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IN THE NEWS:

Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA2020 Racial Justice Movement

By Daily Bruin Staff

Aug. 4, 2002 9:00 p.m.

By Joel Schwartz

We just worked so hard to save your baby, and last night I had
to kill a healthier one.” These chilling words, spoken by a
crying nurse, were said to my father after I had survived a blood
transfusion and an operation allowing my two months premature lungs
to work.

These words also elucidate an oft-ignored part of the abortion
debate.

The majority of public opinion offered is either from the
radical anti-abortionists, who want abortion banned at all times,
or the radical pro-abortionists, dedicated to a woman’s
choice to terminate a pregnancy no matter what the circumstances.
Fortunately, our own House of Representatives, in a sporadic act of
good judgment, decided last week to pass a bill that, if approved
by the Senate, would end the horrific act of partial-birth
abortions, unless a mother’s life is threatened.

Taken directly from the bill, a partial-birth abortion is when
“a physician delivers an unborn child’s body until only
the head remains inside the womb, punctures the back of the
child’s skull with a sharp instrument, and sucks the
child’s brains out” Indeed it is hard to believe
doctors would engage in this practice in the first place.

The current laws defining a live baby are based on the old
testament interpretation, where life begins when a baby’s
head has emerged from the vagina. However, research on cognitive
development of growing fetuses has shown quite a different
picture.

By the 10th week of pregnancy, a good deal of the brain has
developed and the fetus takes its first breath. By the 20th week,
the fetus is able to react to sounds, including showing a
preference for its mother’s voice. At the 25th week of
growth, the baby reacts to all sorts of stimuli with heart
acceleration (the same way newborns react). Finally, in the third
trimester, the baby enters into a sleep/wake cycle, complete with
REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that suggests dreaming. In addition,
the fetus has reflexive protection abilities, as well as primitive
learning mechanisms.

These facts point to one undeniable conclusion: late abortions,
especially partial-birth abortions, are in fact murder. It is one
thing to remove a clot of cells and tissue from a body. But it is
disgusting to destroy a developing human being, capable of
recognizing and reacting to human voices. It is sick to murder a
conscious being able to feel pain. At some point, it no longer
becomes an issue of “my body, my choice” because there
is now another body and mind involved.

As a result, we must reach an abortion policy that ignores both
radical ends of the spectrum and does what is morally right. A ban
must be imposed on late and partial-birth abortions. With a limit,
of say 20 weeks, a woman still has the choice to end her pregnancy
for more than four months. If she has chosen to ignore the obvious
symptoms of pregnancy, or has simply procrastinated, then her
irresponsibility will not be rewarded. She will then only be able
to choose to keep her child or give it up for adoption, where there
are an abundance of worthy parents waiting. The freedom of choice
is still available but at the same time, we will be protecting the
lives of people who happen to be unborn.

Thankfully, Congress has begun to recognize that partial-birth
abortions are inhumane ““ except of course when a
woman’s life is in danger. Hopefully, the rest of society
will accept a policy protecting both the rights of women and their
unborn children, and allows certain nurses the peace of mind they
deserve.

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