Interesting Questions on Infanticide

February 3, 2009

Taking a break from the MLK theme for a moment…  This story raises interesting questions:

Unable to remain seated [in the abortion clinic waiting area], Williams braced herself with the arms of the recliner chair she was sitting on. As she lifted herself, her water broke and she delivered a live baby girl onto the seat of the recliner. The baby writhed and gasped for air, still connected to Williams by the umbilical cord. Immobilized by shock, Williams watched [the abortion clinic owner] Gonzalez run into the room, cut the umbilical cord with a pair of orange-handled shears, stuff the baby and afterbirth into a red biohazard bag and throw the bag into a garbage can. Shortly thereafter, the doctor arrived at the clinic and sedated Williams, who remained in total confusion and shock. The doctor’s medical records failed to indicate that Williams had delivered a live baby that was killed by the clinic.

Although not the focus of my comment here, the story tells of Williams’ lawsuit against the abortion clinic, abortion clinic owner, and doctors, for the incident, err, murder.  Governmental authorities have thus far refused to press charges (although the treating doctor apparently lost his license). 

This raises interesting questions to me.  Williams entered the clinic presumably intending to end her child’s life.  Now she is suing the people that she hired to end that life.  The difference is they killed the child after she gave birth.  Murder?  Infanticide?  If the line isn’t at childbirth, where is it?  Can a mother “abort an abortion” and suddenly endow a child with rights based on her change of mind?

Now, I have always presumed that the reason people think abortion should be left to the mother’s decision is in large part because the woman should purportedly be able to decide whether to “have a baby”, which I always interpreted to mean, “go through childbirth” (“have” = “deliver”).  Of course, Williams went through childbirth, and I believe (perhaps errantly) that she was going to go through childbirth whether the child was dead or alive.  At that point, there is no “choice” whether to go through childbirth: it’s going to happen one way or another.  So what justifies killing the child in this scenario?

But perhaps the pro-abortion crowd, when they say it’s a woman’s decision to “have a baby”, actually mean “be a parent” (“have” = “possess”).  Nevermind that no father has any control whatever over whether to become a father (outside of the choice to have sex or not); his choice to “be a parent” is in the hands of the woman.  But the argument for choice to “have a baby” or not (in the sense of “be a parent”) presumes that the mother does not already “have a baby”.  Why would the choice to “be a parent” be contingent on being pregnant vs. possessing an infant?  Is killing one’s child a permissible way to cease “being a parent”?  Perhaps, some will argue, the parent of the infant should give him/her up for adoption.  But why wouldn’t that apply to the unborn, especially when the mother is going to have to go through something as painful or invasive as childbirth anyway (such as, for instance, so-called “partial birth abortion”)? 

If the above story strikes you as traumatic or awful, why do you think the ever-so-popular President of the United States opposed protection for born-alive infants (aka unintended survivors of attempted abortion) and opposes the prohibition of partial birth abortion?

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