Most people recoil from discrimination and callous treatment of others based on prejudice or perceptions of their worth or ability.
In the same month in which hundreds of thousands will come to Washington D.C. to March for Life in sad memorial of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that created a legal right to abortion, the justices may take up a case that gives them the chance to reconsider. Vice President Mike Pence cracked the door to that possibility in 2016 with the stroke of a pen in defense of women in a unique #MeToo moment.
Pence was governor of Indiana when legislation was sent to his desk that prohibited doctors from discriminating against persons in the womb by aborting solely on the basis of sex, race or disability of the infant. The law also required that after an abortion took place, the broken bodies would be humanely handled by cremation or burial, rather than burned for fuel or dumped into landfills.
The case, Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, presents an interesting dilemma for the abortion industry, which actively opposes a review by the high court. In fact, last month the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky argued that the Supreme Court should reject the petition filed by the state.
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Why? Because the reason for abortion should not matter, they said, adding it would be “perverse” to be allowed to abort healthy babies but not unhealthy babies.
But perhaps their objection came from a desire to avoid a public relations reality — that most people recoil from discrimination and callous treatment of others based on prejudice or perceptions of their worth or ability.
In fact, in a poll just released by Students for Life of America’s Institute for Pro-Life Advancement from the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, we found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed opposed abortion as a form of contraception or when a mother doesn’t like the sex of the baby.
Objecting to this isn’t rhetorical or theoretical. Actual people are impacted.
Consider the abortion rate of those judged less than perfect who face discrimination in the womb because of perceptions of their abilities. With the rise of prenatal testing, many babies never draw a breath after their parents get a difficult test result. Data indicates that 67 percent of babies that are determined to have Down syndrome are aborted. Two of my four children have cystic fibrosis, and I can tell you that there is tremendous pressure put on mothers like me to abort, as though a life is only worth living when others decide that you will earn more in your lifetime than you cost.
Consider the ultimate #MeToo reality of abortion’s impact on preborn girls. The United Nations Population Fund reports that “since the 1990s, some areas have seen up to 25 percent more male births than female births” with projections that by 2020, more than 142 million women and girls will be lost to “gender-biased sex selection, a form of discrimination.”
And consider the experience of certain races and abortion. For example, African-American columnist Jason Riley at the Wall Street Journal has observed that more African-American babies are aborted than born alive in New York City, a tragedy that demands consideration, there and elsewhere as African-American women have the highest abortion rate of any other demographic. Looking at perceptions of black genocide through abortion, award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen in her PBS documentary “Anti-abortion Crusaders: Inside the African-American Abortion Battle” noted that for anti-abortion activists in the black community “[t]he centerpiece of their message [is] ‘The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.’”
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Pence supported the life-affirming law as well as other policies designed to show respect to the people impacted by abortion. Our poll found that 7 of 10 millennials — projected to be the largest voting bloc in America — support limits on abortion, and that 65 percent would like to vote on the abortion issue, something that can happen when Roe is reversed and questions of abortion policy are returned to the states.
In fact, only 7 percent of those surveyed supported abortion without any exceptions and funded by tax dollars, the Democratic Party platform and the often-asserted viewpoint of this generation whom I have found to be much more nuanced in their views. In working with college, university and high school groups on more than 1,220 campuses in all 50 states, I know that this generation is motivated to help women and their preborn children, viewing abortion as a human rights concern.
This is not a partisan issue. As the Supreme Court decides whether to review this case, the real question is how best to treat the least of these and whether discrimination against those in the womb represents our American ideals.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, with more than 1,220 groups on college, university and high school campuses in all 50 states. Follow her on Twitter: @KristanHawkins
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