Slowly, step-by-step, we are making progress in the pro-life movement nationally, and this is in spite of a deeply dedicated pro-abortion president. With him at the helm, having the power to veto, we can be sure that in the next three-and-a-half years we will not be able to pass any significant pro-life legislation. However, this does not prevent activity at the state level—and the states are busy.
The states are grassroots and reflect rather accurately the beliefs and sentiments of grassroots people. Legislation getting the most attention is that which stops abortion after 20 weeks. This is half-way through a 40-week pregnancy, measuring age from the first day of the last menstrual period.
In polls regarding a bill that protects babies at the half-way mark of pregnancy, you will find an intriguing answer. As of now, two-thirds of women are in favor of legislation to protect developing babies. Although abortion is touted as a women’s rights issue, women’s support of restrictions is at a higher rate than the percentage of men. We must consider that this is at the half-way mark, a continuing liability, but it is a giant step from ten or twenty years ago.
According to the CDC abortion surveillance report of 2009 (the latest statistics available), almost 9% of abortions take place at 14 weeks or later. It should be noted that the CDC figure (800,000) is known to be low because it relies only upon reported numbers from states. Some, such as California, are not required to report this statistic. It is generally accepted that 1.2 million abortions are performed each year. Translated into actual numbers, this means that of the 1,200,000 estimated abortions, over 108,000 are aborted at 14 weeks or later.
But what is so unusual about this? Abortion is legal in many countries in the world, including most of Western Europe. Oh, not so fast—across the world the US is only one of four countries that allow abortions after the half-way mark. Even European countries forbid abortion after the 20-week mark.
Recently, we have been presented with two frightening, horrible examples of what the 20-plus-week laws have allowed. One is in Pennsylvania. This was abortionist Gosnell who became a notorious figure for the dreadful crimes committed at his late-term slaughter house. Inhumane and disturbing acts against women and babies were revealed in testimony at his trial earlier this year. In the end, the jury found him guilty. He was convicted of murdering babies born alive following botched late-term abortions (as well as the death of a woman patient) and sentenced to life in prison.
An even more egregious example has surfaced in south Texas. Abortionist Douglas Karpen has been doing late-term abortions down there for years. We now have eyewitness accounts from those who worked at his facility, describing some pretty horrible stuff. The one that shocked even me was an abortion of a late-term baby where Karpen took the newborn infant and simply twisted the baby’s head off of her body. He did this on more than one occasion. This of course is murder, plain and simple. His actions have been revealed and documented by employees who worked with him in this slaughter house. He is under investigation and will hopefully be prosecuted. Not surprising, there has been significant movement in the state of Texas with the passage of a bill to protect babies’ lives during the second half of pregnancy.
As a physician who during my professional career delivered many babies, I take great comfort in seeing this substantive progress toward ending abortion. I fully understand that it falls well short of our ultimate goal of protecting all innocent human life from womb to tomb. But we’re succeeding in changing the heart of a nation. The other side realizes this and it terrifies them; and we’re seeing evidence of it by their increasing radical behavior.
So the fight continues. As more and more extraordinary tragic cases are brought to light, public opinion is moving steadily in the direction of at least protecting the unborn during the second half of pregnancy. So, while our deeply dedicated pro-abortion president will not stop abortion-on-demand, nevertheless our states are free to do so to a limited degree. And increasingly, partly because of such tragedies as above, we are seeing a move in many of the states to at least protect babies at the half-way mark. It probably won’t happen in New York; it probably won’t happen in California; but it could very well happen in a great many other states. Let’s hope this trend continues.