Yesterday was one of the most encouraging days in a long time for people who revere life.
In Florida, the Legislature, reacting to grass-roots pressure not only from residents of the state but from around the nation, quickly passed “Terri’s Law,” legislation empowering Gov. Jeb Bush to take action in restoring water and food to Terri Schindler-Schiavo.
A court order, requested by her estranged husband, had prompted doctors to remove a feeding tube from the mentally impaired woman.
Jeb Bush claimed he was powerless to act, so the Legislature specifically authorized him to do so.
In effect, Florida’s politicians got some backbone because the people led them.
At the same time, the U.S. Senate, following the lead of the House of Representatives, approved a law prohibiting partial-birth abortion. This was the second time Congress had so acted. But the last time, the bill was vetoed by Bill Clinton, a political captive of the abortion industry.
There was much groaning and gnashing of teeth among the Planned Parenthood crowd in the Senate.
“This is indeed a historic day,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a fanatical abortion proponent, “because for the first time in history Congress is banning a medical procedure that is considered medically necessary by physicians.”
Boxer is probably thinking of physician Josef Mengele. No other physicians make such a claim. The bill passed easily with bipartisan support, 64-34. It passed in the House, 281-142, three weeks ago.
President Bush had urged Congress to pass the ban, which Republicans had pursued since the GOP captured the House in 1995, and the president had said he would sign it into law.
But opponents said the first federal ban on abortion since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was unconstitutional and, like similar state laws, would be struck down.
If it is, the Supreme Court that strikes it down should be impeached. If the court finds in the Constitution a place that suggests pre-born babies should be stabbed in the head with scissors, their brains sucked out while their bodies are partially delivered from the womb, the justices will reach a new low in judicial activism.
Could Oct. 21, 2003, represent a turning point for the movement that holds life sacred?
It could be.
But these two victories represent baby steps in what remains a long march to restore justice and morality in America.
Nevertheless, it’s cause for celebration. The pro-life movement hasn’t had much to celebrate in many years. Yesterday brought two victories – one for unborn babies and the other for handicapped adults.
Finally, it appears there will be at least minimal legal protections for the unborn – keeping them from one hideous form of cruel and unusual punishment of a kind that would never be permitted in America on criminals or animals but which has been used to snuff out the lives of thousands of innocent babies.
Secondly, another form of cruel and unusual punishment – starvation and dehydration – was halted against an innocent young woman whose only “crime” was becoming mysteriously disabled 13 years ago. Again, no animal would be put to death in America by starvation or dehydration. No mass murderer would be punished in such a way. But the courts were ready, willing and able to do it to Terri Schindler-Schiavo.