In a USA Today column by CUA associate professor of constitutional law Mark Rienzi, he argues that in a culture that celebrates abortion as a constitutional right, the murder rate has dropped for nearly every group in society except for babies less than a year old.
Using CDC and National Center for Health Statistics data, Rienzi shows that while murder rates in general have plummeted, the murder rates for babies less than a year old have doubled since Roe v. Wade. The most likely day for a person to be killed, says Rienzi, is the day they are born. He notes:
According to the Child Trends Databank using data from the CDC and the NCHS, children less than a year old are roughly twice as likely to be victims of homicide today as in 1970. In 1970, there were 4.3 homicides for every 100,000 children under age one. The rate peaked at 9.2 in 2000 and was at 7.9 in 2010.
The law, says Rienzi, is a powerful teacher. Writes Rienzi:
Our abortion system undeniably treats small, dependent human fetuses in the womb as only conditionally valued. They are to be loved, protected and welcomed if wanted by their mothers, but can be killed and discarded if unwanted.
To be sure, the law attempts to impose a line: Once a baby is born, he is a person to be protected, even if unwanted. But this line is in some sense arbitrary. It is odd to think that the exact same human being is a protected person in one place (outside the womb) but was essentially property moments earlier in another place (inside the womb).
...while it may be more comfortable to ignore the similarity between the fetuses Gosnell legally "aborted" and those he illegally "murdered," at least Planned Parenthood recognizes that there is little difference. This is presumably why Planned Parenthood opposes legislation protecting children born during failed abortions, out of fear that if those babies are protected, the similar babies we allow to be killed inside the womb might have to be protected, too.
A far better choice exists. As a society, we could agree that there really is little difference between killing a being inside and outside the womb. We should admit that our system of abortion law is dehumanizing. The better course is to protect even small voiceless human beings from more powerful people who would rather see them dead, whether that killing happens inside or outside the womb.
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