my body, my choice

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 18, 2009

A woman in Virginia suffocated her newborn last week. Because the mother and child were still connected by the umbilicus and placenta at the time the former dispatched the latter, the act is considered no different from clipping a toenail. You go, girl!

Momma is free as the breeze:

“In the state of Virginia as long as the umbilical cord is attached and the placenta is still in the mother, if the baby comes out alive the mother can do whatever she wants to with that baby to kill it,” said Investigator Tracy Emerson. “She could shoot the baby, stab the baby. As long as it’s still attached to her in some form by umbilical cord or something it’s no crime in the state of Virginia.”

The news story attributes the authorities’ inability to prosecute the murder to a “loophole in state law.” But it isn’t a loophole. It’s a carefully crafted legal fiction whose sole purpose is to establish the unborn child as something less than human in order to permit its mother to kill it. The logic is no different from that of the D&X (Partial Birth Abortion) procedure, whereby four-fifths of the baby is delivered outside the birth canal while the skull is confined inside the cervix in order to empty its contents. Surgically.

Note that if a woman wanted to give birth to a healthy child and her obstetrician did what the murderess did in the Virginia episode or what the abortionist does in a D&X, that obstetrician would be sued if he acted through incompetence or charged with murder if he acted in malice. What makes a human person a human person, according to our law, is whether its mother wishes it to be -- at least up to such time as it's alive and kicking apart from and independently of her.

Let me put it simply. No one present at a birth and gazing at the emergent flesh -- not the nurse, not the doctor, not the recorder, not the father -- knows whether he's looking at a baby or looking at surgical waste. No one knows whether it’s a new patient, citizen, child (which he has to tend to), or whether it's a mass of superfluous tissue (which he has to dispose of). Until the arbitrary law arbitrarily kicks in, it's acey deucy: mother’s choice decides all.

Our society tolerates the gross incoherence of these legal fictions because the fictions themselves are necessary lies, necessary to the public justification of abortion. You'll notice that even the journalists find the business difficult to report without knotting themselves in contradictions. Of this case they write, "Because the mother and baby were still connected by the umbilical cord and placenta, state law does not consider the baby to be a separate life." They're saying, in short, state law does not consider the baby to be a baby.

Put that way, something looks wrong.

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  • Posted by: - Dec. 20, 2009 11:35 PM ET USA

    We have to fight this! Virginia cannot have the last word.

  • Posted by: peggyann - Dec. 19, 2009 1:21 AM ET USA

    The Father of Lies is hard at work and he has many, many children to feed. They lap it up and ask what's wrong with people in this society, never seeing their own part in it. People of the Lie, a great book by M. Scott Peck, M.D. (also The Road Less Traveled) explains it well.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Dec. 18, 2009 9:28 PM ET USA

    We old timers in the pro-life movement have been warning about this since R v W first was decided. We've been waiting and praying for the rest of the country to wake up, LISTEN and believe that we have not been exaggerating all along. We've always said that abortion might be legal but would never be safe, contrary to the slogan, and now studies are proving our claim but go unnoticed. Worldwide, we have aborted1 Billion, and fertility rates have plummeted; is endangered species status next?

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 18, 2009 7:42 PM ET USA

    Ironically, the law itself is scientifically perverted in multiple ways. One way, of course, is that the placenta at the time of birth stops functioning, and the child must get its oxygen from the air, not the placental connection.

  • Posted by: Japheth - Dec. 17, 2009 11:06 PM ET USA

    Our society tolerates these gross incoherences in the same way that it tolerates the theological fiction that women can be priests and that homosexuality is normal.