Offending Human Dignity

The leaked memo was not meant to be seen outside of a small group of pro-abortion congressmen. It was advice from a pollster on how to spin voter concerns about partial-birth abortion -- advice that told them, in effect, to lie. "Voters believe that this procedure . . . kills an infant," the memo warned. But to get around this difficulty, congressmen should use the language of "severely deformed fetuses." Second, congressmen should describe partial-birth abortion as "medically necessary," performed only in the most "dire" medical circumstances. They should say, "We wish this procedure was NEVER necessary," but it is necessary "to save the life and health of the mother." None of these assertions is true. But the memo -- which came out the last time Congress voted on this issue -- shows how far pro-abortion forces will go to keep Congress from passing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. The U.S. Senate began debating this bill this week. If passed, it would ban the most horrific of all abortion procedures. The abortionist pulls the living baby out the mother's body feet first. He then punctures the baby's skull and suctions out the baby's brain, collapsing the skull. Then the abortionist finishes delivery of the now-dead baby. The procedure is excruciatingly painful for the baby. A Gallup poll recently found that 70 percent of Americans oppose this legalized butchery. But pro-abortion forces are fighting hard to keep it legal, and they are doing what they have always done when it comes to abortion: lie, obfuscate, and deceive. The abortion lobby claims the procedure is extremely rare, that it is needed to save the life and health of the mother, or for when a fetus is deformed -- wrong on all counts. Abortionists perform thousands -- almost all of them on healthy mothers carrying healthy, viable fetuses. And the American Medical Association has testified that the procedure is never medically indicated. Pro-life groups have circulated this testimony to major news outlets, but many reporters choose to ignore it. Instead, they repeat the claims of the abortion industry -- even though the head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, Ron Fitzsimmons, acknowledged a few years ago that he "lied through my teeth" about partial-birth abortion. You and I must educate the public about the reality of this horror. Congress passed a ban on partial-birth abortion a few years ago, only to have then-President Clinton veto it -- twice. President Bush has promised to sign a bill outlawing what he calls "an abhorrent procedure that offends human dignity." But beware: Sen. Dick Durban from Illinois has offered an amendment to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act calling for an exception for the mother's mental health. But "mental health," under current case law, can be interpreted so broadly that it would make the ban meaningless, and the killings would continue. The minute you finish reading this commentary, please call or e-mail your two senators. Ask them to vote in favor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (S. 3), sponsored by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Tell them to vote against the Durban amendment that would gut the bill. You can learn more about this issue by visiting the BreakPoint website ( Our laws forbid the torture of even the most heinous criminals. Should we do less for the most helpless -- and innocent -- among us? Take action: The Senate is expected to vote on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 (S. 3) TOMORROW! Please call your two senators NOW and urge them to vote for this important bill -- and against the Durban amendment excepting the "mental health" of the mother. The Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. Visit for e-mail addresses. And encourage your friends to do the same! For further information: "Santorum Prepares for Bi-Partisan Efforts in Discussion of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003," press release from the office of Sen. Rick Santorum, 10 March 2003. "President Speaks at 30th Annual March for Life on the Mall," White House Office of the Press Secretary, 22 January 2003. Kathryn Jean Lopez, "Still Legal: Congress tries again to ban partial-birth abortion," National Review Online, 10 March 2003. Read the memo from Celinda Lake advising on how to "frame" the pro-abortion argument (courtesy of National Right to Life Committee). Free Adobe Acrobat Reader required. Gerald R. McDermott, "The New Partial-Birth Abortion Bill and Old Myths," Christianity Today, 24 February 2003. David Derbyshire, "Foetuses 'may be conscious long before abortion limit,'Daily Telegraph (London), 1 March 2003. Heather Sternberg Pulkstenis and Elizabeth Bossom, "Partial-Birth Abortion: A Chink in the Pro-Abortion Armor," Concerned Women for America, 1 July 2002. Peter Kreeft, Three Approaches to Abortion (Ignatius Press, 2002). The "BreakPoint Culture of Life Packet" includes the Family Research Council booklet, "Building a Culture of Life: A Call to Respect Human Dignity in American Life," and a "BreakPoint This Week" CD interview with William Saunders of Family Research Council in which he discusses what citizens can do to make a difference for life. The CD also includes a speech by Dr. Robert George, "Bioethics and the Clash of Orthodoxies."


Chuck Colson


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