Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

April 2, 2013

Continuing our head-long slide down the slippery slope of abortion

When people challenge and attempt to liberalize valued traditions, there is usually great concern that doing so is the first step down the “slippery slope,” which ultimately leads to bad results. The “slippery slope” is considered a logical fallacy, but in the case of abortion, evidence supports that it is an apt argument.

We started down this slope when abortion was legalized 40 years ago. If it was not the original intention, abortion certainly has become a thinly disguised mechanism for after-the-fact birth control. Pregnancy is not a mystery; we know what causes it. There are numerous ways to prevent pregnancy whenever people decide to forego the one certain way to prevent pregnancy: abstinence.

Birth control devices, while not perfect, are very dependable when used properly. However, somewhere along the way it was recognized that there were a lot of people facing the eventual birth of an unwanted child, and some thought that society was obligated to find a way to relieve these folks of having to bear responsibility for their actions. Abortion became the solution for unwanted pregnancy, under the curious label, “a woman’s right to choose.”

Each now-pregnant woman and her male partner had the right to choose to abstain from sexual intercourse and chose not to. They had the right to choose to use birth control, and either chose not to, or chose not to use it consistently or correctly, or it just didn’t work one time. In the great majority of cases, birth control measures do work when used properly, and that means that in the majority of cases the right to use birth control actually was not chosen.

The “right to choose” is little more than a mechanism for prospective parents to avoid creating a child at an inconvenient time: In 2004 fully 74 percent of women getting an abortion said a child would “dramatically change their life.”

Since Roe v. Wade imposed legalized abortion on the nation in 1973, 55 million abortions have been performed, and approximately 1.2 million future Americans were aborted in each of the last several years. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, and nearly half of those are aborted.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s most prolific provider of abortions, performing about 1-in-4 total U.S. abortions each year, chalking up 334,000 in 2011. It received $542 million from taxpayers that year, about 40 percent of its total revenues.

And since 1973 we have witnessed the slide down that slippery slope. It has been considered acceptable by a significant number of Americans to end a pregnancy anywhere from the morning after to the day when the baby should be born healthy and ready for life.

We have been treated to horrors such as partial birth abortion where the baby is allowed to be born, but not completely, with part of the child still in the birth canal so that a butcher with M.D. or D.O. after his or her name can kill the child before it is “born.” This nefarious procedure takes hair-splitting to a new level.

A year ago a giant slide down the slippery slope occurred when two Australian ethicists — Alberto Giubilini with Monash University in Melbourne, and Francesca Minerva at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne — provided an answer to the question, “When does a fetus become a person?” Their answer: it doesn’t matter. They argued in the online edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics that if abortion of a fetus is allowable, so, too, should be the “termination” of a newborn.

This cold-blooded idea has now infected the United States. That same concept appeared in testimony at a Florida legislative committee that was considering a bill to require abortionists to provide medical care to an infant who survives an abortion and is moving on the table and struggling for life.

A Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates lobbyist endorsed the right to “post-birth abortion.” The lobbyist, Alisa LaPolt Snow, stunned legislators when she said that her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion “should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

This is nothing more than pre-meditated murder, and is not so different from first responders executing a seriously injured accident victim. And just how far does this “right” to post-birth abortion extend? The first birthday? The difficult years of adolescence? Or perhaps it will extend many years after the botched abortion when under as-yet-unknown elements of the Affordable Care Act bureaucrats may be in the position to determine that it will cost too much to keep an elderly patient alive.

Fortunately, the tide appears to be turning against the grizzly practice of abortion. Last June a Gallop poll showed that 50 percent identified themselves as “pro-life” compared to 41 percent who said they were “pro-choice.” And, 51 percent said abortion is morally wrong, compared to 38 percent who said it is morally acceptable. And some state legislatures have passed tighter restrictions on the procedure.

This attitude favoring preserving life and restoring personal responsibility is one small ray of light in America’s otherwise darkening culture.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.

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