On Pain, Viability, and Votes

On the agenda this week: two bills addressing mid- and late-term abortions. One bill is federal, and it fell short on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate. The other bill is getting its hearing this week (January 31, 10:00 a.m.) before a New Hampshire House committee, a year after a similar bill was tabled in the House.

The opposition by abortion advocates is predictable, as is the split among pro-lifers.

Federal: the “Pain-Capable” Bill

The U.S. Senate failed this week to advance a so-called “Pain-Capable” bill, which would have limited abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy, the point at which preborn children can feel pain. As if the very title of the bill weren’t enough to calm fears that it might actually confer personhood on anyone (it was written to be merely a limitation on abortion), the bill contained exceptions for children conceived through rape and incest.

The point of those exceptions is anyone’s guess. They provided no tactical advantage of which I’m aware, and they infuriated rape survivors and their children.

We were treated to the disedifying spectacle of the Democratic Senate leader high-fiving a colleague after the vote. They weren’t celebrating the defeat of an exceptions bill. Way to go, guys. Team Gosnell prevails again.

Here are two different views of the Pain-Capable Bill, offered by women whose experiences give them a perspective that I’m sure most Senators lack. These are taken from public posts on social media.

Darlene Pawlik at TheDarlingPrincess.com, “The Law is a Teacher” (excerpt):

This bill teaches that children over 20 weeks gestation deserve protection from the horrific pain of having arms and legs torn off or their heads and chests crushed at the hands of abortionists. It further teaches that, a similar child who’s unfortunate enough to be the second victim of rape does not deserve to be protected form that same excruciating death.

…It is very important to note that perhaps, the one person, the mom, who could redeem the situation would be left with the guilt of committing an atrocity against another innocent victim. This could set her up for post traumatic stress responses for the rest of her life.

…I was not only conceived by a violent rape, but my first child was born as a result of sex trafficking. I am the target of this kind of legislation….

Of course, I’ll ask you to remove the exceptions. These exceptions undermine to premise of the bill. They are discriminatory and unjust. No child should receive the death sentence for the crime of their father.

Catherine Adair on Facebook:

I find it really hard to talk about the defeat of the 20-week abortion bill by Senate Democrats. Every time I think about it, I am right back in the abortion clinic, staring at a jar filled with the severed arms and legs of a baby who just moments before had been ripped apart in [its] mother’s womb. I am right back to that place where I told mothers that the doctor was going to “gently extract the contents of the uterus.” Women in their 23rd week of pregnancy were lied to and told it was a simple “procedure.”

Nobody told them that they and their baby would be in agony as the doctor used forceps and sharp instruments to dismember their child, pulling and tugging until the baby was ripped apart and he could pull the body out, piece by piece.

…To see Senate Democrats high-fiving each other on the Senate floor truly left me sickened….What kind of a society allows such barbaric killing? What kind of a society allows late-term abortion to be used as a way to generate profits for a body parts selling industry? Have people lost all sense of their humanity?

Even writing this I can smell the sick, horrifying smell of the abortion procedure room. It is something that will never leave me. I want to run and hide and pretend like this barbarism isn’t happening. I truly can’t bear the horror. But I have to say something, if only in memory of the thousands of babies whose blood I have on my hands.

Dear God, I implore you to awaken those who are blind, those who helped to defeat this bill, and those who voted against it. Please open their eyes. Please give them back their humanity. Please have mercy on us.

In New Hampshire: the Viable Fetus Protection Act

Rep. Keith Murphy (R-Bedford) is leading a team of sponsors on HB 1680, to restrict abortions after viability. Restrict, not ban: it has exceptions (though none for rape and incest). Far from undermining Roe, it is consistent with Roe’s holding that the state may assert an interest in prenatal life in the latter stages of pregnancy. New Hampshire is a place of abortion extremism, where unregulated providers can do the deed anytime until the preborn child comes to term. HB 1680 is an attempt to change that, in a modest way.

The bill does not pretend to push against any constitutional limits. It doesn’t pretend to be about personhood. It is a straightforward bid “to assert a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of viable unborn fetuses.” It even leaves the determination of viability to the “treating physician,” meaning the abortion provider.

I support the bill as a step toward loosening the grip of abortion absolutists on my state’s public policy, just as I supported Murphy’s HB 578 last year.

New Hampshire Right to Life takes a different view.

This bill prohibits post-viability abortions (which NHRTL supports) but it also includes exceptions for the [unrestrained] health of the mother; for Twin To Twin Transfer (TTS) syndrome; and for Fetal anomalies incompatible with life. NHRTL cannot support enacting law that explicitly excludes any class of humans from legal protection. [brackets and parentheses in original]

I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that if – if – HB 1680 is defeated or derailed, abortion advocates will be high-fiving in Reps Hall just as they did in the U.S. Capitol the other day. And once again, they won’t be high-fiving over the defeat of “exceptions.”

 

Last chance for tickets to NHRTL banquet

From New Hampshire Right to Life: Friday, October 6 (coming right up!) is the deadline for purchasing tickets to NHRTL’s annual banquet, being held on October 12. More information is on their web site.

I’ll miss the event since I have to be up early the next morning for a crack-of-dawn flight to D.C. to cover the Values Voter conference. I’ve enjoyed past NHRTL banquets. They feature good company, interesting conversation, and thought-provoking speakers. This year’s speaker is Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More.

 

Round-Up: Pro-Life at Yale, Etc.

Here’s what turns up in a month-end sweep of my inbox and bookmarked social-media items:

Yes, Yale Has Pro-Lifers

Registration is open now for Vita et Veritas, Yale’s fifth annual pro-life conference, coming up October 6 & 7. The first conference was founded in 2013 by a team of students in Choose Life at Yale (CLAY). I envy this year’s attendees the opportunity to hear from the conference’s lineup of speakers. Thumbs up to all who are working for a culture of life in unlikely places.

Tickets Available for NHRTL Banquet

New Hampshire Right to Life’s annual banquet is scheduled for October 12 in Manchester. Featured speaker: Janet Morana of Priests for Life and Silent No More Awareness. More information here.

Responding to Disaster

The catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey has brought forth one amazing story after another about people helping each other and making donations for short-term and long-term relief. New Wave Feminists leader Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa lives in Dallas. She heard about a Texas church that was taking in flood refugees and was in need of diapers and feminine hygiene products. Destiny then made a one-minute video appeal on Facebook, saying that donations to NWF over the following 24 hours would go toward meeting that particular need.

Result: wow. Check out the post from the last couple of days at the NWF Facebook page.

Not to take anything away from the big guys like the Red Cross, but sometimes small is beautiful. Neighbors- helping-neighbors is a good thing.

Mandate Update…Still Waiting

In case you missed it on the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page, here’s a link to a recent Washington Examiner editorial calling for the abolition of the so-called HHS/contraceptive mandate. That’s an Obamacare feature that not only attacks religious liberty but also writes into public policy the idea that women are broken and need to be fixed.

(More on the mandate here.)

So when will the elected officials who decried the mandate when it was handed down in 2012 finally get rid of it?

40 Days for Life Approaching

I never get tired of promoting this program of peaceful witness. Fall 2017 campaigns will begin next month in Manchester and Greenland, and now is the time to plan to schedule your vigil hours. The official web pages for each campaign will give you information about the overall 40 Days for Life effort, contact information for the local coordinator, and a link to signing up for vigil hours (including a link to the Statement of Peace required of all participants).

Manchester information

Greenland information

Need a speaker about 40DFL for your local group, radio show, or podcast? Contact the campaign coordinators at the links above.