Close to crossing a terrible line

Americans concerned about the ease with which abortions can be obtained, not to mention government subsidies for some organizations that provide them, have warned for years that such changes in our society might lead to the crossing of a terrible line – to infanticide.

That is killing a baby after it is born, a thought that horrifies most people.

But not everyone. A former abortion provider in Philadelphia is on trial right now for killing babies he took from their mothers during late-term abortions. The man allegedly killed babies who might have survived had they been given medical care.

A few days ago during a hearing before members of the Florida legislator, a Planned Parenthood representative was asked about the position of her organization, perhaps the single largest abortion provider in the country, concerning babies in effect born in late-term abortions. She struggled for a moment before telling lawmakers that deciding whether to attempt to keep the baby alive ought to be left up to its mother and the attending physician.

Remember, the question involves so-called “viable fetuses” – babies able to survive outside their mothers’ bodies if they are given appropriate medical care. Withholding care kills them.

The Planned Parenthood official’s answer was stunning – so much so that her organization later insisted it favors providing medical care to babies in such circumstances.

But the representative’s failure, even after being asked at least twice, to say that is troubling. It may well be a warning that some in the “pro-choice” camp no longer view that line – between caring for a child and murdering him or her – as sharply as do the vast majority of Americans.