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When is it about the baby?
In case you missed it, State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) succeeded late Tuesday night (06/25/13) in her effort to kill Senate Bill 5, a measure that would have made it illegal in Texas to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks.
As time was ticking away toward the end of the special legislative session, Ms. Davis’s filibuster, and the chaos that it unleashed in the gallery of the senate chamber, delayed passage and signing of the bill past the midnight end of the legislative session, rendering its passage invalid.
Governor Rick Perry lost no time in calling a second special legislative session that will begin July 1 for the express purpose of making another attempt to pass the bill.
Talking heads on the left were quick to hail Ms. Davis for her, “courage” and her “hard work and dedication to Texans.”
NARAL Pro Choice America, the euphemized name for the group that used to call itself the “National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws,” was quick to jump on Gov. Perry. In a release dated June 26, the headline reads,
“At Taxpayer’s Expense, Gov. Perry Doubles Down on His Threats to Women’s Health.”
The last sentence of the release reads,
“We, along with our affiliate, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, will remain vigilant in the fight to keep meddling politicians out of our private health decisions.”
Whatever your feelings about abortion, you cannot legitimately make the argument that abortion is a “women’s health” issue. The women’s health angle is a sophism. It is a twisting of language intended to make what many consider to be murder less offensive to the ear.
The fact is, you don’t “come down” with pregnancy like it’s the flu. Except in the case of rape, pregnancy results from a woman’s conscious decision to have sex with a man.
If you want to make the case that a woman has a “right to choose,” I will agree with you. But all rights have attendant responsibilities. The choice to have sex is freighted with the potential to create a human life. Therefore the act, if it is to be undertaken, must be undertaken responsibly and that responsibility includes the duty to employ readily available and inexpensive measures to avoid pregnancy if pregnancy is not desired. (The Catholic Church, for one, opposes those preventive measures and though I disagree, I respect the church’s position. But that’s another discussion.)
Couching opposition to Senate Bill 5 as a “health” issue sidesteps the fact that a baby 19-weeks in utero has fully formed arms, legs, fingers, toes and facial features. It can suck its thumb, dream, move on its own, yawn, stretch and make faces. Its heart pumps blood through arteries and veins just as your heart does.
Yet under the measure that Ms. Davis’s filibuster just succeeding in squashing, it would have still been legal in Texas to abort that baby.
Even if it offends you to do so, I ask you to set aside for the moment the arguments of those that believe that life begins at the very moment of conception. Allow, purely for the sake of discussion, that it is OK to terminate a pregnancy in its very early stages.
With that latitude taken, I believe that it’s fair to say that somewhere after the moment of conception but before the moment of full-term delivery of a living human being, there is a line at which the termination of a pregnancy constitutes infanticide.
Twenty weeks – nearly five months – seems to me like a very liberal placement of that line.
Obviously Ms. Davis and her supporters disagree. So I say to them, where do you folks draw the line? When, by your estimation, does a pregnancy stop being about “women’s health” and start being about an unborn child?
Is it ever about the baby?