Since 1973, some 59 million baby Americans have been slaughtered by abortionists and this is an enormous holocaust. Finally, in 2015, thanks to video exposés by the Center for Medical Progress, the abortion chain Planned Parenthood and abortion per se are major issues in the presidential race. More surprisingly, a Fox News moderator challenged Republican candidates on the issue of legal exceptions to pro-life laws.
If you don’t know the perils of legal exceptions, consider Brazil. This year, a delegation of Brazilians came to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. They were led by Senator Magno Malta, his wife, then-Congresswoman Lauriete Malta, and former Congressman Luiz Bassuma.
Senator Malta explained: “In Brazil, abortion is legal if pregnancy risks the life of a mother; if the baby was conceived during rape; and for babies diagnosed with the ‘fetal deformity’ of anencephaly. These are the same basic legal precedents used by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn all laws protecting innocent unborn babies.”
With these few legal exceptions, approximately 1 million baby Brazilians are aborted every year.
Members of the delegation told me the typical scenario: Many pregnant women claim they went to a party, got drunk, passed out and then they were raped.
At the Fox primetime debate, moderator Megyn Kelly asked: “Senator Rubio, you favor a rape and incest exception to abortion bans. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York just said yesterday those exceptions are ‘preposterous.’ He said they discriminate against an entire class of human beings. If you believe that life begins at conception—as you say you do—how do you justify ending a life just because it begins violently through no fault of the baby?”
Rubio answered: “Well Megyn, first of all, I’m not sure that’s a correct assessment of my record. I would go on to add that I don’t favor a…”
Kelly interrupted: “You don’t favor a rape and an incest exception?”
Rubio: “I have never said that and I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass a law in this country that says all human life, at every stage of its development, is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It’s called the Constitution of the United States. And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not; whether they can speak or not; whether they can hire a lawyer or not; whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies—who we never gave them a chance to live.”
The non-verbatim premise of the bill is that unborn persons can feel pain starting at the age of 20 weeks; that the deadly acts of abortion are violent and painful; and thus abortion should be banned nationwide for unborn babies aged 20 weeks and older.
However, the bill contains exceptions to abort babies conceived during rape and incest. It also permits abortion if a pregnant mother’s life is endangered by “a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions.”
After the Fox showdown, Rubio was interviewed by Chris Cuomo on CNN, who also saw the contradiction. Cuomo said it seems Rubio got his own record wrong.
And what did Rubio say? “No. That’s not true. Everybody supported that bill; every single pro-life senator; every single pro-life group, including the Catholic groups, supported the bill you’re talking about…”
Cuomo interrupted: “But it included the exceptions.”
Rubio continued: “Because it prevents abortions…”
Incidentally, other Republican senators running for president co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rand Paul (Ky.).
There it is. Rubio, his Senate colleagues and a vast number of pro-lifers are confused because prominent pro-life organizations endorsed these bills with exceptions.
I contacted Rubio’s campaign office requesting an interview, but no one replied.
In 2013, two pro-life Congressmen voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on account of exceptions and Governor Scott Walker protests exceptions in his state.
So, Megyn Kelly asked: “Governor Walker, you’ve consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. You recently signed an abortion law in Wisconsin that does have an exception for the mother’s life, but you are on-record as having objected to it. Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion? And with 83 percent of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out-of-the-mainstream on this issue to win the general election?”
He answered: “Well, I’m pro-life. I’ve always been pro-life and I’ve got a position that I think is good system with many Americans out there in that, in that, I believe that is an unborn child that’s in need of protection out there. And I’ve said many a time that that unborn child can be protected and there are many alternatives that will also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out. I’ve got a position that’s in line with everyday America.”
Saving mothers’ lives
Do any medical conditions require abortion to save the mother?
In 2013, former abortionist and longtime obstetrician Dr. Anthony Levatino of New Mexico testified before Congress. The pro-life convert described abortions as “brutal” and said he remembers his victims.
He testified: “I often hear the argument that we must keep abortion legal in order to save women’s lives in cases of life-threatening conditions that can and do arise in pregnancy. … During my time at Albany Medical Center, I managed hundreds of such cases by ‘terminating’ pregnancies to save mothers’ lives. In all those hundreds of cases, the number of unborn children that I had to deliberately kill was zero.”
Caesarian section is one ‘pregnancy termination’ method he uses to save both mother and child.
Dr. John Bruchalski of Tepeyac Family Center in Virginia stressed: “As a doctor, as an OB-GYN, I always take care of two patients: the mom and the child.”
Bruchalski previously told Aleteia that he performed abortions during his residency and why he stopped.
He said unborn babies aged 22-23 weeks can survive outside their mothers’ wombs with care from major medical centers.
“We have incredible medical technology today with excellent medicine, excellent monitoring, excellent technology where we can oftentimes stabilize life for the mom until the baby is viable outside the womb. So, many conditions in medicine don’t necessitate an immediate termination. In fact, when babies get to be a certain size and you abort them, there are so many fluid shifts within the mother’s body that it becomes dangerous in and of itself.
“Let’s say the uterus is incredibly cancerous and the baby is inside the uterus, but in order to save the life of the mother you have to take out the uterus—do a hysterectomy—while the baby’s inside the uterus, and that’s the principle of double effect,” said Bruchalski.
“You [should] never directly intend to kill the child. Never. That’s not good medicine; not good psychiatry. I never pit mother against the child because psychologically for the woman to go on saying ‘I had to kill my baby in order for me to live’ is very traumatic. You never [should] use that language.”
“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. … Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” This comes from sections 2271-2274 of the Catechism—and I know many non-Catholics, even atheists, who defend unborn babies on this principle because they believe in the fundamental human right to life.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II wrote Evangelium Vitae, where he specified legitimate incremental measures to secure the right to life. For example, abortion bans after 20 weeks of conception are legitimate, but should not permit the murder of any particular class of unborn persons, such as those conceived during rape. EV section 73 says:
Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. … A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. … [W]hen it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.
Why do pro-life groups make exceptions?
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York called exceptions “preposterous” when he interviewed Rebecca Kiessling on his SiriusXM radio show last January—and while they specifically discussed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Kiessling is a pro-life attorney who was conceived during the rape of her mother. She testifies against exceptions at government hearings and her organization Save the 1 includes 300 people conceived during rape or incest.
“What Marco Rubio said is completely scathing for the pro-life movement,” Kiessling told me.
She feels betrayed that most pro-life lobbyists, even Catholics, campaign for so-called pro-life bills with exceptions. On her blog, Kiessling details how the National Right to Life Committee threatened Congressmen Paul Brown, M.D. and Rob Woodall, both of Georgia.
These gentlemen were convinced by Daniel Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life. Years ago, Becker happily told me that he’s a Protestant who “loves” the Catholic bioethics taught by Pope John Paul II. Because Broun and Woodall voted against the Pain-Capable bill in 2013, NRLC threatened to give them a “zero” pro-life rating and ousted Georgia Right to Life from their association—but these are only two episodes of retaliation against pro-lifers who insist on the utmost integrity.
Kiessling’s article doesn’t mention the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
However, since 2013, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has endorsed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
This year in January and May, he sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House, urging them to vote in favor of it. In June, after it passed in the House and was introduced in the Senate, Cardinal O’Malley sent the same letter to all senators. All three letters sent to Congress say, in part:
The Catholic Church’s teaching concerning abortion is well known. We hold that every child, at every moment of existence, deserves love and the protection of the law. We do not believe any person or government has the right to take the life of an innocent human being – and we hold that the real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child.
I don’t know why Cardinal O’Malley endorsed a bill with exceptions, but I shall ask him.
Meanwhile, if pro-abortion journalist Chris Cuomo can see the contradiction of exceptions in pro-life bills, why can’t Senator Rubio and all pro-life Americans? No pro-lifers dare to support exceptions based on race or ethnicity, so why do they endorse exceptions such as rape? Let’s not go down in history as barbarians like Rubio fears. Let’s observe the letters of divine and natural laws, as they are summarized in EV 73: “Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize.”
Note: Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s office long delayed responding to my interview request and would not schedule the interview.