Why Democrats must be soft on infanticide

By Dave Andrusko

Elsewhere today I plan to write about a post that appears on a pro-abortion site that cynically dismisses as “just politics” our concerns over babies aborted because they have Down syndrome. If you read my interpretation of the writer, you’ll see that the only way they can live with their consciences is to insist that we must be insincere, that we care about babies diagnosed with Down syndrome only because it puts the pro-abortionist on the defensive, not because it is a lethal form of discrimination and wildly at odds with the greater respect we now treat people with disabilities.

But why do I begin with this in a story that is about what is driving Democrats to push for abortion up to when a woman is dilating[!]– and beyond. With rare exceptions Democrats adamantly refuse to forthrightly condemn what might be called passive infanticide—failing to give abortion survivors the same care as “similarly situated babies who are born under any other circumstance,” to quote Michael Wear?

It’ll be clear in a moment.

Some readers will recognized Michael Wear’s name. He worked in President Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. We’ve written about him a couple of times since.

For example, the occasion when Wear offered some interesting insights into why it is almost impossible to be a pro-life Democrat on the national level.

Wear’s more recent essay in the Atlantic necessarily (because, after all, he is a Democrat) includes a lot of “a pox on both your houses” where he criticizes both Democrats and Republicans on abortion. I find his arguments bashing Republicans the usual-usual. However his criticisms of his fellow Democrats—in this case their cowardice (my term) on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act—I see as extremely insightful.

Republicans said over and over and over again, this bill was NOT a debate about abortion or about boxing it in or limiting/restricting abortion. This is about born babies. So why couldn’t a single Democrat get up and say he or she supports non-discriminatory treatment of abortion survivors?

Democrats (like Senate Minority Leader New York’s Chuck Schumer) insisted the bill “is solely meant to intimidate doctors and restrict patients’ access to care and has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with protecting children.” Three “nothings,” I gather, is suppose to give substance to his rant.

Here’s Wear’s thoughtful take:

By focusing on abortion rights, Democrats ended up arguing a lot about what was not explicitly in the bill, while neglecting to make clear to the American people that they do, in fact, oppose infanticide and believe babies born alive after a botched abortion deserve medical care consistent with similarly situated babies who are born under any other circumstance. Not one Democrat uttered the phrase born alive during the floor debate. Not one Democrat referred to the 2002 act or expressed support for it during the floor debate. If Democrats truly believe the bill is a disingenuous attempt in a long game to end access to abortion, they could at least have been clear while voting against it that they endorse its sponsors’ stated intent.

Put another way (my descriptors, obviously), the delusional embrace of abortion on demand has bled over into an unwillingness to say anything that might ever-so-slightly suggest there might be something problematic about abortion, especially late-late-late term abortions.

In fact, Wear hits on that elsewhere in his piece. (Stay with me, it’s long, but important, quote.)

The truth is that while Republicans were right to claim that [Nebraska Sen. Ben] Sasse’s bill has no direct impact on the legality of abortion, support of this postabortion bill requires the acknowledgement of realities that threaten uncomplicated support for the pro-choice position. If a failed abortion is one that results in a baby that is born alive, what does that say about the purpose and effect of a successful abortion? Regardless of concerns about the political motives driving the conversation, if Democrats can’t support a bill that penalizes denying proper care to a baby who survives an abortion because it might undermine other commitments, or offer a serious alternative proposal that protects those commitments, perhaps those commitments require further examination. If the penalties in Sasse’s bill for situations that Democrats say are either rare or nonexistent are capable of impeding the entire medical field’s capacity to conduct abortions, what does that say about how thin the line is between proper care and negligence?

Indeed, “what does that say”?

It says (which is why all but three Democrats voted against the bill) that a “successful” abortion is a dead baby and perhaps a backhanded acknowledgement that there may be far more than a “handful” of abortion survivors. (If you think about it, Democrats increasingly are comfortable saying abortion really SHOULD be legal throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy. Why wouldn’t there be more and more babies who survive the initial onslaught?)

Back to with which we began this post with–the pro-abortion site’s insistence that pro-lifers cannot genuinely be opposed to aborting a child because she is diagnosed to have Down syndrome. They cannot accept our sincerity any more than they can our opposition to aborting a child because she is the “wrong” sex.

Why? It hits way too close to home—which is that there can be no inherent limitation to an ideology built on “choice” and “autonomy.”

You kill the kid for “good” reasons or no reasons. You kill the child early in his development or as his mother is about to deliver him. You kill the kid because his I.Q. might not measure up to your parental expectations.

You kill without mercy and without ever looking back.

Welcome to today’s Democratic Party.

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