I first heard the term "velocitized" in high school driver's ed. When a driver accelerates from, say, 30 to 60 miles per hour and settles in, he gets acclimated to his new speed and loses his sense of velocity. It doesn't feel as if he's moving any faster at 60 than he was at 30.
This is dangerous on the highway, but it's deadly when it happens to the moral consciousness of a culture. Years ago, theologian Francis Schaeffer said that what was unthinkable yesterday is thinkable today, and ordinary and commonplace tomorrow. In other words, when a culture's decline in values begins to pick up speed, it becomes velocitized.
Keep that in mind as the Supreme Court considers the oral arguments that were presented Nov. 8 on the constitutionality of the Partial - Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.
Remember also that calling a procedure an abortion doesn't magically make it one.
Abortion happens to a child inside her mother's womb. With partial - birth abortion, however, the child is not on the inside of her mother when she's killed; she's mostly on the outside.
The baby is delivered feet first until only her little head remains in the birth canal. The doctor then takes a pair of curved Metzenbaum scissors, punctures the base of the child's skull, suctions out the brain tissue with a catheter, then completes the delivery of the baby's corpse.
Picture it. This is not an abortion. The living baby hangs helplessly before our eyes, no interpretation required. No room for weak euphemisms here. This is infanticide with the baby's head covered. That the Supreme Court must consider the legitimacy of a federal law forbidding this barbarism marks the velocity of our moral descent.
Justice Ginsburg, apparently, can't picture it. To her eyes, abortion is imperiled, not a child. "Anything about infanticide, babies, all that, is just beside the point," she said during the hearings, "because what this bans is a method of abortion."
Ginsburg understands what is at stake. If this ban is supported, then late - term abortion rights seem much less credible. Dismembering a living child inside her mother's womb (D&E abortion) seems just as bad as suctioning a baby's brains when she’s mostly outside her mother's womb (D&X "partial - birth" abortion).
However, if Ginsburg gets her way and the ban is struck down, then outright infanticide will not be difficult to defend. Since the baby is just one contraction away from full birth, why not give a final push, completely deliver the child, and then take her life? Call it a "post - natal abortion" if you like — arguably the safest procedure yet.
Gregory Koukl is founder and president of Stand to Reason, an organization devoted to a thoughtful and engaging defense of classical Christianity in the public square. He is also a radio talk show host and author of Relativism—Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air.
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