When abortion was illegal in America, many
women died or suffered serious medical problems from either
self-induced or illegal “back-alley” abortions.
Women streamed into emergency rooms with punctured wombs, massive
bleeding, and rampant infections.
Thanks to the Roe v. Wade (1973) Supreme
Court decision, women today have access to safe abortions by
medically trained professionals
under sanitary conditions. But anti-abortionists are changing
A law banning “partial-birth” abortions
establishes a precedent for criminalizing other types of abortion—as
America slides down the dangerous slope to “back-alley” abortions.
Those who are truly pro-life must grasp the ominous implications
of and underlying motives behind such anti-abortion laws—before
it’s too late.
Partial-birth” abortion, most commonly known as intact
dilation and extraction (D&X), is designed primarily to
be used in the case of 5- and 6-month-old fetuses that are
malformed, or threatening the woman’s health or life.
The procedure involves pulling the fetus from the womb, except
the head which is too large to pass without injuring the woman.
The head is then collapsed to allow removal. This procedure
designed for the maximum protection of the woman. The late-term
alternative to D&X, one that doesn’t require partial
removal, involves dismembering the fetus in the womb before
much riskier procedure.
Anti-abortionists coined the term “partial birth” to
suggest that the partially removed fetus is no longer “unborn,” and,
therefore, Roe vs. Wade no longer applies (so they allege).
But linguistic manipulation can’t create an essential
distinction when none exists. A woman has a right to her own
if she chooses to abort, then all effort should be made to
the woman from injury. To rule otherwise is to negate this
Banning any type of abortion to “protect the fetus” necessarily
grants rights to the fetus—an utter perversion of individual
rights. If a woman has no right to her own body, then by what
logic does a fetus (which, by definition, is a biological parasite)
have a right to the woman’s body? Properly, an infant’s
rights begin after the fetus is removed from the mother’s
body and its umbilical cord cut.
It is a woman’s individual rights—to her life,
to her liberty, and to the pursuit of her happiness—that
sanctions her right to have an abortion. Once “fetal
granted to one stage of the pregnancy, nothing will prevent
their extension to all stages. “Fetal rights” are
a gimmick to destroy a woman’s individual rights.
Tragically, many “pro-choicers” have conceded the “partial-birth” debate
to the anti-abortionists and accept a ban as a compromise (and
merely quibble about its scope). Such “pro-choicers” have
apparently been hoodwinked by the anti-abortionists’ strategy
of emotionalism and evasion designed to disguise their deeper
The anti-abortionists’ strategy involves focusing solely
on the fetus and describing the abortion in gruesome detail.
Their professed compassion for the fetus apparently leaves
no room for considering the woman’s health and happiness.
For them, waving a picture of a bloody, mangled fetus constitutes
an argument. If so, then so does waving a picture of a woman
whose future was ruined because she was denied an abortion—or
of a woman bloody and mangled by a “back-alley” abortion.
A picture is not an argument—and should not be allowed
as a cover-up. While anti-abortionists’ attacks are primarily
focused on rarely performed late-term abortions, they zealously
want all abortions banned. Helen Alvare, a spokeswoman for
the Catholic bishops and a staunch enemy of D&X, has declared, “In
a moral sense all abortions are equally awful.”
According to anti-abortionists’ dogma, God places the
soul in the womb at conception. Hence, via a leap of faith,
egg—a tiny cell—is granted the status of human
being. At that moment, the woman’s status is demoted
to that of slave and breeding mare—and her womb becomes
property (which, in practice, means the government’s
property). The rights of the woman have therefore been sacrificed
alleged rights of the fetus.
According to this dogma, abortion
is murder at any stage of the pregnancy (which explains why
lifers” feel morally sanctioned to kill doctors and bomb
The anti-abortionists’ war against “partial-birth” abortions
is a smokescreen to ban all abortions. Abortion is a woman’s
moral right. “Pro-choicers” must reject compromise
and fight any law prohibiting abortion on principle—the
principle of individual rights—the principle upon which
this pro-rights country was founded.
Glenn Woiceshyn develops curriculum materials for schools
and homeschoolers and is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand
in Irvine, Calif., which promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand,
author of The Fountainhead. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.