Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Mexico’s Late-Term Abortion Bill is Fatally Flawed by Rebecca Kiessling

New Mexico is currently the late-term capitol of America, so understandably, with a new Republican majority in the House, pro-life legislators and activists are making a push to get late-term abortion banned in New Mexico.  Although New Mexico also has a pro-life Republican Governor – Susana Martinez, it still has a solidly Democrat-controlled Senate (25-17.)  Accordingly, this legislation is not expected to pass the Senate, and so, is a “message bill.”

But what message is being sent?  Let’s take a closer look at the legislation, HB 390.  First of all, the definition of abortion jumped out at me as being grossly ill-defined –” 2A. ‘abortion’ means the intentional termination of the pregnancy of a female by a person who knows the female is pregnant. “  This definition would encompass any induction of labor, including a c-section, where a baby is born healthy.  If you take a look at Merriam-Webster’s definition of abortion, it is much more clearly defined:  “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.”
Now let’s take a look at the exceptions in the bill under subsection 5B, in which a physician is allowed to perform a late-term abortion on a viable unborn child over 20 weeks gestationally:    
               (1) the physician has determined that in the physician's opinion the late-term abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman; provided, however, that the physician shall take all reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of the fetus; or
                (2) the pregnant woman asserts that the pregnancy resulted from sexual abuse, rape or incest.
Most pro-life activists see the “health of the mother” language and instantly recognize that this language is code for abortion on demand, for any reason.  Even Congress’ flawed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, did not have a health of the mother exception, but a very limited life of the mother exception, specifically excluding psychological or emotional conditions.   In Doe v Bolton – the companion case to Roe v Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court defined “health of the mother” as follows:  “that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient.  All these factors may relate to health.”  This is why the “health of the mother” exception has lead to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason.  Pro-choice activists know this, but apparently, New Mexico legislators are unaware.
The second exception is, of course, one which personally offends members of Save The 1, given that most of us were either conceived in rape or are mothers from rape.   Why do we deserve the death penalty for the crimes of our biological fathers?  Rapists don’t even get the death penalty – see Coker v Georgia (1977) and in Kennedy v Louisiana (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court said it’s “cruel and unusual punishment” even for child molesters.  So how does the innocent child deserve the death penalty for his crime?
Again, the flawed rape-exception Pain-Capable bill in Congress even had some level of standards which passed muster for many pro-life activists – that the rape had to be reported.  When some female Republicans threatened to block the bill unless that reporting requirement was removed, that was enough for pro-life activists to retreat because even those who would compromise on the rape exception, were unwilling to compromise on the reporting requirement.  This bill doesn’t even have a reporting requirement, which again means abortion on demand for any reason.  After all, Roe v Wade was founded on a false claim of rape.
Lastly, this mediocre bill sets the penalty for intentionally killing a 20-week+ unborn child at $5,000, 1 year license suspension and 18 months in jail, since it would only be a fourth degree felony.   In footnote 54 of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Roe v Wade,  the Court pointed out that the state’s whole argument for personhood of the unborn child is undermined by exceptions, by excluding the mother as a principal (as this bill does,) and by the penalty for the abortion being “significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder.”  As the Roe Court put it:  If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?”
So before pro-life activists in New Mexico go jumping on the band wagon, please stop and ask yourselves, “What kind of message are we sending?”
BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is a wife, mother of 5 , attorney and international pro-life speaker, sharing her story of having been conceived in rape and nearly aborted at two back-alley abortions, but legally protected in Michigan pre-Roe v Wade.  She’s the founder and President of Save The 1, and co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception.