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Are Double Standards Deforming America?

by Catherine Palmer


At the Medical University of South Carolina, a pregnant woman can be arrested for distributing drugs to a minor if her urine test reveals cocaine use. In Illinois, pregnant women who consume illegal drugs may be charged with “delivering a controlled substance to a minor.”[1] But if these same mothers walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic and paid $400, their “minors” could be killed by an abortionist without anyone raising an eyebrow.

University of Louisville Law School Professor Luke Milligan relays such inconsistency in another way: “Imagine, for instance, a pregnant woman who approaches an abortion clinic with the intention of terminating her pregnancy. In one scenario, she is mugged at the entrance, and, due to the ensuing trauma, has a miscarriage. The law holds that a “person” was “murdered,” and it punishes the perpetrator with a life sentence in jail. In the second scenario, the woman evades the mugger, enters the clinic safely, and undergoes a successful abortion procedure. Here the law holds that no crime was committed.”[2]

Milligan’s example demonstrates just one of many oddball implications of this double standard. Indeed, the dichotomy is nonsense: It’s a punishable crime to harm an unborn child but a legal occupation to kill one. It’s homicide if a mugger kills a fetus but a medical procedure when a doctor perpetrates. To the baby, what difference does it make who takes her life? Either way, won’t she be put to death?

Paradox runs rampant. In Oregon, every alcohol-serving establishment is required to display this sign (see image). As author Randy Alcorn reasonably inquired after seeing it, “If alcohol harms unborn babies, what does abortion do to them?” When investigating these contradictions, he also noticed that the U.S. Congress voted unanimously to delay the death penalty of a pregnant woman until after her baby was born. Every congressman, including those who were pro-choice, apparently recognized the humanity of the unborn child living and growing in that woman’s womb. “No stay of execution was requested for the sake of the mother’s tonsils, heart, or kidneys;”[1] it was requested on behalf of her unborn child.

Many states have already given explicit attest to the right to life of the unborn by passing fetal homicide laws. These laws deem it murder for anyone but the mother to deliberately take the life of a fetus. Why? Perhaps most interestingly, the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” which Congress passed in 2004, requires that a person who “intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child . . . be punished . . . for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.”[3] Under this law, a “child in utero” is recognized as a legal victim if he or she is injured or killed due to any one of over sixty listed federal crimes of violence. It was because of this mandate that Scott Peterson, for instance, was convicted of double-homicide under California state law when he murdered his pregnant wife, Laci, in 2002.

Fetal homicide laws and other sanctions for pre-born children are definite goods, but they can only do so much in an abortion nation. They ultimately protect wanted babies from harm and leave unwanted babies vulnerable to die. If our hearts will not break for love of these children, stirring us to defend their worthy lives, our apathy will be our stamp of approval at their moments of death.

All of this from the America whose values once taught nations and inspired the world.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta saw that the United States’ legalization of abortion was a scandal that vandalized our Constitution. She bravely wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 about Roe v. Wade:

America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.

Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity . . . I have no new teaching for America. I seek only to recall you to that faithfulness you once taught the world.


[1] Alcorn, Randy. Why Pro-Life? p. 39-40

[2] Milligan, Luke M. A Theory of Stability: John Rawls, Fetal Homicide, and Substantive Due Process, p. 1178.

[3] HR 1997 was passed by a Senate roll call vote of 61-38, March 25, 2004.


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