When we justify the killing of a fully human child because of severe, congenital defect, we are not making a case for abortion; we're promoting something much more chilling.
Partial-term Abortion Is Not about Abortion.
If there is no good reason to allow partial-birth abortion, then why the intense resistance? Why the repeated challenges to a Federal ban on these procedures? Why do so many--mothers, doctors, Senators, members of Congress--accept such bad reasons for this barbaric practice? Rudy Giuliani's recent comments suggest that he's changed his previous position that he "would vote to preserve the option for women." The Supreme Court will hand down its decision within weeks on a federal law banning partial-birth abortion. Have they finally recognized that nothing justifies killing a baby partially born that can simply be delivered completely?
As I turned this question over in my mind, I realized why people don't see the obvious. They misunderstand this procedure—partial-birth abortion, D&X abortion--because of one very misleading term: abortion.
Abortion is sacred to many in this country. "Abortion is a woman's Constitutional right, therefore all abortions must be defended," we hear. "Make one type of abortion illegal and the dominoes begin to fall," others warn.
There's a problem, though. Simply calling a procedure an abortion doesn't make it one. A thing is what it is, regardless of the name used for it. Language may change perception, but it doesn't change the thing itself.
An abortion is what happens to a child within the womb of its mother. This is clear from every court case dealing with the issue. In partial-birth abortion, however, the delivery is 85% complete. The child is not on the inside of its mother when it's killed; it's on the outside.
If partial-birth abortion is not really an abortion, then what is it? Let me ask a question. What is it called when a newborn child is killed outside the womb? It's not called an abortion; it's called infanticide. The chilling truth is this: Partial-birth abortion is not really abortion; it's infanticide. It's the killing of an innocent human child outside his mother's body, often solely because of the baby's handicap.
Slipping Down the Slope
People often dismiss slippery slope arguments as overstatements. Ethics, however, makes a distinction between two kinds of slippery slopes. The "causal slippery slope" is like a line of dominoes falling. An action that might be morally benign in itself, leads to something else that's immoral, casting a shadow on the first. For example, if pornography causes violence against women, then pornography may be morally suspect. This is the kind that is often overstated.
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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