Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Abortion-Fetus Law

White House to Enforce Abortion-Fetus Law:
"The Bush administration said Friday that it would enforce a nearly 3-year-old federal law that requires doctors to attempt to keep alive a fetus that survives an abortion.

In making the announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services Department said it was an attempt to educate the public about the little-known law. Officials said they didn't know how often a fetus survives an abortion and would not say whether there have been any complaints about a lack of enforcement.

'As a matter of law and policy, the (department) will investigate all circumstances where individuals and entities are reported to be withholding medical care from an infant born alive in potential violation of federal statutes for which we are responsible,' HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a statement.

'We will also take proactive steps to educate state officials, health care providers, hospitals and child protection agencies about their obligation to born-alive infants under federal law,' Leavitt said.

The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002 amends the legal definitions of 'person,' 'human being,' 'child' and 'individual' to include any fetus that survives an abortion procedure."
The problematic thing to me about abortion law (and what I highlighted above) is how you define that which is OK to abort. Although the argument has been molded into a faith-based issue, to me it's more of a scientific one. Turning the argument into a faith-based issue means you can speak less technically about abortion - avoid the conversation of when a human being is created, and focus on when that human being has developed "personhood" or has become "an individual."

I guess I find this little news item interesting because it brings a bit more attention on the definition of an "individual." Does it make sense that a human being become an "individual" only after surviving the trip through the uterus and vagina of their mother? Does it make sense to use the term "individual" to define abortion law at all?

I had a discussion with my wife the other evening about abortion law. I think that Roe v. Wade will be kicked out of federal law in my lifetime and will be made a state issue, although she isn't convinced of that at all.

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