An infanticide question awaits the Democratic nominee in 2020

An infanticide question awaits the Democratic nominee in 2020
© Stefani Reynolds

Most abortions are successful in achieving their end. Women become un-pregnant. Occasionally, though, a complication can occur in which a woman becomes un-pregnant, but the baby is unexpectedly born alive. What then?

Abortion survivors, like Melissa Ohden, were on Capitol Hill this week asking Congress to pass legislation that would protect babies who came into the world as they did, as accidental survivors of abortion. Melissa and others like her, were rescued by nurses who were surprised to find these tiny newborns alive and gasping for air.

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Senate Democrats blocked the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors bill (S. 311), sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), but the debate is far from over. On the House side of the Capitol, pro-life Members of Congress go to the floor each legislative day to ask for unanimous consent for a vote in their chamber as they garner signatures on a discharge petition. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE continues to tweet about it and advocacy groups are sure to educate voters in the 2020 election on where candidates stand on this issue.

The Senate debate this week on the Sasse bill highlighted some glaring tangles of logic. Democrats said we mustn’t restrict abortion rights, yet the bill places zero restrictions on abortion. It only applies in cases where an abortion has already been completed, the right to abortion already exercised.

The baby is completely born and is separate from the mother. The bill simply requires that the baby be given the same medical care as would be given any baby born at the same stage of development. That sounds like simple equal treatment under the law.

Democrats said we must trust physicians to make medical decisions in these cases. Are we really to trust doctors in these cases to care for the vulnerable newborn baby, knowing that the doctor on hand is most often the late-term abortion specialist who just tried to abort the baby? 

There are grisly tales of what late-term abortion doctors have been known to do with such babies.

Democrats said infanticide is already illegal, yet they seemed to argue that it is sometimes necessary if the baby is severely disabled. Several senators told compelling stories of moms and dads who were devastated at the tragic news of their baby boy or girl’s disability. Why did they tell these stories in a debate that by definition only applies to infants already born?

Democrats champion the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet the debate in the Senate seemed to indicate that vulnerable disabled babies do not deserve the same protection of the law. Has this new pro-choice logic moved the goalpost of personhood past birth?

Democrats spoke of what’s best for women, but ignored studies that show very negative outcomes for women who choose to cut short the lives of babies with a fatal diagnosis. There are very high rates of regret, trauma and very complicated grief. On the other hand, women who carry babies to term despite a fatal prognosis for the baby describe a bittersweet experience of love and joy knowing they spent as much time with their baby as possible and in 97 percent of cases report no regrets.

In one of the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDershowitz: 'Too many politicians are being subject to criminal prosecution' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' MORE, there was a pivotal moment when a question was asked about abortion. Candidate Trump went on offense describing Hillary Clinton’s position on late-term abortion and she coolly defended it. This was eye-opening for many Americans. Get ready for downright eye-popping in the upcoming 2020 presidential debates. An infanticide question awaits the Democratic nominee and it’s easy to predict that the answer will not sit well with voters. 

Maureen Ferguson is a senior policy advisor of The Catholic Association.