Wednesday, May 2, 2007

PBA, Ultrasounds, and the Left [Jay]

This article by William Saletan posted at The Slate on Saturday and published in the Washington Post on Sunday demonstrates the possible fruits of Gonzales v. Carhart. It is important to note that Saletan is a “pro-choice” journalist who can not be accused of pumping up the possible ramifications of the recent SCOTUS decision to celebrate a non-victory for the pro-life movement. Some claim that Gonzales v. Carhart is worse than nothing, while others are cautiously optimistic that this provides the opportunity to engage this issue with a new judicial terrain. Conversation has been started on the judicial level, and that fact could very well lead to good things.

The threat to Roe v Wade is not lost on Saletan, and he is a man who has thought and written a geat deal about this issue. The Supreme Court declared that partial birth abortion, or infanticide if you are a Greg Koukl fan, is too terrible to allow. Ginsberg asks what is the difference between PBA and the alternatives that remain protected?

"[T]he notion that either of these two equally gruesome procedures … is more akin to infanticide than the other, or that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational," she wrote.

Ahhh, that is the question isn’t it? What is the difference? We want that question hanging in the air. Once we say that one procedure is so terrible that it must not be allowed the questions come naturally. If PBA is so terrible, what about the alternative procedures?

Saletan points out the power that ultrasound bills could have in this fight:

Partial-birth abortions, the court reasoned, could be banned because they occur outside the woman's body. Other abortions need not be outlawed, since the womb conceals them.

Ultrasound dissolves this distinction. It offers to make every fetus and every abortion visible. It forces the court to renounce either the partial-birth ban or the right to abortion.

If our arguments are sound then discussion and information are on our side. We want dialogue. We want serious questions about science and philosophy being asked in every branch of the government as well as in the media and at the water cooler at work. Honest discussion and factual information are our allies. Saletan again:

Pro-lifers are often caricatured as stupid creationists who just want to put women back in their place. Science and free inquiry are supposed to help them get over their "Love affair with the fetus." But science hasn't cooperated. Ultrasound has exposed the Life in the womb to those of us who didn't want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.

As to the objections that the ultrasound bills unfairly guilt women?:

Critics complain that these bills seek to "bias," "coerce," and "guilt-trip" women. Come on. Women aren't too weak to face the truth. If you don't want to look at the video, you don't have to. But you should look at it, and so should the guy who got you pregnant, because the decision you're about to make is as grave as it gets.

I can not explain why the decision is so grave in his mind if the unborn are not human beings, but this is the type of material that you want to be able to quote when pro-aborts argue with you. Supportive statements from those who agree with the pro-abort position. For those still convinced that Gonzales v. Carhart is somehow meaningless pay attention to those who want to protect legalized abortion on demand. They are trying to tell you something. They are troubled by the shift of the judicial winds, and that is good news for those of us that want to see this horror behind us.


  1. Science and free inquiry are supposed to help them get over their "Love affair with the fetus." But science hasn't cooperated. Ultrasound has exposed the Life in the womb to those of us who didn't want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.

    Whoa! People are starting to get it. Though, oddly enough, they remain supportive of abortion "rights".

  2. I am not one of those pro-lifers who is particularly ecstatic about the PBA Ban Ruling. My thoughts are more aligned with Alan Keyes, Judie Brown, and

    Only Scalia and Thomas added the opinion that there is no constitutional right to abortion. This leaves me to think that we have a court that would vote 7-2 to uphold Roe v Wade.

    The PBA ban does nothing to restore respect and effective legal protection to a single baby. It just tells us how and when we can kill them.

    I will admit that all the publicity surrounding this has shown abortion for what it is--and that is a good thing. If it does make someone "squirm" then that, too, is a good thing.

    And, I think it would be a good thing for everyone to read the actual opinion. It will make you weep!

  3. Dr. Lyn,

    Ecstatic? That is a different standard that you are setting. As to the chilling nature of the actual decision, the whole evil practice of abortion is a moral monstrosity from beginning to end. Steve Wagner at Stand to Reason made a strong case for how the legally recognized and painfully detailed descriptions of abortion procedures in these decisions are a tool for our side. It is hard for someone to deny the brutality of abortion when we describe it using the language of the Supreme Court who defends the actions as a constitutional right. We ought to do more than read it, we need to use it.

    How could we ever be satisfied with any decision that does not end the legal protection of the grotesque practice of unnecessarily killing our children? I have never said that we ought to be thrilled with the current state of affairs. I have said that I believe the landscape of this battle was changed for the better by Gonzales v. Carhart. That is all. But that is not nothing.

    A pro-life attorney friend of mine who worked with the Alliance Defense Fund and has read the decision, the dissent, and the concurrence thoroughly with the trained eye of an expert tells me that she sees many positive possibilities in this decision. That is enough for me to feel justified in holding my opinion. I respect the contrary opinion of others as well. But I never expected the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in the next 2 weeks. I hope that we can turn the tide toward a public dialogue that begins to move us from the current legal position, “Any child, anytime, for any reason.” The law of the United States and our Supreme Court finally said that there is an action so terrible that we ought not to do that to the unborn. The day before G v. C there was no action that was so horrible that a doctor could not legally do it to an unborn child. That is advancement. That is all that I have said.

    No person in the pro-life movement ought to be satisfied with the current laws of the United States. I do believe that we should recognize progress and tactically move to take advantage of it. We do not establish footholds for the sake of establishing footholds. We do it to set our feet in and use them for leverage. We have a foothold, now let us test it and see what kind of leverage we can get from it. If it yields nothing, I will sadly concede I was overly optimistic about G v C. But I hope that it will yield results and will continue to say so until proven wrong by a failed advancement. I will not be discouraged in advancing because others have predetermined that this is meaningless before we take it out for a test run.

    I am fairly certain that it would be 5-4 in favor of Roe right now, as I see no reason to believe that Kennedy is an ally and no reason to throw Roberts and Alito under the bus. I think that their absence in the concurrence is hardly conclusive evidence of their future vote in overturning Roe v. Wade.

    God bless you,

    PS I have read the ruling, and Alan Keyes, Judie Brown's, and Bob Enyart's opinions. I understand their position and respectfully disagree with the totality their analysis while agreeing with many of the individual concerns. Further, I think Keyes and Enyart are at best uncharitable to others in the movement and at worst both accuse people of motivations that are despicable without a single shred of evidence. I will not assume the worst of the motivations of others without good reason and think it ill advised to accuse others without good reason.

  4. Thank you, Jay.

    As usual, you give me much to think about.


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