February 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s infamous endorsement of infanticide last week should have been a watershed moment for the American abortion debate. Here we had a Democrat leader in good standing (or at least, he was until that yearbook photo surfaced) applying the “logic” of abortionism to babies outside the womb, and his allies were happy to stand by him. What better opportunity to shine a light on what abortion really is?
Alas, Republicans being Republicans, that opportunity has largely been wasted so far.
Vice President Mike Pence lamented “how far the Democratic party has fallen” from “safe, legal, and rare.” Bemoaning the Left’s “extreme position on abortion,” Sen. Marco Rubio wrote that he “never thought [he] would see the day America had government officials who openly support legal infanticide.” Ben Sasse introduced a bill to protect newborns who survive abortions, arguing “this is infanticide that we're talking about. This should be so far beyond any political consideration.”
Predictably, Democrats blocked the bill, with Sen. Patty Murray dodging its point by accusing Republicans of a “gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered.” It was a lie, of course, but a lie that has worked for Democrats before – namely when Barack Obama voted to let Illinois hospitals starve newborns to death, then got elected president twice anyway.
Afterward, Sen. Ben Sasse’s communications director James Wegmann stressed that “nothing in [the bill] restricts access to abortion.” National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis devoted an article to refuting “smears” that Sasse’s legislation would “chip away at abortion rights.”
“We have moved beyond all common sense, and this body can no longer unanimously condemn murder,” Sen. Joni Ernst marveled, as if every other time her colleagues protected abortion weren’t already examples of the Senate failing to unite against murder.
This is wrong. It's anti-infanticide legislation, not anti-abortion legislation. Nothing in it restricts access to abortion – it just says that babies who are born alive must receive care. Read it here: https://t.co/xAybbjbPDE https://t.co/QadHvrFaou
— James Wegmann (@jameswegmann) February 5, 2019
DeSanctis argues that pro-aborts oppose the bill so bitterly because it “brings into crystal-clear focus the irrationality of the pro-abortion position,” by raising questions like “Why is it acceptable to perform that abortion one minute earlier?” But it only has that effect among people who are paying attention, and the rest of the above has given people precious little reason to take notice.
All of this rhetoric suggests that the problem here isn’t that killing any baby is inherently monstrous, but that Democrats are simply taking it to a new extreme. Between this and the GOP’s past two years of inaction, one gets the distinct impression that the country wouldn’t even be talking about abortion right now if Democrats agreed to leave newborns alone and “just” support abortion up to 20 weeks.
Where are the senators pointing out that Northam’s reasoning for infanticide was no different than every other Democrat’s reasoning for every other abortion? Where are the congressmen targeting the magical birth canal thinking that separates late-term abortion from infanticide? Where are the political leaders taking this opportunity to debunk the viability standard, explain embryology and fetal pain, and make the case that abortion murders a living child no matter what month it’s done in?
President Donald Trump’s remarks last night were marginally better – the harsh bluntness of “allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb” and “he would execute a baby after birth” is a step up from the sanitized terms most pro-life politicians tend to use – but it was still a missed opportunity to connect New York and Virginia to the broader case for life and shame the Party of Death for their barbarism.
Public opinion is overwhelmingly with us on the extremes of abortion, and receptive to the core case against it. Yet Republicans continue to talk as if their goal is not to abolish abortion, but merely to keep it within “respectable” boundaries that they officially disagree with, but functionally accept.
We already know from recent history how this current fight will end, at least at the national level: no new pro-life measures will become law, Democrats will lie and dodge until another shiny object dominates the news cycle, Republicans will move on to whatever the new subject is, and whatever modest public opinion changes happen will continue to be dictated by other factors, good and bad.
Wash, rinse, and repeat…until pro-lifers break the cycle of low expectations and stop gushing over politicians who put in a bare-minimum imitation of effort while repeatedly squandering opportunities to make progress toward our ultimate goal.