3 Inches from Infanticide

Article excerpt


Stop. Before you continue this editorial, take a moment to place your palm on the adjacent column, fingers pressed together. The distance from your index finger to your pinky should be enough to about cover the 3 inches of text in the column. Those 3 inches don't seem like much. But, until the ban on partial-birth abortion becomes a law, those 3 inches are the legal measure of personhood the distance that separates an abortion and an infanticide.

Regardless of how prematurely a child is born, it is considered a constitutionally protected person if, once it is outside of the mother, it shows any sign of life heartbeat, voluntary movement of muscles or respiration. Under the partial-birth procedure, the abortionist makes a partial delivery of the fetus enough to grasp it, to hold it and to kill it. If, before the procedure is finished, the fetus makes it fully outside of the mother a distance of just a few inches the abortion becomes an infanticide.

The procedure is a gruesome one. However, that, in and of itself, is not a sufficient reason for its proscription. After all, many medical operations are gory, cutting and stitching skin and sinew. Regardless of how they are performed, abortions are awful to behold. However, the partial-birth procedure is unique, in that it brings the baby within literally just a few inches of its life.

Those few inches are one of the reasons that the Supreme Court overturned a Nebraska law banning the partial-birth procedure in 2000. …