January 23, 2008
Jan. 25, 2008
Roe v. Wade
After 35 years of legalized abortion, could Hollywood be more pro-life
than America's churches? Absolutely.
Americans have flocked to five movies, such as "Bella," portraying
heroines who choose to give birth rather than to abort a baby. "Juno,"
a box office hit about a teenager who gives her baby up for adoption,
was nominated for Academy Awards as best picture, best director, actor
and screenplay. Other pro-life films are "Waitress," "Knocked Up" and
By contrast, many of the 35 denominations affiliated with the National
Council of Churches with 45 million members approve of "the woman's
right to choose," as they euphemistically describe the killing of a baby
in the womb: United Methodists, Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutherans,
Presbyterian Church (USA). All are losing members.
Catholics, Southern Baptists and many evangelical churches oppose
abortion. However, abortion sermons are rare. Psalm #139 says,"You
knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am
fearfully and wonderfully made."
Yet nearly 50 million unborn babies have had their lives legally torn
However, there has been progress. The number of abortions dropped to 1.2
million in 2005, the lowest level since 1974, and down 25 percent from a
1.6 million peak in 1990.
Abortion advocates attribute the decline to increased use of
contraceptives. However, fewer young people are sexually active in high
school, due in part to abstinence courses.
More important, many states have passed laws limiting the availability
of abortion. For example, 25 states such as Kentucky, Mississippi,
Wyoming and Missouri, require parental consent for minors seeking an
abortion,. Many also have "Informed Consent" laws, 11 of which require
that abortion clinics offer an ultrasound picture of the baby in the
Those states have America's lowest abortion rates. Why? When teenagers
know they'd have to tell their parents if they get pregnant and want an
abortion, fewer have sex. Teen abortions fell from 461,000 in 1979 to
250,000 by 1999.
Most women with an unwanted pregnancy are in their twenties and
thirties. If they see the live baby in their womb with ultrasound, many
decide to give birth.
By contrast, New York State introduced a "Freedom of Choice Act" that
would wipe out even health regulations of abortions. New Jersey and
California use state funds to pay for abortions. Those states' abortion
rates are the nation's highest - six times higher than the best ones.
State regulations of abortion matter. According to Americans United for
Life 107 bills were introduced in state legislatures already this year.
There were no states with Informed Consent in 1992, but 32 now have
them. Similarly, no states required a minimum waiting period of 24
hours before an abortion could be given in 1992, but 24 now do so.
Prof. Michael New of the University of Alabama studied the effect of
such laws and concluded that they were responsible for up to a 50
percent drop of abortions in Mississippi and Michigan.
Another bit of good news this past year was the Supreme Court's
upholding of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act in Gonzales v.
Carhart. For the first time in 35 years, it voted 5-4 that government
has a "legitimate interest in protecting fetal life," and can "express
profound respect for the life within a woman" as long as there is no
"substantial obstacle to the woman's exercise of the right to choose."
It agreed with Congress that the now-banned procedure had a "disturbing
similarity to the killing of a new-born infant." In a normal late-term
abortion, called "dilation and evacuation" (D&E), the Court said "The
fetus is usually ripped apart as it is removed, and the doctor may take
10 to 15 passes to remove it entirely."
What is now banned is a variation called an "intact D&E" in which "a
doctor extracts the fetus intact...pulling out its body instead of
ripping it apart. In order to allow the head to pass through the cervix,
the doctor typically pierces or crushes the skull," the Court explained.
It called that "a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never
However, there were only 5,000 Partial Birth Abortions. Banning them
will simply allow doctors to dismember the baby, tearing off first one
leg up to the knee, then the thigh, and the other leg. The hands and
arms come next followed by ripping the torso.
How is that more humane than a Partial Birth Abortion?
Pro-life advocates should use the Supreme Court's language to fight for
more state laws. More important, we need a President who will appoint
more pro-life Justices truly committed to America's ideal of "life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
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