In 1983, 10 years after Roe v Wade, I interviewed Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., a darling of the left and the champion of abortion rights in the Republican Party, for the documentary “A Matter of Choice.” He said, “Abortion is an issue that burns real hot, and like any fire that burns red hot, it won’t be long before it burns itself out!”
Ten years later, Bob Packwood, the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was gone. He was forced to resign after being exposed for sexual harassment. The firestorm over abortion remains.
Abortion is still the hottest single issue on the political landscape and will play a key role in the 2014 mid-term election.
A lot has happened since that interview with Packwood. In 1983, abortion proponents began any discussion of the practice with the phrase “Certainly in the first trimester …” They used the old “glob of tissue” or “a collection of cells” defense.
Today, abortion proponents shamelessly defend the practice of killing the most innocent among us right up to and through the birth process. On Oct. 20, 1999, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D. Calif., earned the title “Queen of Infanticide” in a debate over a bill to ban the partial-birth abortion. When backed into a corner on the Senate floor by Rick Santorum, R-Pa., Boxer refused to acknowledge that a child should be protected after birth until it was “in the mother’s arms.”
Santorum pressed, “What about when it is in the doctor’s arms?” Boxer stood silent. It was chilling!
Our president, Barack Obama, while in the Illinois Senate, refused to vote to ban a practice brought to light in his state known as the live-birth abortion, i.e., inducing abortion late in pregnancy, delivering a child in the normal manner and then leaving the child alone until she dies from neglect. This, too, was chilling!
By far, the most important development that occurred since that 1983 interview is the routine use of realtime ultrasound imaging, which has given us a window into the womb. By the time most abortions occur (between 8 and 12 weeks), a baby is moving about. All her body systems are in place. Her heart is beating and there are brain waves.
There are very few women who will abort a child after viewing an ultrasound. That is why abortion proponents fight against laws requiring ultrasounds before abortion. They call themselves “pro-choice” but they work to prevent that choice from becoming an informed one.
They also fight against laws requiring a 24 to 48-hour waiting periods, even though these laws are common before one can have a tubal ligation or vasectomy. These laws are considered reasonable since these decisions affect people for the rest of their lives.
Newsflash: An abortion affects you for the rest of your life. Sooner or later, people who make the choice to abort a child will learn about fetal development. At that point, they will go one of two ways: They will face this decision squarely and seek forgiveness, or they will do their best to blot it from their memory.
The former are some of the most ardent members of the pro-life movement. They will not go away because they want to save others from making the same painful mistake. The latter often try to validate their decisions by working to make sure others follow in their misguided footsteps – the “everyone is doing it” defense. They fool no one, least of all themselves.
“Thou shall not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments of God. However, most people, whether religious or not, know it is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being. They especially recoil from deliberately taking a life in such a way that causes pain. There is a body of evidence that an unborn child experiences pain just 20 weeks after fertilization. That is why a battle now is being waged over banning the practice after 20 weeks.
Abortion is an issue like no other. People of conscience can disagree over the size and scope of government, over gun laws, property rights, taxes and government-run health care. However, there is no other issue that is a simply matter of life and death for the innocent.
There always will be people who are willing to ignore their conscience, deny the obvious, obfuscate or do whatever is necessary to win elections and maintain power. However, there will be others who will stand for what is right no matter what the costs.
That is why this issue won’t go away. It burns red hot!
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