A Democratic senator blocked on Monday night the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have ensured children who survived abortions were given medical care.
Unfortunately, this shouldn’t be a complete shock. In the years since Roe v. Wade, our culture has continued its downward trend to supporting death, not life.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and came on the heels of comments last week from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia insinuating that he supports infanticide in some instances.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., objected to the bill, arguing that the legislation is unnecessary, and thus preventing the bill from receiving unanimous consent.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., pointed out that the Senate unanimously confirmed legislation congratulating New England Patriots on winning the Super Bowl but, sadly, couldn’t unify on behalf of a resolution condemning infanticide.
Freshman Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., called upon American citizens to speak out against infanticide and added that he was surprised to encounter pro-infanticide sentiment so soon in his tenure.
Braun is right to be horrified by the situation and he is right to ask citizens to speak out.
But he should not be surprised to see pro-infanticide sentiment at this point in our nation’s history.
In fact, he and other pro-life senators should expect not only a movement toward the legalization of infanticide but also arguments in favor of the legalization of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
Roe v. Wade legalized abortion by implicitly categorizing an unborn baby as the “personalty” (a legal term referring to one’s private property). Thus, ironically, merely a few years after America’s affirmation of the civil rights movement, the Supreme Court majority in Roe declared that there was, after all, an entire class of human beings—unborn babies—for whom there would be no guarantee of justice and equality.
Regrettably, left-leaning jurists such as Justice John Paul Stevens supported the perverse logic of Roe by arguing that an unborn baby does not become a human being until the moment of birth.
But such an argument is deeply incoherent; a being’s nature is not determined by its location.
Furthermore, as Valparaiso University law professor Richard Stith argued 20 years ago, the incoherence of this progressive argument—that the moment of birth is a “bright line” at which an infant becomes a human being—may very well lead to the embrace of infanticide.
In other words, since medical science makes clear that there is very little difference between a baby the day before birth and the day after birth, Stith speculated that progressive thought leaders would increasingly argue for the legalization of post-birth abortion.
And that is exactly what has happened in ensuing years.
Consider that in 2006, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology surprised many people when it issued a formal statement arguing that the United Kingdom should consider legalizing infanticide in the case of disabled babies. Euthanizing the baby, the statement said, would alleviate a family’s emotional and financial burdens.
Or, consider the fact that many of the West’s most influential ethicists support infanticide. For example, John Harris, a founder of the International Association of Bioethics, argues that if abortion can be justified, so can infanticide. “There is no obvious reason,” Harris said, per a Telegraph article published in 2004, “why one should think differently, from an ethical point of view, about a fetus when it’s outside the womb rather than when it’s inside the womb.”
Similarly, Jonathan Glover, senior ethicist at King’s College London, argues that there is no such thing as an inherent “sanctity of human life.” He argues that babies are not autonomous because they are not even aware of the difference between life and death. Thus, parents and medical personnel should evaluate whether or not the infant’s life is worth living.
Even worse is the inevitability that the movement to legalize infanticide will be accompanied by a push to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
The career of Princeton University ethicist Peter Singer is case in point. Singer made his name by rejecting “the sanctity of human life” as nothing more than religious mumbo-jumbo, as he did in a 2009 Foreign Policy article. With the sanctity of human life thus rejected, he goes on to argue in favor of infanticide, voluntary euthanasia of the elderly, and physician-assisted suicide.
In nations that have legislated along the lines of Singer’s utilitarian ethic, the results have been disastrous.
Since the Netherlands legalized euthanasia nearly 20 years ago, doctors have taken the lives of thousands of elderly citizens annually. In the Netherlands’ culture of death, it is therefore not surprising that thousands of citizens carry cards prohibiting doctors from euthanizing them, and some elderly citizens express fear about going in for basic medical care because of the possibility of euthanasia.
Recently, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail reported that a Dutch family had to hold down their mother, as she fought against being euthanized by her doctor. The patient, who was not named in the reports, suffered from dementia and had reportedly told medical officials that she wished to be euthanized when “the time was right.”
And yet, even though she reportedly said “I don’t want to die” several times in the days leading up to the killing, the doctor, who was also not named, determined that the time was right, slipped a sedative into her coffee to relax her, and then tried to administer the lethal injection. The patient awoke and resisted the doctor, causing the physician to ask the family for help in holding down the patient down while he finished her off, per the reports.
Northam’s support for infanticide and Murray’s objection to anti-infanticide legislation should not be viewed as insignificant. However, they should likewise not be seen as entirely surprising.
Anti-life legislation is arguably the most consistent consequence of the culture of death enshrined in our legal code since Roe v. Wade. Northam and Murray represent a powerful movement to stay true to the ethic undergirding pro-abortion activism, and they are gaining support day by day.
This unashamed movement to undermine the sanctity of human life must be resisted, not only by Congress but by the citizens of our great nation. If the United States Congress can unify to support a football team, then surely it can unify to defeat any movement that threatens the sanctity of human life.