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No Abortion Restriction Is Reasonable Enough For Pro-Choicers

The NRA is more likely to back gun control than pro-choice groups are to favor abortion regulations.

Much of the debate on the new anti-abortion laws in Georgia and Alabama has centered on Alabama’s lack of an exception for rape and incest victims. While the Georgia law does contain such an exception, some pro-abortion advocates argue that it is not broad enough. After watching the abortion debate over the past 30 years or so, I can say without reservation that no matter what exceptions the authors of the bill had carved out, it would not be enough for the pro-abortion lobby.

Since I first became aware that abortion was legal, a mind-blowing revelation to an elementary school student, I’ve followed the debate and legal wrangling that has been involved with probing the limits of Roe v. Wade. In that time, I cannot recall a single example of any restriction on abortion, no matter how trivial or rational, that has not been opposed by the abortion special interest groups.

Among the first challenges to Roe were attempts to require that minors get the permission of their parents before having an abortion. Pro-choice groups, often led by Planned Parenthood, fought these common sense restrictions, but, beginning in 1979 with Bellotti v. Baird, the Supreme Court began to allow these laws that protected parental rights if they included an exception that allowed pregnant minors to get approval from a judge instead of their parents. This was affirmed in Planned Parenthood of Kansas City v. Ashcroft (1983) and Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992).

The original Roe v. Wade ruling essentially prohibited restrictions on abortion in the first trimester and required that laws covering the second trimester be focused on the health of the mother, per Pew Research. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in the decision that the state has an interest in protecting “potential life” in the third trimester and could ban abortions at that point as long as exceptions were made for the life and health of the mother. These guidelines were later overhauled by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

Despite the original decision that allowed some regulation of abortion, decades later pro-abortion activists were fighting restrictions on partial-birth abortion, a barbaric procedure in which the abortionist dilated “the woman’s cervix, then pulling the fetus through it feet first until only the head remained inside. Using scissors or another sharp instrument, the head was then punctured, and the skull compressed, so it, too, could fit through the dilated cervix.” The abortion community fought attempts to ban partial birth abortion, technically called a “D&X,” dilation and extraction, despite the fact that there seems to be no medical necessity for the procedure, which NPR notes, was developed “to perform second-trimester abortions without an overnight hospital stay, because local hospitals did not permit most abortions after 18 weeks.”

As technology has improved, the pro-abortion community has resisted attempts to require that abortion clinics inform women about the choice for abortion. Several states require that mothers be presented with an ultrasound image of their baby before the make the choice for an abortion. Again, the advocates for women’s rights fought to keep women from seeing the scientific evidence that the child within them is a living human being.

The pro-choice community also fought to prevent health and sanitary standards for outpatient surgery centers from being applied to abortion clinics. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that required that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital and that abortion clinics meet the same health and sanitary standards as an outpatient surgical center.

The Texas law was passed after a woman died in Kermit Gosnell’s Philadephia abortion clinic. Philadelphia’s NBC-10 reported that Karnamaya Mongar, 41, died after experiencing severe pain at the clinic. It took an hour for an ambulance to arrive to take Mongar to the hospital and firefighters had to cut bolts off the clinic’s emergency door to extricate her. Gosnell was convicted of manslaughter in the case in addition to three counts of murdering infants that were born alive. He was also accused of allowing extremely unsanitary conditions in the clinic and hiring unqualified workers who he then allowed to perform abortions unsupervised.

In about 30 years, I can’t recall a single instance where pro-abortion groups voluntarily submitted to even the most reasonable of abortion restrictions. Even the NRA has occasionally bowed to pressure for more gun controls as it did earlier this year when President Trump ordered bump stocks to be banned, but the abortion advocates seem to have never given an inch. We can reasonably conclude that if the new laws allowed unrestricted abortion access to victims of rape and incest that the pro-abortion crowd would find something else to complain about.

The truth is that the debate about rape and incest exceptions is a red herring. The Guttmacher Institute found that only one percent of abortions were due to rape and less than half a percent were due to incest. The vast majority of abortions are elective procedures that are performed as a method of birth control. It is these hundreds of thousands of abortions annually that the pro-abortion acitvists are fighting to protect.

Rape and incest victims will not be without options under the new laws. Heartbeat bills and even the Alabama law do not outlaw morning-after pills. There are also charities that provide transportation for mothers to areas where abortion is legal and clinics still operate. In Georgia, the law specifically provides an exception up to 20 weeks for women are willing to file a police report alleging rape or incest.

The fight over abortion and protecting the lives of pre-born humans is not over and won’t be for a long time, regardless of what courts decide about the current crop of laws. There is little doubt, however, that whatever laws are passed to limit the killing of babies, the pro-abortion groups will be there to oppose them, whatever they are. For pro-choice groups, it’s all about unrestricted access.

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