared, “Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever.” Consequently, if elected, he would undoubtedly become the most pro-abortion president ever. In July 2007, Obama spoke before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and said: “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” This bill would effectively cancel every state, federal, and local regulation of abortion, no matter how modest or reasonable. It would even, according to the National Organization of Women, abolish all state restrictions on government funding for abortions.
The debate over the morality of abortion will continue, much to the consternation of those of us who think the preservation of human life, whenever it’s declared to be such, is more important than anything else. But what should not be debatable is the viability of a living infant, outside of the mother’s womb, being granted full protection under the law. To allow an infant to simply expire while gasping for breath with the intention of honoring the mother’s wish for an abortion is no different, morally or medically, than the mother that gives birth and then disposes of the baby in a dumpster. That can be considered nothing less than infanticide!
This is not just a poor reflection on the judgment of Senator Obama, but it strikes clearly at the most fundament values our country is based upon. If his personal value system does not allow for the protection of born, living infants, we might legitimately ask, “What are your values, Senator?”