PJ Media

The Return of Abortion as a National Issue

King Solomon said in the Book of Ecclesiastes there’s nothing new under the sun. Women have killed or attempted to kill their unborn babies throughout human history, way before 1973, when the Supreme Court found a long-hidden, deeply buried “right of privacy” in the U.S. Constitution to have abortions. Roe v. Wade made the act legal and culturally acceptable.

This Generation X-er can’t recall a time when abortion was as high-profile as it’s been in 2009.

This year, a nut murdered George Tiller, a man nationally known for performing partial-birth abortions. Several months later, another nut murdered pro-life activist Jim Pouillon as he demonstrated outside a school.

This year, the liberal New York Times published a snark-free, A1, above-the-fold story about Pouillon and other pro-life activists, and posted pictures of aborted babies on the web site.

This year, a former Planned Parenthood executive director made national news after quitting her job. Abby Johnson watched an abortion on ultrasound and said on the Christian Broadcasting Network, “I saw that baby trying to get away from the probe that the doctor was using. … I just wanted to make it stop. … I could see it twisting and just saw it crumble. … I will never do this again.”

Although Johnson’s former employer tried to gag her, she revealed that Planned Parenthood ordered her to increase profits to the clinic by performing more abortions. “Abortion is the most lucrative part of Planned Parenthood’s operations,” she told WorldNet Daily. “Even though they’re two separate corporations, all of the money goes into one pot. With the family planning corporation really suffering, they depend on the abortion corporation to balance their budget, help get them out of the hole and help make income for the company.”

Johnson said her clinic increased the number of patients by doing RU-486 chemical abortions throughout the week. This procedure, which suffocates and starves the unborn baby, costs between $505 and $695, the same as an early first-trimester abortion.

This year, pro-life Democrats in Congress took a stand and voted to bar federal funding for abortions under health care reform, except for cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life. (Read my “extremist” position on two of these exceptions.) Pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak and Republican Joseph R. Pitts introduced the amendment, and over 60 Democrats voted for it. The House of Representatives passed the massive health care reform bill by a vote of 220-215.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment merely extends an existing prohibition on federal funding for abortion. The Hyde amendment, a response to Roe v. Wade, passed the House in 1976 and barred the use of Health and Human Services budget funds for abortions, except for cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life.

The newly passed House bill also bars individuals receiving federal subsides for health care from buying private insurance policies that cover abortion. They’ll have to buy supplemental coverage. The Senate is working on a version of the bill, and it’s uncertain whether the Stupak-Pitts language will survive.

Planned Parenthood’s concern for women’s health seems to extend only as far as abortion. Caught on tape covering up statutory rape, the group plans to rally against the health care reform bill on National Lobby Day on December 2, claiming the bill would leave women worse off.

As usual, Planned Parenthood overstates the case. Seventeen states (13 under court order) currently pay for abortions for “poor” women through Medicaid, and most women pay out-of-pocket for abortions, probably for privacy reasons (although some may seek reimbursement through private insurers). Planned Parenthood receives over $300 million a year from tax-funded grants and contracts. For fiscal year 2007-2008, the organization reported an $85 million profit and performed over 300,000 abortions. Instead of worrying about “affordable” abortions, perhaps the group could spread the wealth and kill a couple thousand babies for free.

The greatest thing Planned Parenthood and the entire pro-choice movement ever did was to couch unborn child killing in terms of choice, a concept most reasonable people value. “[T]hat was a brilliant technique to obscure the facts that a human being is dismembered, crumpled, and sucked with a vacuum out of her mother’s body into a container or sink and ultimately eliminated as an issue in the life of the mother-who-was (versus mother-to-be),” writes Dr. Laura Schlessinger, marriage and family therapist, radio show host, and an outspoken advocate for children.

Pro-lifers must speak plainly about what abortion entails: snuffing out a precious human life, not merely removing inflamed tonsils. Technology has shown unborn babies moving away from needles and probes. Abby Johnson witnessed a 13-week-old unborn human being fighting to survive. What would happen if every Planned Parenthood worker had to watch an abortion?

When a woman makes the choice to have sex, and life is created inside her body as a result, the unborn child’s right to live trumps choice. At least, that’s the way it ought to be. Unfortunately, women will continue to abort, even if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow and abortion banned in every state.