Newsweek [12/6/96] reported that FBI statistics indicated 207 children younger than a week were murdered in 1994. That is a 92 percent increase since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.*Cassidy Goodson and Juana Valencia are just one of an epidemic of neonaticidal mothers who have recently faced conviction for murder. Teresa Maldonado apparently killed her baby through trauma to the head. Veronica Via beat her infant to death because she "would be better off dead than growing up poor and fatherless." (That's an awful familiar argument.) Rozlynn Rodgers performed her own 5th trimester abortion for reasons that Mary Elizabeth Williams understands all too well. There's Jessica Blackham, Katie McCoy, Amy Grossberg, Melissa Drexler, etc.
And yet, when asked whether he is for abortions into the 9th month, Barack Obama flatly affirms, "I support abortion." In spite of the opinions of many Democrats and Republicans alike, liberals have backed partial birth abortions as a civil liberty. Here is one summary of the paradox:
In any case, this riddle—the different fortunes of the ninth month abortion and the baby drowned in the toilet (or abandoned in the dumpster)—might lead you believe that abortion politics aren’t entirely about civil liberties. One fetus-destroyer is a liberated woman; the other, a murderer.
But this is but one paradox in abortion politics. Previously cited Mary Elizabeth Williams is in the vanguard of progressives abandoning the safe liberal position that "something magical happens at the moment a baby passes through the birth canal."* A fetus is quite obviously a human life according to Williams, but the value of that life lies precisely in whether that life is wanted. "I’m a mom who loved the lives she incubated from the moment she peed on those sticks, and is also now well over 40 and in an experimental drug trial. If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant, you bet your ass I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion."* Let's rephrase that summary:
In any case, this riddle—the different fortunes of the loved embryo and the unwanted preemie—might lead you believe that abortion politics aren’t entirely about principle but about convenience. In one instance the fetus-carrier is a sanctified mother; the other, a liberated woman. In one instance the fetus is a baby to be cherished; the other, an unacceptable change of plans.
Barack Obama, who says we should do everything we can to save lives once they are born, opposed regulations for insuring protections and care for preemies who are born following an unsuccessful abortion. One of the many reasons he cited for this was that he thought doing so set a bad precedent for the God-given liberty to destroy one's own fetus. This might seem especially odd given the care we take and the expense that is afforded for a non-person that enters personhood prematurely:
In any case, this riddle—the different fortunes of the preemie and the potential abortion survivor—might lead you believe that abortion politics aren’t entirely about civil liberties. One fetus is a life to be saved; the other, an obstacle to civil liberty.And now for something (almost) completely different. Here is some very similar language applied to the seeming disparity between opposition to stem cell research and "morning after" pills and the lack of picketing at IVF clinics. To Pamela Haag, this paradox is easily explained by guessing that the pro-life movement is fueled by "anger about other women’s lives and choices":
In any case, this riddle—the different fortunes of the abortion clinic and the IVF clinic—might lead you [to] believe that abortion politics aren’t entirely about embryos. One embryo-destroyer is a sanctified mother; the other, a murderer. *In case it isn't obvious by now, this was the original quote I've been riffing on. And here we are in an era in which the New Morality are arguing for 4th trimester abortions (infanticide), while educated (and not-so-educated) liberals are laughing at the Great Unwashed for thinking that tolerating some gray leads to tolerating the dark. For Pamela Haag, inconsistency says a lot to her about the motivations of others. Then what do the other inconsistencies about this issue tell us?