Why Carhart is a Travesty
LeRoy Carhart came before the Supreme Court asking them to strike down Nebraska's ban on stopping in the middle of an induced breech delivery to stab the baby in the head and suck his brain out. The Court, 5-4, stood by their man.
Carhart claimed that the law was too vague -- that as worded, it could ban all of his second-trimester abortion procedures. This claim is on a par with saying that a law against beating one's spouse might lead to prosecution if one emerged victorious in a marital backgammon game. The law was clearly worded. The only possible way to misconstrue it is to deliberately misconstrue it.
The Nebraska law forbade "an abortion in which the person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery." Carhart's entire case rested on his assertion that since fetuses are alive while he dismembers them, having the fetus' arm or leg on a tray constitutes "partially vaginally delivering a living fetus." Therefore, Carhart claimed, any abortion he did would be a violation of the law as long as a chunk of the fetus was on the tray and the fetal heart was still beating.
Again, this is tantamount to asking, "Does this mean I have to let my wife always win at backgammon?" The term "vaginal delivery" is used to distinguish between childbirth through the vagina as opposed to a cesarean delivery. One has not "vaginally delivered a living fetus" if the fetus is still in the uterus and his or her arm is on a tray outside the uterus. One can readily distinguish between the presence of an amputee and the presence of his severed limb. If a shark bites my arm off, one would not say that I had been orally ingested by a shark as long as I was alive and outside the shark. One would not classify me as having been eaten by the shark unless the shark had ingested enough of me not only to kill me, but to have the bulk of my body inside the shark's belly. A child in utero is not born. Surely an abortion advocate understands this, since it's the lynchpin of their entire "right" to abortion.
That Carhart's claim is a willful misunderstanding is especially clear in light of abortionists' nimble ability to dance around abortion laws. Kansas law, for example, forbids abortions after viability except to protect maternal life or health. This doesn't stop George Tiller from performing elective post-viability abortions. (Are they really elective? Have you heard of a single case in which a healthy woman or girl was turned away, however advanced her pregnancy? Every publicized late abortion case that came to Tiller managed to meet his standards for either "maternal health" or a non-viable fetus.)
If an abortionist wants to do an abortion, he'll find a way to interpret the law to construe it as legal. Abortionists have been doing that for over thirty years now. The only way he could invite prosecution is if he botched it so badly that the woman (or her survivors) sued and raised a very loud public stink. And in that case, the law is the least of his worries.
For more on PBA:
Partial-Birth Abortion Lies
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