Abortion extremists like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam have shown their disdain for the lives of children in extreme abortion laws like the one passed in New York and proposed in Virginia. Yet there is another version of abortion laws on the verge of passage in several other states that are even more dangerous.
Bills like those making their way through the legislature in Vermont and Illinois and some other states seek to not only expand late-term abortion but to recognize it as a fundamental right, on par with the right to free speech or to right to public assembly.
To see the distinction in these two types of radical laws, it’s important first to understand what Roe v. Wade and its companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, unleashed on our nation in 1973.
Roe vs. Wade allowed abortion throughout all of pregnancy, and said that although states could — if they wanted — prohibit abortion in the last three months of pregnancy, they had to allow it to preserve the mother’s health.
Then Doe vs. Bolton went on to define health so broadly that it is the exception that swallows the rule.
Health, according to Doe vs. Bolton, is not just medical, but social; not just physical, but psychological.
The words of Doe vs. Bolton say:
“The medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.”
So, in other words, if a mother says she’s too young, or has too many children already, or is too nervous about having another one, or doesn’t have family support, every state must allow abortion until the day of birth, according to the Court.
But now, with the courts moving in a pro-life direction thanks to President Trump and the Republican Senate, the abortion industry sees the real possibility that Roe and Doe may fall in the foreseeable future.
For that reason, some states — as New York has done — are expanding the circumstances under which late term abortions can be obtained. Where a “health” exception did not exist for these procedures, that has now been inserted into the state law.
But the bills introduced in Vermont and Illinois, for instance, don’t even bother carving out “health exceptions.” What they say is that there’s a fundamental right to abortion. Period. If you want it, you can get it. It’s your choice, for any reason at all, or no reason at all.
This is a radical shift from what some abortion advocates still try to convey, that abortion is a regrettable thing but sometimes necessary, a sad tragedy that should be “safe, legal and rare.”
But laws that equate abortion with truly fundamental rights, like freedom of speech and freedom of religion, shift the whole paradigm.
Placing abortion in this category makes it nearly impossible for the state to impose further regulations or restrictions on it. A law that limits a “fundamental right” has to meet, in court, the burden of strict scrutiny. The state has to prove that it has not just a reason for such a limitation, but a compelling interest. Moreover, the limitation on that right has to be the least restrictive means available to pursue that compelling interest.
And yet, the “restrictions” we’re talking about on abortion are commonsense provisions supported by strong majorities of the American people.
These reasonable provisions include:
- Conscience protections for medical professionals who do not want to perform abortions
- The requirement that only a physician may perform an abortion
- Parental involvement in the decision as to whether a minor may have an abortion
- Protection of taxpayer dollars for abortion
- Protection of children from certain forms of late-term abortion like partial-birth abortion, dismemberment abortion, or procedures performed after 20 weeks of development
- Protection of children who are born alive after a failed abortion.
The new, radical abortion laws being introduced and passed now remove these already existing provisions.
These new laws are not about protecting women, and certainly not about protecting babies or the interests of the American people. These laws are designed to protect the abortion industry and those who profit from it.
It’s time for action. Those who live in states that are trying to pass these radical laws need to speak up, vigorously, to state legislators and governors. And we all have to make this an issue for the 2020 elections. If we want the right kind of laws, we have to elect the right kind of lawmakers.
For more about the push for late-term abortion and what you can do about it, visit ExposeAbortion.com.
Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. He became a Catholic priest in 1988 under Cardinal John O’Connor in New York. In 1993 he became National Director of Priests for Life. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels to about four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He broadcasts regularly on television, radio, and internet. He was asked by Mother Teresa to speak in India on abortion, and was asked by then-candidate Donald Trump to serve on his Pro-life and Catholic advisory councils. He has served at the Vatican as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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