Some days at the legislature would best be described by Yogi Berra as “déjà vu all over again.” Such was the case yesterday in House Judiciary as we debated Senate Bill 282, a bill that would ban the abortion of viable children. This bill passed the Senate on a straight party-line vote, 32 Republicans voting “yes,” 18 Democrats voting “no.”
With advances in neonatal care, the commonly-accepted point of viability occurs when a fetus reaches 24 weeks gestation. This was not the case when Roe v. Wade was decided, but advances in technology have been dropping the age of viability by about one week per decade. While we believe abortion is abhorrent at any age, it should be readily apparent, even to the most ardent abortion supporters, that killing a viable fetus is beyond the pale. It should be, but it’s not.
And the usual suspects stood before the committee and made virtually the same arguments that they made the day before on the Montana Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The ACLU said the bill was outside the bounds of legal precedent and would be struck down. Planned Parenthood said the decision should be left to a woman and her “doctor.” And the lobbyist from NARAL continued to argue for abortion on demand for everyone, at any age, for any reason, anywhere, at any time, no questions asked.
In my opinion, the thought that a woman can get an objective set of options from an abortionist is laughable. There’s an old saying: When the only tool in your tool belt is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To an abortionist, the solution to every pregnancy is abortion. It’s sad, but the more I see these people defy simple logic, the more convinced I become that that’s their true position. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Olszewski, who also happens to be an orthopedic surgeon, described late-term abortion and told the committee that delivering a viable fetus after 23 weeks, either vaginally or by C-section, is orders of magnitude safer for the mother than performing an abortion. He was backed up by testimony from an obstetrician and a neonatologist.
When the Planned Parenthood lobbyist was called to the stand to give an example of when an abortion would be safer for the mother than a live birth after 23 weeks, she refused to answer the question. This proves it’s not about the mother, and it’s definitely not about the child. It’s about protecting the billion-dollar abortion industry.
During my testimony, I pointed to Section 41-1-103 of the Montana Code, which says, “A child conceived, but not yet born, is to be deemed an existing person as far as may be necessary for its interest and in the event of its subsequent birth.” This law, first enacted in 1895, and re-enacted several times since then, confers rights on an unborn child from the moment of conception. I concluded by asking the committee if we’ve become so hardened as a society that we now believe it’s reasonable to kill a viable child simply because it’s inconvenient. I hope the answer is “no,” and I pray that they pass the bill.