By Matt Sande, Legislative Director, Pro-Life Wisconsin
The recent Democratic push to enact late-term, infanticidal abortion laws in the states of New York, Virginia, Vermont and elsewhere is frightening. The Virginia abortion legislation - that thankfully failed - would have erased the state’s limits on abortion in the last three months of pregnancy thus allowing a woman to receive an abortion up to, and even during, labor.
It is important to understand that abortion on demand in America, throughout all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason, has been the law of the land since 1973. States like New York and Virginia have always been permitted by federal law to do what they are presently doing. They are simply pushing the extremes of what is legally permissible. Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, is the key that unlocked this horrible legal reality.
Under Roe, states can outlaw post-viability abortions except those for “the life or health of the mother.” But it was Doe that defined the word “health” so broadly that the exception became a massive statutory loophole through which to drive abortion on demand. Under Doe, in assessing whether an abortion is necessary for a woman’s health, a doctor’s 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.” Thus, a pregnant woman having emotional problems can get an abortion in the ninth month for “health” reasons.
Ultimately, if preborn children are human beings made in the image and likeness of God, then they must be fully protected as persons from conception – not just in the later stages of their mothers’ pregnancies. Federal personhood legislation accomplishes this and has been introduced by Congress session after session. Both the Sanctity of Human Life Act (H.R. 305) and the Life at Conception Act (H.R. 616) apply the 14th Amendment protections of “equal protection” and “due process” to all human beings from conception, thus ending all abortion without exception. This is what we must fight for! Only when our nation protects preborn children as persons will we see an end to the scandal of legal abortion.