You’ve Come A Long Way From ‘Safe, Legal, and Rare,’ Baby

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As with any industry pushing for policy changes, the old saw rings true:  Follow the money. Case in point:  The abortion industry.

Abortion advocates in Massachusetts are looking to eliminate the few regulations we have concerning abortion. Since abortions are so readily available here, what’s driving the change?

When our country was less polarized, abortion policy used to focus on making sure women in difficult situations who were thought by some to “need” an abortion could get one.

An October 2018 Commonwealth Magazine poll argues Massachusetts voters are against such an approach and instead favor limitless abortion. Is that so, though? Look closely at the questions. When the pollsters asked voters if women who genuinely “need” and are definitely going to have an abortion should be shamed and inconvenienced, a great majority of people in the poll understandably said no. Yet does that translate into evidence that voters want to remove all restrictions on abortion?

Our laws placing common-sense restrictions on abortion are not put in place to shame or inconvenience women. The poll demonstrates how deceptive abortion advocates can be.

For example, Massachusetts state law currently requires that late-term abortions (after 24 weeks) be done in hospitals, and that doctors that perform abortions be qualified. These requirements are not about shaming women or inconveniencing them. They’re about keeping women safe and protecting their health.

The law also currently requires that underage girls who want an abortion must get consent from their parents or from a judge. It’s not about inconveniencing or shaming a teen-age girl. If a 13-year-old girl has gotten pregnant, there are things going on in her life that a parent should be aware of – or that a judge, at least, who is part of our legal system, should consider. Is she the victim of human trafficking or statutory rape, for instance? Or perhaps she just made some bad decisions, the sort that a teen-ager ought to discuss with a concerned parent. Yet supporters of ditching parental-consent want to replace a difficult conversation with parents with an easy conversation with an abortion provider.

Some of the same liberal advocates who argue that 18-year-olds committing horrific crimes should be tried as juveniles because their teen-age brains aren’t fully developed also argue that 13-year-olds girls can make life-altering decisions about killing an unborn child without even having a conversation with a parent. Something is clearly wrong with this thinking.

In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court established a right to abortion, but also recognized the state can have an interest in protecting a baby, establishing a standard of viability when the government’s interest kicks in.

The government’s interest, in many cases, has been driven by the people. Voters in large numbers have wanted to limit abortions that are not necessary and to make sure women are not physically harmed by abortions. There’s a reason Democratic politicians said years ago they wanted abortion to be “Safe, Legal, and Rare,” as that was in line with the majority of the American people.

As science has advanced, with ultrasound more prevalent, increasing numbers of voters assert they want to make abortion safe and rare, but not legal when the abortion is happening to a viable baby, done only for convenience. Just so, the number of abortions is America is down – way down.

Why have Democratic politicians begun to characterize all of these popular, reasonable restrictions as “impediments to access”? Here’s one simple answer:  They affect the bottom line of abortion clinics. They limit access to dollars — whether it’s a young woman deciding to forgo an abortion after a conversation with her parents, or a woman having a late-term abortion in a hospital instead of an abortion clinic because a hospital provides more safeguards for her physical health.

What does this new paradigm of access-above-all-else or dollars-above-all-else mean for women in our health care system? Abortion advocates of yesteryear were theoretically in favor of making abortion safe and rare. They purported to care about women’s health, opposing back-alley abortions and substandard clinics.

As a result of “safe and rare” arguments, our laws required doctors to use the safest procedures and techniques. They required doctors to be qualified by local hospitals, and required surgical abortions to have the same standards of care as other surgeries. These are common-sense precautions for any medical procedure, but are now actively opposed by extremist abortion advocates, characterized as “red tape” or an “inconvenience” when they should be seen as protecting women from shady doctors and clinics concerned only with the bottom line.

What does the Planned Parenthood crowd advocate for now?

Under the proposed ROE Act here in Massachusetts, all parental consent and notification laws and the current judicial bypass system would be eliminated. Abortion providers have been caught on tape elsewhere discovering statutory rape, abuse, and incest, and yet still provided abortions without contacting authorities. And why would they? They have a financial interest in these behaviors continuing because they make the young lady a repeat customer. Making abortion easy for teen-age girls can allow it to become more routine.

The proposed ROE Act would eliminate the requirement we have even in liberal Massachusetts that late term, medically-risky abortions be performed in hospitals. The abortion lobby supposedly concerned about women now pushes the equivalent of cheaper, back-alley abortions in higher-risk situations.

The proposed ROE Act would even remove a provision in state law requiring that if a baby is born alive during an abortion that life-saving care be provided to the baby. Lifesaving care for a newborn is the sort of care that would occur best at a hospital — not a clinic. Moving late-term abortions away from hospitals to abortion clinics decreases access to newborn care. Having abortions in clinics decreases the likelihood that in the event of a live birth, a “meddling” nurse with a conscience will jump in to prevent infanticide. Infanticide can be swept under the rug, and the now-breathing baby can be killed or quietly allowed to die, as Governor Ralph Northam described in Virginia.

So, in the name of “access” leftists in the legislature now want to enable abortions to be needlessly dangerous for women, and would turn a blind eye to infanticide. That does seem better for abortion clinics’ bottom line. Is it better for Massachusetts women?


Chanel Prunier is Executive Director of the Renew Massachusetts Coalition and the former National Committeewoman for the Massachusetts Republican Party.