In an era of “fake news,” partisan orneriness, a news cycle the length of a flea’s attention span, “my truth” and “your truth,” and so on, life for ordinary Americans trying to keep up with politics can sometimes feel like a 24/7 theater of the absurd—nowhere more so than February in Congress, as lawmakers introduced a bill called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
We can imagine what a lot of Americans must be thinking: Abortion has survivors, as in wiggling, breathing, crying babies—and protecting them isn’t a given in our fair nation?
Surreal as that sounds, it’s not fake news. Lawmakers in several states and in the Washington swamp really are debating what most people consider beyond the pale: whether the umbrella term “reproductive rights” covers literal infanticide.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act was put to a vote in direct response to outrageous legislation around the country which made a viable child’s right to life uncertain by extending legal abortion up to the moment when someone yells, “Push, push!” and repealing existing protections for babies who inconvenience abortionists by being tough to kill.
It didn’t take long for extreme pro-abortion Democrat politicians to start blowing smoke. We’re just codifying Roe v. Wade, they said; no reason to panic, they said. They didn’t explain how that infamous ruling took abortion law away from the people and the states, legalizing abortion on demand by judicial fiat, or how its companion decision Doe v. Bolton defined “health” as any factor—psychological, social, emotional—potentially affecting well-being.
When all but three Democrats in the U.S. Senate vote to block a Born-Alive statute, the abortion debate has clearly gone off the rails. The Democratic Party is so deeply in the hip pocket of the abortion industry, it’s incapable of taking a stand even against “fourth-trimester abortion,” aka infanticide. If this doesn’t expose the economic might of the abortion lobby, its political clout, and its grip not just on the fringe of the Democratic Party but on the entire party, we don’t know what will to fair-minded, objective observers.
A huge swath of mainstream America holds views to the right of, say, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The extremism of zealous abortion advocates is such a turnoff to the Democratic Party’s own base, recent polls show a 14-point upswing in identification as “pro-life” among Democrats and nearly 20 points among voters under age 45.
Even many who are pro-choice wouldn’t support an Oprah’s-favorite-things-giveaway mentality toward unlimited, taxpayer-funded abortion. It’s not that they have just forgotten to pivot away from Clinton-era talking points; they sincerely believe abortion is a morally challenging decision that should be taken rarely and early in a pregnancy, if at all. This ambivalence or outright opposition most Americans feel is reflected in abortion rates that have steadily dropped since 1981.
Roe was a big mistake, and mistakes shouldn’t be protected by stare decisis (respect for precedent). It’s no wonder we are closer than we have been in decades to substantially undermining Roe, which of course would not automatically outlaw abortion everywhere, but would send abortion policy back to the states.
Really, that’s where contentious issues belong—subject to the will of the people, in the hands of their elected representatives, who can be held accountable by the people they work for, the voters. The chance to fight to win hearts and minds in that arena is one everybody, regardless of their position, ought to embrace.
Americans are waking up. Amid the daily noise and the hustle and bustle of work and family life, infanticide probably wasn’t on the radar of most working people. Now it is—and they hold the power to put a stop to it by voting the extremists out.
And maybe, just maybe, having this debate will reinvigorate foundational American values like commitment to the sanctity of life and the importance of defending the most helpless in society: unborn children and their mothers, the disabled, the elderly. That’s a real news story we hope to read someday soon.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. George Seay is the CEO of Annandale Capital, a global investment company.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.