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C.S. Lewis was only partly right when he wrote: The greatest evil ... is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

Lewis, perhaps, couldn’t have envisioned the day when a law allowing abortion up to the moment of birth would receive a standing ovation, as occurred last month with New York’s passage of the absurdly named “Reproductive Health Act.”

Kathleen Parker mug

kathleen parker

Upon signing the bill, which also permits some health-care professionals who are not doctors to perform the abortions, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that One World Trade Center be illuminated in pink, hijacking the color associated with saving breast-cancer victims — and the birth of a baby girl.

What a weird, wicked world we live in.

Last Monday in Virginia, Del. Kathy Tran testified on behalf of a bill that would have simplified the process for having a late-term abortion. Currently, Virginia law requires three doctors’ approval for such a procedure. The bill, which was subsequently tabled, would’ve required only one’s. This was hardly the stuff of “infanticide,” a word that began tumbling from the lips of certain critics.

Just maybe we’re not very good at talking about the unspeakable.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and other blue states are busy hammering out their own legal concoctions, likely concerned that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by the now-predominantly conservative Supreme Court. I leave others to argue the validity of those concerns, but my sources in the pro-life movement, including several legal scholars, think upending the decision is unlikely given that, in 1992, the court not only reinforced Roe but actually made the ruling stronger.

Regardless, the pro-choice movement has been preparing for such a frontal assault on the few abortion restrictions left to states. In 1973, when Roe was issued, a baby’s viability was set at 24-28 weeks. Today, thanks to technology and our finer understanding of human development, viability occurs around 22 weeks.

In New York City, where about two in five pregnancies are terminated, there will no longer be any presumption of humanity for the baby at any stage of pregnancy, which goes far beyond abortion jurisprudence. Most Americans are fully against such extreme approaches to abortion. One survey puts the share who support abortion during the third trimester at just 13 percent.

Like many if not most Americans, I have been reasonably at ease with President Clinton’s 1996 call for making abortion “safe, legal and rare,” but had hoped we’d seriously pursue that goal through better information and limit abortion to the first trimester. But the pro-choice side has resisted many attempts to educate. Activists have opposed laws requiring that pregnant women have the option of viewing a sonogram before their abortion. They’ve also thwarted attempts to make adoption resources available at abortion clinics.

What are they afraid of? That someone may change her mind?

My own thinking about abortion was partly formed by having almost witnessed a “back-alley abortion” when a college friend sought an abortion in 1970 in Spain. We walked into a room with a white linoleum table over which, not kidding, a single lightbulb hung. We bolted, called home for money, and put her on a plane to London for a legal abortion.

No one wants women to be subjected to such last resorts. But nor should we be celebrating laws that ignore the humanity of an unborn child. While there are only four doctors in the U.S. that perform third-trimester abortions and, obviously, “no one gets an abortion on the delivery table,” as New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg put it, the codification of late-term abortion should be discomfiting.

It is obvious, meanwhile, that these pro-abortion legislators’ new efforts are aimed at undoing, one by one, the state-level “victories” of their pro-life counterparts — even, apparently, if it means putting women’s lives at greater risk by allowing non-doctors to perform abortions.

But more concerning than a possible increase in late-term abortions (now at fewer than 2 percent of all pregnancy terminations) is the clinical way we’ve come to view and discuss human life. When we use language to disguise reality — whether the developing human baby is a “clump of cells,” a “fetus,” or, even, a “product of termination” — we move ever-closer to the dehumanization of us all.

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Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker can be reached at kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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(28) comments

capedcrusader

CLIMATEHOAX - you think only liberals have abortions?

Climatehoax

Do you think all liberals are against Trumps fence?
Do you think all liberals are against limiting immigrants from terrorism sponsoring nations?
Do all liberals hate people with MAGA hats?

Of course not! But you’ll find a vast majority of liberals leaning that way, just like abortion. Why aren’t any of the usual Trib libs arguing against at birth abortions? Because liberals like killing babies. Many conservatives on the other hand have blasted, while liberals in New York CHEERED.

capedcrusader

And this proves exactly what a liar and troll you are. Liberals do not enjoy killing babies. You sir have a big problem and I suggest you look in the mirror and then get the help you need. It won't come easy for you though, I believe you are in for years of counseling.

Climatehoax

REALLY.??? Than why do liberals push laws to promote and encourage abortion?

capedcrusader

Really? Then why haven't any Republicans since Roe vs Wade done anything about it? We have had several Republican Presidents and a conservatively controlled Congress and Supreme Court since then. It hasn't been liberals making all the decisions the last 50 years. Perhaps they really agree with it but like to push the "liberal" name blame game like you? I'm a liberal by definition but I don't "push laws and encourage abortion". Your use of the word is a misnomer.

Climatehoax

Actually liberals are to inept at taking control of their own lives and preventing pregnancy, lazy, stupid, and uncaring

Climatehoax

Just a few thoughts.

Why do liberals do blackface? They mock the very people they profess to help. Why do blacks vote DemoRat, and have for over 40 years but they’ll tell you their plight is no better off now? Why did Moochel Obama make a speech about how difficult the black people have it in this country, how racist we are how downtrodden blacks are? AS THE FIRST LADY!!! Why does joy bahar get a pass on her black face? If a conservative did it they would be vilified.. Why are liberal koolaid drinkers such hypocrites on climate change? Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, every Hollywood lib, etc, etc? I wager every politician wanting a carbon tax use 2-3 times as much fossil fuels as the average American. Show me 2 environmentalists who live their lives,like they expect me to live mine.

oldhomey

Gosh, it is SO embarrassing to be called on the carpet by such a straight thinker as Climate is. For example, he SO convincing in assuring us it is liberals and liberals only who are always dressing up in blackface, telling us that they "mock the very people they profess to help". And, being the classy guy that he is, he goes on to ask why "Moochel Obama" -- a black woman and the First Lady of the nation -- would make a speech about how difficult black people have it in this country. It is kind of like you answered your own question in how you framed it, isn't it Climate? It is exactly what we would expect to hear from a person who uses the screen name that you use.

Climatehoax

Calling all hypocrite lying liberals!!! Give me the ‘it’s not a viable human being ‘ that’s being aborted argument, come on, make a fool of yourselves for others entertainment, ive been told that lie since abortion became legal. Humans aren’t mature until about 26 years old, how long before that argument will be used to ‘off’ kids you don’t want. You’re nothing but a bunch of murderers, along with the lovely illegals killing people off, who you just love sneaking into our country. Liberalism is a disease.

capedcrusader

Get help... you are starting to sound more like Buggs Raplin everyday before he went off the deep end.

Climatehoax

Well it’ll eliminate young girls leaving babies on steps, in dumpsters and any place else. BUT, she better be plunging that sissors into the babies skull before the crown of the head comes out of her vagina. ISN’T LIBERALISM MAGNIFICENT!!!

DMoney

That element of liberalism is completely repugnant.

oldhomey

Correction D, it is your willfully repugnant representation of the liberal stance on abortion that is dishonest and repugnant. As for Climate's observation, it is what we have come to expect from a dodo who chooses to use Climatehoax as his screen name.

Climatehoax

That’s it???? That’s the only rebuttal you have for killing babies moments before birth. You are a sad individual.

oldhomey

Climate, there is no rebutting your brand of splutter and spit. I just step back so it doesn't touch me and marvel at the spectacle of you braying out pure b.s.

DMoney

Maybe in the past, but the trend of 3rd term and after birth abortion is spreading. You already stated your distaste for it, due to the fact that it would drive people to the right. It's such a risk that your president mentioned it in the SOTU.

capedcrusader

Again, you think it's only liberals who have abortions?

DMoney

Past 2nd term is crossing a line. Let alone up to birth (or even after!) I'll never be pro-choice, but the current status quo is as reasonable as it gets. No reason to go later unless the woman's life is in jeopardy. Mental/emotional health doesn't justify death of a viable fetus.

oldhomey

I agree that some people are pushing the abortion rights limits past acceptable boundaries. I wonder if they understand in doing so that they are making the case of anti-abortionists more appealing? What I don't want to see is the anti-abortionists returning us to the days of criminalizing abortion. Ms. Parker obviously was from a well-to-do background who could accompany a pregnant friend to Spain to get an illegal abortion, then engineer a quick and expensive shift of plans to get it legally in London. Most girls in 1970 who found themselves pregnant and no way out did not have any option except a dicey backstreet abortion in this country. Many died or were horribly maimed at a very young age because of that circumstance.

In fact, when I was in my early 20s one of my friends, the same age as me, had a teenage sister who was pregnant, and he asked me to accompany him and his sister to an illegal abortion clinic in Chicago. It was in a dicey neighborhood on the South Side, and it was pretty obvious that young white people walking down that street were going into the abortion clinic with a pocketful of cash to pay the abortionist. I went. The "clinic", as I recall, was not so bad a place on the inside, run like a clinic. The guy's sister was called to a room, leaving the two of us to wait, and she came back in tears perhaps 15 minutes later. She was late in the second trimester, and the person doing the abortion did not want to risk the procedure, so she was turned away.

A year earlier I had been sharing an apartment with a co-worker, and a female friend of his from college called and asked if we could put her up when she came from out of town. She was pregnant and had the same problem, her pregnancy too far advanced to have an abortion procedure, and she needed a place to stay while looking for a place to live. So she came to our place for a few days.

These girls were in desperate situations. I was heart-broken for both of them, frustrated because there was nothing I could do for them. They knew their lives would never be the ones they had planned for. But I didn't know them, nor them me, and I was actually an uninvited bystander to their situations, so they were not exactly thrilled that I was there to witness their dilemmas. Hence, I don't know the outcome in either of their cases.

And no, I never asked them how they got themselves into their jams by becoming pregnant. It was none of my business, just as it is not the business of the government to tell them they cannot seek out an abortion, nor is it the business of the government to tell people who they are allowed to fall in love with and marry, nor is it the business of the government to monitor who they choose to share their romantic bedroom adventures with.

geo

It is the business of the government to protect life. For you to suggest that the government has no business forbidding a doctor from plunging scizzors into the brain of a partially born child is outrageous and contemptible. What are your "acceptable boundaries" for abortion? Do you advocate a certain number of days during which the unborn can be killed or do you leave it up to the woman, even up to the due date? How do you justify your boundaries,how do you decide when you can kill and when you cannot?

martian2

great questions geo. Abortion is a tough subject with extremists on both sides of the issue. In Europe it is my understanding abortion is legal for the first two trimesters. I guess it is a type of compromise, so you hardly ever hear about Europeans marching for banning or expanding abortion. It is not a hot topic for them. I am not in favor of late term abortions like New York has passed recently. That is going too far. I do think the Europeans have found a middle ground, although not perfect, is a model we could adopt. I do have a problem with the "pro life" movement that is only concerned with unborn. When they baby is born they see no need for society to help meet that child's needs, to stay healthy, grow up in suitable housing, and get an education. They wash their hands of the child and say now its up to them to make "right decisions" like I do, if not they can suffer. Not what I call a pro life philosophy. Perhaps we cold tweek our adoption laws, and advocate the use of birth control more than we do now. How about government paying women not to have an abortion. If they carry it to full term and let it be adopted they could get a few thousand , after all what price can you put on a life? Just a thought.

DMoney

I admire about 75% of this as sensible. The last part I can't agree with. Abortion blackmail would become an epidemic. If many thousands already have abortions, imagine how many if there was a hefty paycheck. I'll meet you in the middle and propose free contraceptives and expanded post birth support. Better than just writing a check.

martian2

I guess I am at a loss about the abortion blackmail statement. How would paying women to carry their pregnancies to full term, and then have them adopt it out, increase abortions? I would think it would have the opposite effect. But its not going to ever happen any way, just food for thought.

oldhomey

I believe the boundaries are laid out in most places that allow abortions, and it is up to the doctors to abide by those laws. You, geo, are giving us some nightmare scenario and would like people to think this is s.o.p. for abortions. The standard is and should be that if you are anti-abortion, you and those who share your belief should not have them. But you have no right to criminalize abortion, giving the state the power to order women what to do with their bodies.

DMoney

You just completely walked back your original stance. The state absolutely should have a say in when abortion is unacceptable which should be after 24 weeks. And it's everyone's business when talking about full term/post birth abortion. That makes it more than a woman's health.

oldhomey

My, you ARE a confused man, are you not, D? You continually have me saying things that I have not said. I stand by what I said in my 9:21pm post.

DMoney

[thumbup]

oldhomey

Thanks for the support, D.

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