The United States Supreme Court just upheld the law commonly known as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban and the major 2008 presidential candidates have all offered their reaction to the court’s decision.
However, before I let them speak for themselves, I think it is appropriate to give some background to the “partial birth abortion” procedure.
For the purpose of the law to ban partial birth abortion, the US Congress defined a partial birth abortion as,
“An abortion in which the person performing the abortion, deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus. (18 U.S. Code 1531)” [Emphasis added]
Wikipedia has a fairly comprehensive entry titled “Intact Dilation and Extraction,” (a.k.a. partial birth abortion and PBA) that outlines the historical, medical and legal background of this controversial procedure. Additionally, Wikipedia’s entry, Partial-Birth Abortion Act Ban, provides a good summary of the issues that surround the law itself.
The National Right To Life organization offers a series of slides that provide a visual overview of the PBA procedure. This set of 5 black and white illustrations are fairly simple, but give an objective representation of what happens when a mother chooses to abort her late term baby. WARNING: Though the slides are simple and without sensationalism, they may be very disturbing and probably very enlightening to most people.
Other links that I think offer helpful insight to the PBA procedure are:
The Naitonal Right to Life
Priests for Life
Now that you have had a chance to be informed about the PBA procedure, I offer the presidential hopeful’s thoughts about the US Supreme court’s decision to uphold the ban on PBA.
John Edwards for President
Apr 18, 2007
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Senator John Edwards released the following statement about today’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal abortion ban.
“I could not disagree more strongly with today’s Supreme Court decision. The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to the health of individual women. This hard right turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election. Too much is at stake – starting with, as the Court made all too clear today, a woman’s right to choose.” [Emphasis added]
[According to this press release, Senator Edwards believes it is vitally important that Democrats win the 2008 election so that they can preserve a woman’s right to choose to have her baby partially delivered before killing it.]
“The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion,” Giuliani said in a statement on the 5-4 decision. “I agree with it.” [Emphasis added]
[According to this article, when Giuliani ran for Senate in 2000, he said he would not vote to restrict a woman’s right to undergo the procedure [PBA]. So, one must wonder if Rudy has had a genuine change of heart, or an expedient, politically motivated one.]
From the Senate: Statement on Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Carhart Decision
Washington, DC — “This decision marks a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman’s right to choose and recognized the importance of women’s health. Today’s decision blatantly defies the Court’s recent decision in 2000 striking down a state partial-birth abortion law because of its failure to provide an exception for the health of the mother. As the Supreme Court recognized in Roe v. Wade in 1973, this issue is complex and highly personal; the rights and lives of women must be taken into account. It is precisely this erosion of our constitutional rights that I warned against when I opposed the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.” [Emphasis added]
[In discussions like this, I always wonder about the rights and lives of the children, the most vulnerable and unwilling participant of this activity. In this case of PBA, we’re talking about a live baby that has it’s head all the way outside the mother’s body; or, in the case of a forced breach birth, has all of it’s body save it’s head outside the mother’s body. ]
“I am very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the ban on partial birth abortions. This ban was enacted to put an end to one of the most grotesque forms of abortion, and it is completely in line with the respect for life that is at the very heart of our Constitution. This is a great step forward for our nation’s citizens, born and unborn.” [Emphasis added]
‘I strongly disagree with today’s Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman’s medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.” [Emphasis added]
[Please allow me a few questions Mr. Obama: Would it matter to you if the baby was “aborted” one hour after full delivery? Would it matter to you if a mother and father agreed to kill their 2-year old daughter because she was terribly inconvenient to their desired lifestyle, or because they realized they can’t love her the way a child deserves to be loved? Should the government interfere in the very personal decisions between parents? What if they asked a doctor to be involved? Should the presence of a doctor prevent the government’s interference in the very personal decisions between a doctor and patients. I wonder why I don’t ever hear about equal rights for the most vulnerable among us. ]
Tancredo Applauds Supreme Court Decision to End Late Term Abortions
4/17/2007 Contact: Alan Moore 703.255.9898
(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Tom Tancredo (R- CO) rejoiced over today’s Supreme Court decision, ending partial birth abortions. In these abortions, usually performed late in a pregnancy, the infant’s skull is crushed and extracted from the womb.
Today the Supreme Court put an end to this barbaric practice of infanticide, Tancredo said. One can only hope this is the first step towards ending the tragedy of abortions.
This ruling, won by a 5-4 margin, is the first major victory for pro-life activists since Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito were appointed to the Supreme Court. Both of them voted in the majority, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy.
Congressman Tancredo concluded by saying, I am pleased the Court has finally begun to address the moral and intellectual travesty of Roe vs. Wade. [Emphasis added]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kevin Madden (857) 288-6390
Boston, MA – Today, Governor Mitt Romney issued the following statement praising the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act:
“Today, our nation’s highest court reaffirmed the value of life in America by upholding a ban on a practice that offends basic human decency. This decision represents a step forward in protecting the weakest and most innocent among us.” [Emphasis added]
For Immediate Release
April 18, 2007 Contact: Danny Diaz 703-650-5550
“Cherish The Sanctity Of Life:” Statement By Senator McCain
ARLINGTON, VA – U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today released the following statement:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures. As we move forward, it is critically important that our party continues to stand on the side of life.” [Emphasis added]
In reality, I don’t think there is any significant difference between a late-term partial birth abortion and a late-term enutero abortion. In both cases, a living child, has its life taken from it. I guess the PBA “seems” more ghastly because the child is so close to being outside the mother’s body, thus reaching the arbitrary point of medical and legal protection.