This Week, America Learns Where Its Leaders Stand on Life and Abortion
The ethics and morality of abortion are being hotly debated across America. This week, leaders in all three branches of government will record where they stand.
What began as an effort to protect abortion rights has become a clarifying moment in American culture. On social media and in religious circles, many have expressed shock at a recently enacted abortion law in New York.
This week, all three branches of U.S. government will respond to public outrage. On Monday, the U.S. Senate will vote on a bill banning infanticide of babies born following a failed abortion. The New York law does not protect lives in such cases.
On Tuesday, President Trump says he plans to discuss life issues in his State of the Union address. Two days later, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will weigh in on an abortion-related Louisiana law.
The March for Life’s vice president of government affairs reacted to these events. “This coming week, we will see if our elected officials and appointed judges respond to the uproar,” Tom McClusky told The Stream.
“Will they reject the barbarism abortion brings? We are hopeful they will join the consensus for life.”
Late-Term Abortion Laws Outrage Even Christian Left
Since taking office, Democratic lawmakers elected nationwide have sought to enact their brutal abortion platform. The Washington Post reports that abortion rights supporters “carefully laid plans… in about half of the states.” In New York, Virginia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, they introduced bills defending late-term abortions.
Proposed pro-choice state laws follow President Trump appointing two new Supreme Court justices. States are acting to defend current policies, in case the high court overturns Roe v. Wade. (Under Roe and related decisions, abortion is legal up to birth except as limited by state laws.)
Enacted in New York on January 22, the Reproductive Health Act implicitly defends third-trimester abortion. Polling indicates only 30 percent of Americans support unrestricted abortion. However, laws in New York and seven other states reflect this policy. These include Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.
“Abortion up until birth is not only brutishly callous, it is severely out of touch with mainstream America,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life.
“These radical pro-abortion lawmakers need to do their homework. Is it really okay to kill a seven-pound baby who is not yet born?”
Several liberal Christian figures also addressed the New York law. Notably, Father James Martin and recent Democratic Congressional candidate Christopher Hale spoke out against it. Progressive author Shane Claiborne stated online: “What happened in New York breaks my heart, and I hope it breaks yours.”
Over the coming days, leaders on Capitol Hill will weigh the value of lives in the womb.
Pro-Life Action in Legislative, Executive Branches
On Monday, the Senate has scheduled the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act for consideration.
Led by Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., this bill ensures newborns who survive a “botched” abortion will receive medical care. If enacted, it would penalize abortion providers who deny these infants life-saving care. The bill updates the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, enacted in 2002.
“The earlier law was inadequate,” said Dr. Brent Boles, a practicing OB/GYN in Murfreesboro, Tenn. “For instance, it was not useful in the prosecution of Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania. This new bill better affords protection against infanticide, either from intentional neglect of babies or through active actions.”
Democratic Senators are expected to object to the measure. The bill will likely only proceed with the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky. Otherwise, Senate legislative protocol will table the pro-life proposal before it gets a floor vote.
On Tuesday evening, President Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address. The annual speech often informs the legislative agenda on Capitol Hill and elevates policy issues in the broader culture.
Due to negotiations around funding for a border wall, the address was delayed. With another government shutdown looming, issues of border security are expected to be at the forefront.
Yet Politico reports that the ethics of abortion policies will also be mentioned. “The president wants to reaffirm his commitment to pro-life [policy],” said a source close to the White House. Whether ailing liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will attend is also being closely watched.
Judicial Branch: Louisiana Law Under Fire
This past Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced an order relating to a Louisiana state law enacted five years ago.
Backed by pro-life advocates, the law imposed new standards on abortion providers. They must obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, in case of complications during the procedure.
Democratic State Rep. Katrina Jackson authored the bill. It was signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal on June 12, 2014. A similar policy recently became law in Arkansas. On January 18, Jackson addressed the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“The requirement for admitting privileges protects women undergoing abortions,” said Dr. Boles. He notes that Tennessee, where he delivers babies, has such a policy. “The abortion industry says providing safe and high-quality care for women seeking abortion is important. So why do they oppose common sense measures designed to ensure the safety of women?”
Justice Samuel Alito noted the court is reviewing recent filings in the case. The state law will not take effect for another week. On Thursday, another court order in the case is expected. It may provide clarity on where Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh stand on the issue.
“My team and I are praying the Supreme Court agrees with Louisiana and the 5th Circuit,” said Laura Aguillard, a local minister in Reserve, La. “It is no longer acceptable to hide behind the lie that a fetus is not a real live baby. It is time for Louisiana and time for America to admit the truth all humanity actually knows — that life is in the womb.”
Regardless of how the court rules, or how the Senate votes, one outcome is certain. After this week, Americans will better grasp where leaders stand.