There has been a great deal of activity in Washington, D.C. the last several weeks to pass a bill that backers say would ban all abortions after 20 weeks because the preborn child can feel pain.
Well, not really all abortions.
You see, from the beginning, a federal bill (HR1797) has had a limited exception to “protect” the life of the mother under certain circumstances. All of the state bills trying to ban the same abortions have the same exception.
Then, something happened to the federal bill on the way to a full vote of the House of Representatives. Leaders of the House took the bill and added additional exceptions for rape and incest—as long as the rape or incest was reported to the police any time before the abortion.
So, a woman wants to have an abortion, but she is 23 weeks pregnant. She’s told she can’t have the abortion unless she was raped. The local pro-abortion groups send her to a pro-abortion police detective they know; she files a rape report, which is filed away and goes nowhere because she really can’t remember the details; and then she kills her baby.
Let’s be honest about exceptions. When you say that you cannot kill a baby in the womb except in certain situations, what you are actually saying is that it is okay to kill those babies. You know, the ones who were conceived as the result of rape or incest. Or the ones an abortionist says are a threat to the life of their mother—even though any honest OB/GYN will tell you he has never had to directly kill the baby to save the mother’s life.
When I joined the pro-life movement eons ago, I quickly had to face a decision. Did I personally accept exceptions? I came into the pro-life movement from a scientific viewpoint. It was the absolute humanity of the children in the womb that I found most compelling. It was the work of Dr. Lejeune and Professor Liley, who had pioneered blood transfusions in utero for RH factor babies, that was my guide.
After looking at all the arguments—and there are many—the only conclusion I could come to is that fighting for the life of every single human being in the womb was my only choice. If I allowed for any exceptions whatsoever, I had compromised my whole argument.
I would no longer be arguing whether or not it was right to kill a baby in the womb. Rather, the argument would be: Which babies in the womb can abortonists kill and which can’t they kill? It would no longer be about the sanctity of every human being’s life, but passing legislation that accepts that we must allow the killing of certain human beings.
There is an old saying that came from our farming background that went something like this: “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.” It is basically relating the truism that you must remain totally faithful to basic principles, or all of your efforts will eventually be corrupted.
I firmly believe this is what we face with exceptions.
It is an admirable objective to make all abortions after 22 weeks—without exception—illegal. That would be a goal that I believe every pro-life organization in the nation could get behind.
So, what do you do when you have such a bill and you put it through the legislative process and during the process someone from the other side adds an exception (for any reason)? How do you react? My answer: You walk away. You say NO. You refuse to be part of passing any bill that says it is okay to kill any babies.
Earnest people will argue that you should still pursue the legislation because you can still save 90 percent or 98 percent of the babies. But, I submit to you that our legislative efforts will not be judged so much by how many babies we think we saved, but by how many we abandoned.
Pro-lifers are fond of telling a vision of the life hereafter where they will someday meet all the babies they tried to save and will be welcomed by them into everlasting life.
I believe, while this is true for donors to the cause and those on the front lines of this battle, those who are on the legislative end of the battle will be held to a much higher standard.
Personally, I fear the day I arrive outside the pearly gates and there is a lone baby sitting by the gate. As I approach, he looks up at me and says, “I was conceived as the result of rape, why did you let them kill me?”
Jim Sedlak is vice president of American Life League and a recognized expert on Planned Parenthood. In addition to speaking on numerous radio and television programs, he is the author of Parent Power!!—a book that instructs readers about how to get Planned Parenthood out of schools.