The Actual Results of the Born-Alive Act
While there are both moral and immoral "incremental" laws, all offered in hopes of undermining legalized abortion, the immoral incremental laws backfire and actually help to keep abortion legal. The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act was designed to mercifully protect children who survived an abortion attempt. And a secondary goal, also valid, was for it to politically expose any pro-abortion leader who might oppose this effort to protect these kids. In reality, the bill only guaranteed an earlier death for children targeted by abortion and it factored into winning the presidency, twice, for its chief opponent, then Illinois legislator Barack Obama.
2013 Update: Convicted abortionist Kermit Gosnell was prosecuted for murder for only a few of the thousands of children he killed over decades. Though the federal BAIPA law was passed in 2002, sadly and as predicted, it did not protect any of the children killed by Gosnell. Nor has it protected any of the children killed by any of the late-term abortionists around the country. Notice also that Gosnell was not charged with a violation of BAIPA but with murder.
Of the following observations about BAIPA, six are indisputable. ARTL argues however, that all these show that regardless of pro-life intentions, the Born-Alive Infant Protect Act:
- motivates the abortionist to make absolutely certain that he kills the baby
- helps to clean up the public relations image of the abortion industry
- enabled pro-abortion politicians to vote Yes to trick pro-lifers into supporting them
- provided political cover for liberals who supported it to claim that they are mainstream
- went unopposed from NARAL as pro-aborts now say such laws keep abortion legal
- squanders the blood of children killed after birth by a law that saves not one child
- distracts from the essential effort to recognize the God-given right to life of the unborn
- ensures the baby's death is now quicker and like the "PBA Ban," often even more violent
- fewer kids live with BAIPA because those who would survive now have no chance
Some slave holders advocated regulating slavery to make it more tolerable for the public. That's of course why NARAL went neutral on the Born-Alive act and why so many pro-abortion politicians voted Yes, not only to make themselves look humane to the easily mislead electorate, but also to remove the second greatest vulnerability to legalized abortion. The single greatest vulnerability to legalized child killing was the brutality of partial-birth abortion, which opportunity was squandered wasting 15 years on a PBA ban that never had the authority to stop even a single abortion, but did raise a quarter of a billion dollars for the pro-life industry.
Over a period of three years when this bill was repeatedly introduced in Illinois, its chief opponent in the legislature was State Senator Barack Obama. The first time the bill was considered, in 2001, Barack Obama testified on the senate floor:
"...one of the key concerns... is that there was a method of abortion, an induced abortion, where the -- the fetus or child -- as some might describe it, is still temporarily alive outside of the womb. And one of the concerns that came out in the testimony was the fact that they were not being properly cared for during that brief period of time that they were still living. ... Unfortunately... whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause... what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a -- a child, a nine-month-old -- child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it -- it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute." -State Senator Obama
History records the rest of the story. The bill's pro-life advocates understandably, but wrongly, hoped that any pro-abortion politician who opposed this protective bill would have his reputation sullied by being stigmatized as the most unreasonable and the most extreme among extremist pro-abortion politicians. The political calculation behind this bill backfired, and the most visible opponent of this incremental legislation was viewed as a hero by the left, and catapulted to the White House.
Jill Stanek, the strongly pro-life lead advocate of BAIPA legislation, quotes the Born Alive Act:
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being "born alive."
This ambiguity is equivocation. Because abortion is already decriminalized, the existing "law" makes it "dangerous" for millions of particular unborn children. Equivocation on moral issues is also dangerous, for all of those same children threatened by existing abortion "law" and for hundreds of millions of others, born and unborn. This BAIPA statement, equivocating on the fundamental truth that it is wrong to intentionally kill any child, despite any perceived tactical advantage predictatably backfires. American RTL members, critcally called "purists" by others, in reality completely support saving one out of a hundred when only one can be saved. We support parental consent for surgery on all minors (but not laws that regulate abortion that end with, 'and then you can kill the baby'). We support laws that defund abortion providers. We support laws that end abortion here or there, but no one should support compromised incrementalism, because it is immoral and counterproductive.
"The law condemns and punishes only actions
within certain definite and narrow limits;
it thereby justifies, in a way,
all similar actions that lie outside those limits."
-Leo Tolstoy widely attributed
Please see also our Exceptions page, and you're invited to watch online Focus on the Strategy III (or via DVD). And remember, we are the makers of the world's largest protest sign against Barack Obama and the Democrats for destroying unborn children. Finally, if you'd like a 40-year pro-life education in 40 days, in less than one hour per day, then American Right To Life will keep track of your progress! To begin, just click on Get a 40-Year RTL Education!
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