Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I told the Utne Reader

Utne Reader has a new article up, New Group Enters “Born-Alive” Fray with Anti-Obama Video. Being a good leftie, the author, Jake Mohan, launches into the usual "political nuances" turf, going so far as to object to using "freighted terms" like "born alive". As if a neglected baby, gasping for breath in a utility closet, is in any way nuanced. As if describing that baby as "alive" is a cheap, sleazy political trick.

Here's the comment I made. I'm guessing they'll post it when pigs fly.

Obama's main concern seems to be protecting abortion rights. If anybody wants to see how this plays out in practice, they need only look at the case of Ximena Renearts, who was born alive in a Canadian hospital after her mother had undergone an abortion earlier in an American facility.

Hospital staff treated Ximena like an expelled fetus, not like a live-born infant. They put her in a bedpan in a utility room and waited for her to die. After she'd been left for over an hour to suffer from hypothermia and lack of oxygen, a nurse finally sent her to a children's hospital for care. But the damage had already been done. Ximena was left quadriplegic, with the mental capacity of a three-year-old.

BC police made two abortive investigations of the case, with spokesman Sergeant Bob Cooper calling the case "bullshit", dismissing what was done to Ximena as beneath his notice.

Part of the reason for the callous attitude of the police may be that the spokesman for the BC Minister of Health's Office, Michelle Stewart, is dismissive of the issue of infants born live during abortions, commenting, "As you know, this Ministry is very much in favor of giving women choices about their reproductive health." And, presumably, providing care to babies like Ximena would, as Obama so clearly put it, "burden" the choice of abortion for those women whose babies had the audacity to survive.

British Columbia's Chief Coroner Larry Campbell included a letter in a report on such live births, and dismissed them as to be expected in abortion and therefore outside the purview of BC coroners, who only get involved if a death is "unexpected". Since Ximena was expected to die, had she been left in that closet until she died, the death would have been expected, and no big deal, not worth getting all in a tizzy about.

The hospital never conducted an internal review of how a live-born infant was treated like a pathology specimen on their premises, in violation of the law forbidding anyone to abandon or expose a child under the age of ten "so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or its health is or is likely to be permanently injured." Under Canadian law, having been born alive, Ximena was a living human being entitled to full protection under the law. Prolife activists hold that charges of attempted murder might be more appropriate, since nurse Wood's intent in putting the child in the bedpan aside in a room for dead fetuses was to allow the baby to die and be sent to the pathology lab with the other results of recent abortions.

The law, it seems, doesn't matter if it "burdens" the "reproductive choice" of a woman who elects abortion, even if it means leaving a baby, cold and alone, to suffer in a closet.

Parse it with all the nuances you want. The kind of dedication to "choice" at any cost displayed by Obama is the same kind of dedication to "choice" at any cost displayed by Canadian authorities in Ximena's case. And if you're at ease with putting a live, shivering, whimpering, gasping baby in a closet and leaving her to die lest you hamper her mother's choice, by all means parse Obama's stand with great nuance. Just please stay away from babies like Ximena.

(If you want to post the video on your web site, there's a button at the top of the video screen that gives you the embed code.)


Christina Dunigan said...

It posted, in truncated form. New posts go to the TOP, so I accidentally posted the bottom of the post twice, and it's on top of the beginning of the post.

It remains to be seen how long they'll leave it there.

Anonymous said...

It's still there. And will remain. Utne is necessarily "left," but about exploring all ideas.

Christina Dunigan said...

That's nice to know, anon. Thanx!