Today, as we enter the fourth decade of the era of legal abortion in the United States, liberal members of Congress are warning that "anti-choicers" have seized the momentum. These anti-choicers, who prefer to think of themselves as pro-lifers, are again dragging out the mind-numbing statistics:
* To date more than 40 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States since the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, which overturned laws in all 50 states that outlawed or restricted abortion.
* That's more than 20 times the number of American soldiers who have died defending life and liberty in all our armed conflicts since and including the American Revolution.
* The lives of 3,600 pre-born children will be taken today in this country, more than the number of lives taken by terrorists in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
One of the major political parties is faithful to its pro-choice (would that be "anti-life"?) platform by punishing any elected official who dares to step over the party line. The other party is nominally pro-life, meaning it has a pro-life plank in its platform (wink, wink) while boasting of its "Big Tent" -- code for "pro-choicers welcome."
The pro-choice/anti-life movement, the political arm of the lucrative abortion industry, remains, like the National Rifle Association, in perpetual crisis mode, perpetually warning of the perpetual threat to a woman's right to choose (to kill her own child). Pro-choice/anti-life organizations own the votes of too many in Congress from both parties, paid for by buckets of campaign contributions.
But now that we have a president who has promised NOT to veto a ban on partial birth abortions, Congress is in the hot seat. It was easier with President Clinton. He always promised vetoes in advance of every vote on partial birth abortions, leaving members of Congress free to cast votes as their constituents wanted without cutting off the pipeline of campaign funds from the powerful pro-choice/anti-life lobby.
Making it even more difficult for Congress, the popular lie about partial birth abortions has now been exposed, namely that the procedure is used only in extreme cases such as fetal deformity or danger to the life of the mother. Extreme cases comprise only a small percentage of these gruesome deaths. Most are performed for the same reason as earlier abortions, because the mother decides, albeit a little later than usual, she doesn't want the child.
The partial birth abortion procedure was developed not for extreme cases but because of the extreme embarrassment suffered by the pro-choice/anti-life movement at the survival of too many late-term aborted fetuses. Many of these products of failed abortions have reached adulthood, formed support groups and gotten involved in pro-life work.
The other procedures just couldn't guarantee death every time, and abortion providers were growing increasingly wary of lawsuits (Yes, your honor, I tried my best to kill it. It's not my fault the little booger didn't want to die).
Before the partial birth procedure came along, an abortion provider could be charged with murder if he killed a child one minute after it survived the completely legal procedure designed to kill it. This was downright inconvenient for the abortion industry.
They determined that as long as the child's head remained in the birth canal, it was still merely a potential child and without legal protection. Delivering all the baby but the head was no real trick (and should the head slip out it can always be re-inserted), but they still needed a foolproof procedure; the only sure way to ensure death would be to remove the brain. And so the most horrific medical procedure of the civilized world was born. As the abortion provider grips the squirming, kicking, healthy child with one hand, being extra careful not to pull out its head and risk a lawsuit, he inserts scissors into the base of the child's skull with his other hand, then inserts a tube to vacuum out the contents. Then he can complete the delivery of the dead child -- otherwise known as the product of conception.
Today pro-choice/anti-lifers warn of the slippery slope. Horrible as partial birth abortions are, they say, the procedure must remain legal to prevent an erosion of a woman's right to choose the less messy forms of abortion performed in the earlier stages of pregnancy. You save one life and it might become a habit. And pretty soon a whole multi-billion dollar industry is kaput.
But anti-choice/pro-lifers have proven the better prophets. Way back in '73, when the Supreme Court purportedly restricted abortions to the first trimester, anti-choice/pro-lifers warned of the slippery slope that would lead to the killing of healthy, viable children -- and then beyond.
Congress will soon have the opportunity to decide whether we go beyond -- or turn the tide.