April 17, 2013
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from the narrow Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007. She thought partial-birth abortions should continue and be regarded as a constitutionally-protected species of freedom of choice. Her fiery dissent describes intact dilation and extraction (D&E), her preferred name for partial-birth abortion, and contrasts that with routine D&E, in which the child in the womb is dismembered and brought out in parts—parts that look not unlike the victims of an improvised explosive device set off on a quiet street.
I remember especially the distinguished jurist’s complaint in her dissent about the federal law that refers to those who do these partial-birth abortions as “abortion doctors.” Madam Justice Ginsburg bristles at that phrase.
Throughout, the opinion [in Gonzales v. Carhart, 2007] refers to obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons who perform abortions not by the titles of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label “abortion doctor.” Ante, at 14, 24, 25, 31, 33. A fetus is described as an “unborn child,” and as a “baby,” ante, at 3, 8;
I bristle at it, too. And this may be the only thing in this world where I agree with Justice Ginsburg. I also believe they should not be called abortion doctors. But that’s because I refer to those who do these acts as abortionists.
I have spent almost my entire life around hospitals. My mother was a most efficient telephone operator whose job required her to transmit verbal messages to doctors and nurses with speed and accuracy. As a young boy, I marveled at the way she could say “Dr. Talbot, our otolaryngologist…” What is that, I asked her? An ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Later, I married a medical administrator in the Navy. Medical specialties were her specialty, too: Internist, psychiatrist, neurologist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, and cardiologist. We knew all the “ists” there were, or thought so.
So why, Justice Ginsburg, would you object if we call Kermit Gosnell an abortionist? What we are hearing in a Philadelphia courtroom about his so-called practice? Did he do anything else except abortions?
You believe there is nothing morally wrong with abortions. You have never expressed the slightest qualm about a single one of the 55,000,000 abortions done in Americasince Roe v. Wade in 1973. How can calling the person who does these acts and only these acts an abortionist possibly be “pejorative” in your eyes?
It seems you cannot bear even to hear other Americans express their revulsion at tearing unborn children limb-from-limb.
Justice Ginsburg’s angry dissent is a prime example of what the pro-abortion editors of California Medicine meant when they wrote their famous editorial prior to Roe.
Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices.
Killing continues to be socially abhorrent, unless those socially impeccable folks want to call it “choice.” We have an entire political party, once my party that wins Olympic gold medals for semantic gymnastics by separating the idea of killing from the idea of abortion. They will wax indignant and accuse you of waging a “war on women” if you try to pass protective legislation. They rage against the Virginia regulations that say you ought to be able to get a gurney through their dark and narrow passageways of your abortion facility in case of an emergency. In case a woman has been so unfortunate as to submit herself to a practitioner like Kermit Gosnell.
Think of Gosnell’s slaughterhouse when you hear those semantic gymnasts howling about laws and regulations that protect mothers and their unborn children.
Abortion is nothing but the taking of a human life, an innocent human life. It is unjust. It is the very essence of injustice. Lincoln mildly said to the sophisticates of his day that if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. We all agree with that, now. But we say to the socially impeccables of our time that if abortion is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.
The tragedy of America today is that we have four and maybe five justices sitting on our Supreme Court who have no idea what justice is.