from Catholic Online
If Nebraska in 2009 gave us the hated “Cornhusker Kickback,” Nebraska in 2010 is poised to possibly give the Pro-Life movement a welcome and cherished gift.
Legislative Bill 1103 would ban abortion after 20 weeks unless the procedure would save a woman's life or “avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” Why? Because babies that age can feel pain.
If passed, this ban has the potential to change abortion policies nationwide. It was Nebraska that first brought the heinous partial-birth abortion procedure to the national spotlight in 1997 when the state passed a law banning the barbaric practice, which requires the baby to be delivered feet-first up to the head, then punctured at the base of the skull with scissors and brains suctioned out, skull crushed and head delivered.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that Nebraska state law, declaring partial-birth abortion legal. It would remain so until 2007, when the high Court upheld a federal ban on the procedure, medically referred to as a “D&X”.
Current abortion law states that abortion is legal up to the age of viability, generally considered 24 weeks. After that time, abortion can be restricted unless there are serious risks to the mother's life or health. The problem is, we have seen the definition of “serious risk to the mother's life or health” broadened to include everything from a bad headache or just a bad attitude that day (I just don't want to be pregnant anymore).
This new bill from Nebraska has the potential to once again focus the debate like a laser on the real issue: the baby. Our country may finally be forced to acknowledge the humanity of the child in the womb. No longer a blob of insentient tissue, but a human person who feels pain, like you and me.
We will no longer be able to dismiss the cruelty of abortion in a fit of rhetoric about women's “rights” because the question will demand to be answered, “Are we seriously insisting it is okay to kill a baby in the womb knowing full well that baby feels the pain of dismemberment, stabbing and suctioning?” We rightfully condemn torture, even when used against our worst enemies in a time of war. Can we seriously continue to uphold the “right” to torture defenseless babies in the womb?
The irony is that miraculous medical advancements made in recent decades now allow surgeons to operate on the tiniest babies in the womb, and those operations require anesthesia be given to the baby. No surgeon would dream of taking a scalpel and cutting into a tiny child without the assurance his little patient would not feel the pain. Who could operate on a patient who was writhing and squirming in pain?
Yet ultrasound images clearly demonstrate that babies much younger than 20 weeks move away from the abortionist's vacuum and try to dodge the needles and clamps being thrust at them. It is delusional to insist that the baby does not feel pain at being dismembered and stabbed. It is delusional to pretend that abortion is not cruel and torturous.
Similar attempts to pass fetal pain laws at the federal level in 2005 and 2006 have all failed. If passed in Nebraska, this new ban on abortion might provide the momentum to try again at the federal level. It may also bring the issue all the way to the Supreme Court, something the Pro-Life cause would welcome.
It would force the insanity of abortion into the light: either we acknowledge we're killing a human being in a painful, cruel manner, or we acknowledge and affirm the “right” to murder babies, as long as we give them some pain meds before we kill them, because after all, we're merciful people. Such an admission would surely be abhorrent to most Americans. If only the slave owners had numbed their slaves with pain killers before they beat and branded them...
Opponents of this bill are, of course, arguing that it takes rights away from women and does not allow for mental health exceptions, even though threats to a “major bodily function” are interpreted to include mental health. But the Supreme Court has never been asked to rule on whether a health exception must include mental health. In upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion in 2007, the Supreme Court said the ban did not need to have a mental health exception.
Keep your eyes on this bill and pray this action on behalf of the preborn is victorious. This has the potential to be a game-changer in many ways. Pray that this bill will be used to open the eyes of many in our country who will not yet acknowledge the truth written on every human heart – the child is the womb is one of us.