Next month marks the twenty-seventh year of legal abortion, and the only thing that appears to have changed in the debate is the addition of newer and more gruesome abortion procedures. At the top of the list is partial-birth abortion.
In recent years, publicity over the partial birth abortion procedure has helped build momentum. During the debate in October of 1999, Senator Rick Santorum and Senator Barbara Boxer engaged in the following exchange:
Santorum: "But, again, what you are suggesting is if the baby's toe is inside the mother, you can, in fact, kill that baby."
Boxer: "Absolutely not."
Santorum: "OK. So if the baby's toe is in, you can't kill the baby. How about if the baby's foot is in?"
Boxer: "You are the one who is making these statements."
Santorum: "We are trying to draw a line here."
Boxer: "I am not answering these questions."
Santorum: "If the head is inside the mother, you can kill the baby."
Discussion and dialogue like this has helped solidify and bolster public opposition to partial-birth abortion. Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan has called this procedure "near-infanticide." Opinion polls show that he is not alone in his assessment. Even abortion-sympathetic citizens and politicians are repulsed by partial-birth abortion.
Throughout this year the battle against partial-birth abortion will be fought on two fronts: Congress and the courts. Pro-life advocates point out that vote counts in the Senate show they are getting very close to a veto-proof margin. Meanwhile, federal courts have forced the Supreme Court to deliberate on the issue. This fall federal judges in Wisconsin and Illinois found the partial-birth abortion bans in their states to be constitutional. Both the court and the Congress will have the opportunity to ban partial birth abortions.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.