After a while, even the most hardened doctors would admit it gets to them. For Dr. Anthony Levatino, it happened suddenly. He was in the middle of a dismemberment abortion -- holding the first piece of the baby he'd torn apart -- when he abruptly stopped. "I didn't want to continue," he said. "But I had to, because... if we don't get all of the parts out, the woman will get sick, get an infection, [or] even die." He kept working. But by the end, when he looked at the pile of little body parts he'd removed -- a pile similar to the dozens he'd made before -- something was different. "I didn't see the woman's 'right to choose' or the $800 cash I'd made in 15 minutes. I saw somebody's son or daughter."
It's a barbaric procedure -- one that 44 members of the U.S. Senate want you to believe is "health care" or "choice" or any number of euphemisms that distract from the real-life torture they're supporting. If the baby is lucky, she's lethally injected before being cut apart piece by piece in the womb. If she's not, Senate Republicans argued, she feels every second of her excruciating death. It's a kind of suffering so cruel that we don't subject animals to it or death row inmates or wanted babies. And yet, it is an agony that members of the most powerful legislative body in America will do anything to protect.
"There are only seven nations left in the world where an unborn child can be killed by elective abortion after 20 weeks," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his colleagues Tuesday, "and the United States of America is one of them." And we allow it despite the fact that babies can feel the unbearable pain. When Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) first introduced his 20-week abortion ban years ago, he did it because the science agreed: the fifth-month mark is when the nerve endings have spread to all parts of the skin and tissue. (Other studies argue it's much earlier.) Believe it or not, babies at that stage have the highest number of pain receptors per square inch. So if they're aborted, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand has warned, the suffering will be severe, and it will be excruciating.
That's the kind of unimaginable cruelty we wouldn't allow on most living creatures. And yet, it's the most common second trimester abortion there is, making up 96 percent of the procedures after 12 weeks. Maybe that's why, of all three doctors in the U.S. Senate, not one supports the Democratic view that ripping a child limb from limb after 20 weeks is an acceptable "choice."
Neither, Senator McConnell pointed out, do the American people. You won't catch the media highlighting it, but according to polling, 80 percent of Americans want to limit abortion to the first trimester -- including 65 percent of "pro-choicers." "Do our Democratic colleagues really believe that what our country needs is a radical fringe position on elective abortion that we only share with China, North Korea, and four other countries in the world?" he asked.
And please, spare us all the liberal argument, conservatives like Ramesh Ponnuru write, that late-term abortions almost never happen. They do.
"'Exceedingly rare.' That's how Sheryl Gay Stolberg describes the incidence of 'late-term abortions' in a news story for the New York Times. It's a question of perspective. She cites a CDC estimate that abortion after 20 weeks accounted for 1.2 percent of abortions in 2016. There were 874,100 abortions in the U.S. that year; 1.2 percent would be 10,489.
For comparison, the number of gun homicides in the U.S. that year was estimated to be about 11,000. Perhaps the Times should start calling them 'exceedingly rare' too?"
Democrats are desperate to keep the public ignorant on the barbarism that finances their PACs and powers their reelections. And they have plenty of friends in the media who are willing to keep up this charade that destroying innocent children is a civilized practice. But deep down, Senator Graham asked, "What kind of nation are we?" Abortion up until the moment of birth "doesn't advance anybody's cause." Surely, he insisted, "we're better than that."
Thanks to 44 senators, we are not. Senator Graham's pain capable bill couldn't even get the 60 votes it needed for debate. The message from that, McConnell shook his head, is "chilling and clear: The radical demands of the far-Left [have drowned] out common sense."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.