Monday, November 13, 2006

Supreme Court Debates Best Method to Execute a Baby

Can lawyers debate the butchering of innocent children while keeping a straight face, and a settled stomach? The answer, apparently, is "almost." At least that's what I saw from my center seat at the Supreme Court arguments Wednesday on partial birth abortion.

The most poignant moment, however, occurred when the Planned Parenthood attorney mentioned that women often prefer an "intact" abortion instead of dismemberment. Roberts asked why they would prefer it, and the attorney stumbled over the answer and talked about how personal the choice was. But many in the room suddenly realized that we were talking about a mother preferring one method of executing her child over another. Regrettably, no one mentioned the oh-so-personal practice of late-term abortionists such as George Tiller, who dress up their victims after the murder and baptize their lifeless bodies in the mother's presence, to help them say "good bye."

Another obvious but unmentioned reason for preferring partial birth abortion could be to preserve the child's organs for fresh, live harvesting and experimentation, rather than to get the mess that results from tearing off arms and legs one at a time ("disarticulation of extremities," as they say). Very fresh harvesting occurs, for example, in fetal pancreas research published by University of Wisconsin-Madison) scientists, though it is not clear what abortion method is used.

Along these lines Justice Antonin Scalia limited himself to comments that illustrated the absurdity of the situation, wherein the Court had to struggle over whether a state may outlaw these atrocities. When Justice Stevens awkwardly insisted that Clement talk of a fetus rather than a child, Scalia remarked that "when it's halfway out, I guess you can call it either a child or a fetus." Or when the Planned Parenthood attorney discussed whether the fetus dies before or after delivery of its ripped-off parts, Scalia resolved the dilemma by pointing out that we generally don't speak of a "leg" dying. And Scalia asked whether it would be criminal to deliver the baby all the way and just let him die. This contextualized the argument that partial birth abortion is the “safest option,” by implying that it is only the safest abortion option. Delivering the baby all the way without puncturing his head would often be the safest "option" at this moment, so as to avoid committing that violent, piercing act so near the woman’s body (sometimes the abortionist even has to hold the head in to prevent the magical occurrence of personhood). But pro-aborts want a healthy execution, not women's health in general. And they are not yet public members of the Peter Singer fan club.

So perhaps only one thing is certain. We should expect another concurrence from Scalia, probably a short one this time, but one that again asks the court to acknowledge what everyone who has eyes to see already knows: the moral absurdity that is Casey and Roe.

Read the rest of this commentary at Human Events Online