Friday, July 20, 2012

Criminal, Sort Of

The pro-abortion crowd is at it again.   But it's not the pro-choice activists but legislators who no doubt would consider themselves "pro-life."    Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check reports

H.R. 3803, a bill to ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks gestation, is heading to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives after members of the GOP-dominated House Judiciary Committee yesterday voted in favor of it by 18 to 14. The bill would ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks, allowing an exception only to save a pregnant woman’s life.

The bill, sponsored by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), denies a woman access to a medically necessary abortion. It includes no exceptions for situations where continuing a pregnancy will place at risk a woman’s health or ability to have children in the future, for women who may have serious but non-life threatening medical conditions, are suffering from a severe mental illness, or who learn of a fatal or severe fetal anomaly. It would also subject a doctor to criminal penalties for performing a safe and legal medical procedure.

HR 303 (text of bill, here) not only would subject a doctor to imprisonment for up to two years for performing an abortion.    It expressly authorizes to pursue a civil action the woman who procured an abortion, "the father of an unborn child," and in some instances, "a maternal grandparent of the unborn child."

According to Wikipedia, abortion law, framed by Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions, stipulates that

The State has the right to intervene prior to fetal viability only to protect the health of the mother, and may regulate the procedure after viability so long as there is always an exception for preserving maternal health. The Court additionally added that the primary right being preserved in the Roe decision was that of the physician's right to practice medicine freely absent a compelling state interest – not women's rights in general. The Court explicitly rejected a fetal "right to life" argument.  

The Supreme Court in Roe pegged viability "at about seven months (28 weeks)" but at times "earlier, even at 24 weeks."   (If you notice that seven months is generally approximately 30 weeks, you're paying attention.)    It is difficult to determine when viability occurs now, given technological advances, but it probably occurs (on average) at approximately 24 weeks, significantly later than 20 weeks, the point at which the proposed bill would ban abortions.   So much for constitutionality.

Women do not seek an abortion lightly.   Still, encouraging civil suits against doctors who perform a medically necessary procedure hardly discourages the individual who has sought the procedure, one which supporters of the legislation presumably believe is the violent destruction of a human life.   And holding the woman completely blameless suggests that pro-life legislators either believe that murder isn't such a big deal or don't believe abortion is termination of a human life.

There seems to be a new ethos circulating among alleged opponents of abortion.  It is such an affront to human dignity and so offensive to the values of society that a doctor asked to perform one must be charged in the criminal courts.    Nevertheless, the woman who decides to end her pregnancy, travels to a licensed practitioner to offer him or her money to perform the procedure, and ultimately pays off the physician is held to be a victim.   Women, apparently, have to be protected against themselves.   So much for human dignity.

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