The shameful status of abortion law in America
Eddie Damstra | Thursday, February 1, 2018
Earlier this week, a bill aimed at banning abortions after 20 weeks was struck down in the Senate. All but three Democrats voted against the bill, preventing any hope for passage of the legislation in the Senate. The bill, titled the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was drafted with the goal of outlawing the abortion of unborn babies from the point at which they can feel pain. The blockage of the bill means the United States remains one of just seven nations, including China and North Korea, that permit elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
I believe that abortion of any kind is murderous, archaic and barbaric. I recognize that this assertion is very contentious and not universally agreed upon. However, I cannot begin to believe that rational people truly believe that abortion after 20 weeks is a routine and humane medical procedure. Abortion after 20 weeks requires crushing and dismembering a baby. Pieces of the child, of whom has a functioning nervous system and is capable of feeling pain, are then pulled through the birth canal. After 25 weeks, abortions require stabbing the child in the heart or brain with a heart-attack inducing drug. And while these late-term abortions are somewhat rare, there are still around 13,000 of such abortions performed each year.
Nearly every nation on earth has perceived these late-term abortion procedures as too brutally inhumane and barbaric to permit under law and have thus instituted abortion bans, with many industrialized nations banning abortions after 12 weeks. In the United States, however, a bill that proposes ending elective abortions after 20 weeks could not even make it to a final vote in the Senate. In fact, even a bill that would offer protections to babies who survive abortions was met with much discontent from Democrats in Congress.
Over a week ago, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was passed through the House of Representatives. The bill ensures that babies who survive abortions receive immediate medical care and are transferred to hospitals. The bill also outlined a system of punishment for abortionists who kill such babies who survive abortions. Despite the apparent moral sensibility of such a bill, it did not pass very easily; every single Democratic representative voted against the bill, with the exception of six detractors. Fortunately, every single Republican representative voted for the bill’s passage, and thus the bill passed through the House.
The reality is that these bills aimed at restricting abortions are being met with discontent from Democratic legislators, but not the general public. Polling from Marist shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, including over half of both Democrats and those who consider themselves pro-choice. Unfortunately, popular support for such legislation is halted by the refusal of Democrats in Congress to risk losing the support from the radical abortion lobby.
While I am a Republican, I can often see the perspectives of those with the opposite political persuasion. However, on the issue of late-term abortions, I simply cannot. In fact, I believe the decisions of those in Congress to vote against these sensible restrictions are true endorsements of murder. There is no other way to frame a decision to vote against a bill aimed at protecting the most vulnerable from a painful procedure ending in the termination of their young lives.
America’s approach to the practice of abortion seems to be eerily similar to its approach to the institution of slavery. The United States, just as it trailed behind many other industrialized countries in banning slavery, is also trailing behind in instituting restrictions on the practice of abortion. That slavery ever existed in the United States at all is unforgivable and shameful. However, the duration of its institutionalization adds even more shame and embarrassment to this nation, as so many other industrialized countries succeeded in banning its presence in their respective countries decades before we did so.
Similarly, the continued unregulated nature of abortion in America is not only despicable, but also entirely embarrassing when compared to the state of abortion laws in the rest of the developed world. Seven out of 198 nations on this earth permit late-term abortion. The United States should be ashamed to be on a list with the likes of China and North Korea.
This nation is supposed to be a beacon of freedom and virtue. Allowing for the continuance of late-term abortions is fundamentally incompatible with such a proposition. I can only hope that Democratic legislators soon abandon their unadulterated loyalty to the abortion lobby in exchange for the preservation of human life. So far, it seems my hopes are quite futile.
Eddie is a junior majoring in economics and political science with a minor in constitutional studies. He plans on attending law school after his time as an undergraduate at Notre Dame. He can be reached at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.