Sunday, November 27, 2005

Disturbing on so many levels

This article in The Sunday Times is disturbing on so many levels I hardly know where to begin.
A GOVERNMENT agency is launching an inquiry into doctors' reports that up to 50 babies a year are born alive after botched National Health Service abortions. The investigation, by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH), comes amid growing unease among clinicians over a legal ambiguity that could see them being charged with infanticide. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which regulates methods of abortion, has also mounted its own investigation. Its guidelines say that babies aborted after more than 21 weeks and six days of gestation should have their hearts stopped by an injection of potassium chloride before being delivered. In practice, few doctors are willing or able to perform the delicate procedure.

Note that the dismay isn't that babies that could live are being killed. It's that sloppy doctors are failing to make absolutely sure that they emerge dead. Why is it a "right" to snuff an organism in one location, but "infanticide" to snuff the same organism in another location? The very fact that the RCOG guidelines require the docs to make sure they snuff the baby before inducing labor indicates that it's not the killing they have a problem with, but where the killing takes place. If the mother is entitled to a dead baby, why perform the tricky procedure of injecting the fetal heart? Why not just wait until the baby comes out then drown it? If she's not entitled to a dead baby, why allow the abortion in the first place? Why the whole charade?
Abortion on demand is allowed in Britain up to 24 weeks -- more than halfway through a normal pregnancy and the highest legal limit for such terminations in Europe. France and Germany permit "social" abortions only up to the 10th and 12th weeks respectively.

Gosh, you mean that enlightened, secular France oppresses women by limiting abortions after 10 weeks? Where are the headlines about all the coathanger-impaled French women "forced" to do self-induced abortions after 10 weeks due to poor "access"? American abortion activists pitch a fit when you try to place limits on abortions done after viability! But here are all these French women managing just fine with abortion-on-demand only up to 10 weeks. Maybe we need to launch an intensive study into how those poor pitiful French women manage to cope!
It is not known how many babies who survive attempted abortions go on to live into adulthood.

It'd be nice to know.

To his credit, Stuart Campbell, former professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George's hospital, who describes himself as "not anti-abortion," thinks the cut-off for elective abortions needs to be moved to 18 weeks, so that nobody in the UK is aborting what could be live-born babies. That would be a start. How about keeping in mind that any fetus that doesn't have a terminal condition could be born alive if you don't kill him or her in-utero?

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