I've been thinking about the recent passage by the United States House of Representatives of House Bill 1719, The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act of 2015. The Act prohibits most abortions that occur after 20 weeks gestation, and does so because of the conclusion expressed in the bill that fetal children not only experience "sensation" but feel pain. I think the case for prohibiting abortion stands without reference to the experience of pain, based on the indisputable human condition of fetal children. Yet, who can doubt that most, if not all, will find a particular cruelty in the savagery of late term abortions inflicted without consideration of the experience of pain in dying?
So I have spent some time considering HB 1719, and written what my good friend Lou called a "mega-blog."
Because this particular posting is extensive, I've broken it down into digestible portions. While the blog made sense as an assembled whole, it did require a certain level of commitment to complete it. In parts, the segments each present a set of complete considerations relevant to the whole. I hope that you find it of value.
Here are links to the separate posts. I offer them in what seems to me to be the correct rhetorical order:
The House Acts to Save a Small Number of Fetal Humans. This post introduces the disputed bill and reports on its passage. It also notes the panic peddling of abortion hawkers amongst the Democratic Party and leadership.
Naked Political Ploy to Expose Abortion Extremism? In politics, the accusation is frequently made that some bill or another was only offered cynically, for some purpose unrelated to the topic of the bill. Was the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act a naked political ploy? Or are those who refuse even the most meager measures the naked ones?
The House Concludes: Unborn Children Experience Pain Here, we get to the heart of the matter. Fetal humans are biologically alive. Medical treatment of fetal humans, and physiological research on human development shows that at least by the end of the 20th week gestation, an unborn child not only experiences sensation, but that sensation can be experienced as pain. Not that the evidence is undisputed, but the evidence is there, and just how does humanity ignore inhumanity?
Missteps or Next Steps: Is this Federal Statute the Answer Abortion has been a prohibited, criminal act for many times longer than its present status as a blessed legal sacrament of American progressivism. With the certainty that the late term fetal human is forced to endure the pain of her own death, is the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act the answer?
"Personhood," That is, Status as a Person in the Sense that "Person" is Used in the Constitution, Should be Resolved by the Constitution Our history as a people should teach us this: the surest bulwark against government denial of human personhood is to enshrine the status of fetal humans in the Constitution by Amendment. The history shows the way.
Lesser Solution: Well-meant Window Dressing? Finally, there are real problems with the proposal, particular for those that would hold fidelity to a written, fixed in meaning, Constitution. Just because we can get away with a naked grab of power in the Legislative Branch does not justify doing so. We don't fix things by breaking things more.