According to U.S. News & World Report, 36 states require some degree of parental involvement for minors considering abortions, and three states require minors to obtain consent from both parents before undergoing the procedure.

And according to a recent report commissioned by the conservative evangelical group Family Research Council, abortion rates drop by an average of 13.6 percent in states that have enacted laws requiring minors to notify their parents or obtain parental consent before having an abortion.

In a statement to mark the 35th anniversary of Roe v Wade, Barack Obama said, “Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100 percent pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for president to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law.”

I suppose I’ll never get used to the idea of politicians pandering for votes by advocating the death of the unborn. But more than that, whenever it comes up during elections, I still marvel when I hear pro-abortion spokespersons speak with such confidence of the rightness of their cause.

When does life begin? That didn’t used to be such a difficult question to answer. Until Roe v. Wade, most people didn’t really give it much attention in terms of it being a “question.” To all intents and purposes, “life” began the moment a woman discovered she was pregnant.

In the 1970s, the question got harder when the Supreme Court “discovered” that women have a constitutional right to choose twice whether or not they want to be pregnant. This decision required some impressive gymnastics.

In the first place, except in cases of rape or incest, the choice had already been made once, or it wouldn’t be an issue. But the Court ruled that a woman had a second chance to choose on the same issue. First, they could choose whether to risk becoming pregnant. To get to that point, the Court had to redefine being pregnant from being “with child” to being saddled with an unfortunate unwanted burden resulting from the first choice. The Court also found a second constitutional right to choose; the choice of whether to remain pregnant.

Subsequent decisions reinforced Roe v. Wade’s dehumanization of our own species until the Court ultimately decided that life began at the moment a fully gestated fetus completely emerged from the birth canal as a living human being.

Before that full emergence, it was not “life” under the law and could be killed as a matter of convenience.

That the decision was political and not medical or even social is manifestly obvious. If one kills an unborn child in the womb as the result of a criminal act, that is a separate crime. It is part of common law and traces its origins to the Bible (Exodus 21:22).

While the Court has ruled that unborn babies can be ripped from the womb up to the moment of birth, as horrifying as the decision is, it is at least based on the expressed firm conviction of the majority.

Before the Court would allow the slaughter of the unborn, they at least took the trouble to determine judicially whether or not the unborn being slaughtered were “alive.”

And having judicially determined that life does not begin until live birth, the Supremes on the majority who supported that view evidently satisfied their own consciences. Presumably.

Among abortion rights groups, the question starts getting murky again. Some advocate limiting abortions after the first trimester, some the second, and some support abortions up to the moment of birth.

So one would presume that those who advocate limiting abortions to the first trimester believe that life begins at some point after that first trimester.

It is likewise fair to presume those who advocate limiting it to second trimester pregnancies think some point after the second trimester is when life begins.

Some, like Barack Obama, favor lifting all restrictions on abortions, including so-called late-term abortions – right up to the moment that the baby has exited the birth canal.

One would assume that this must be the most difficult and heart-wrenching position of all. Those who would support taking the life of a fully viable fetus while it is still in the birth canal must have REALLY searched their conscience.

After all, who would want to take a chance on murdering a living human baby, one capable of feeling pain, or capable of recognizing its mother’s voice or … like I said, it really must be a heart-wrenching decision.

If you didn’t know if the baby was alive – or just an unfeeling mass of protoplasm – could you honestly advocate in favor of late-term abortions? What if you were wrong? What kind of person wouldn’t care about being wrong over an issue as seminal as the death of innocent babies?

I mean, if you weren’t sure, what kind of person would go ahead anyway, rather than choosing to err on the side of caution? After all, we’re talking about the possibility that abortion is the act of killing living baby human beings.

When Barack Obama was asked by Rick Warren some weeks back when he believed life begins, Obama fumbled for a while, stumbled some more, before finally blurting: “That’s above my pay grade.”

So I guess that answers that question.

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