In a week of news about tragedy, despair, pointless violence and death, the U.S. Supreme Court has brought us tidings of hope.
With the court's 5-4 ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, passed in 2003, the court confirmed that this is a decent, moral, and civil nation. The ruling secures this fact in our present, and shines light of hope for our future.
If anything might be contributing to the sense of gloom that that seems to grip American hearts and minds these days, it is doubt about this. We forget that nothing unsettles the human mind more than a feeling that the social fabric is unraveling.
More disappointing is that what we have is a decision that only touches how an abortion may be done, not whether it may be done. The brutal and inhuman procedure that is banned _ partial delivery and then destruction of the unborn child _ accounts for a small percentage of the almost 1 million abortions that are now being done each year.
Although the nature and scope of the problem that has been addressed is limited, we measure the preservation of human life one at a time. So this is a great victory.
Justice Anthony Kennedy included in the decision he wrote graphic discussion describing the horror of this procedure. Liberal and pro-abort journalist Dahlia Lithwick calls this the "business of grossing us out."
In a graphic scene in the recent movie "Amazing Grace," about William Wilberforce's crusade to end the slave trade and slavery in the British Empire, Wilberforce pulls a boat of British elite, quietly and politely sitting and dining, alongside a docked slave ship. Wilberforce disturbs their peaceful respite with the stench of the slave ship.
So Justice Kennedy has done here. He includes the testimony of a nurse who participated in one of these procedures:
"The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out ... The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby's brains out ... Now the baby went completely limp. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta, and the instruments he had just used."
I believe that Kennedy was conveying a message here, appropriately, that it is inconceivable that a free, moral, and civil society can tolerate this.
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