by Rod D. Martin
September 30, 1998

With the nation’s attention focused on the person of Bill Clinton last week, his program sailed to another victory: by a three vote margin, the Senate refused to follow the House in overriding the President’s veto of the ban on partial birth abortion.

This is the second time Bill Clinton has vetoed a ban on the most barbaric “medical” procedure ever utilized outside Nazi Germany, and the second time a handful of left-wing extremists in the Senate has helped him along. In so doing, Clinton has merely shown his character; but his backers have shown a willingness to condone literally anything, and have thus demonstrated clearly why they must be removed in November.

Partial birth abortion is so truly ghastly that even most pro-choicers disavow it, and the usually pro-abortion American Medical Association has officially called for its abolition. It frankly takes a strong stomach just to write about it.

For those who are not familiar with the operation, a brief description is appropriate. After dilating the cervix for two days, the abortionist pulls the live fetus (Latin for “baby”) feet-first out of the womb. Carefully leaving the head inside the mother — because failure to do so would leave the doctor open to murder charges — he then punctures the base of the skull with scissors, inserts a hollow tube into the wound, and sucks out the baby’s brain. According to the president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the all-but born infant feels every bit of this unimaginable agony, just as would you or I, regardless of anesthesia.

To make matters worse, the majority of these abortions are performed on babies that are “viable” within the Supreme Court’s definition: there is no Constitutional “right” to abort them. And the procedure is carried out all the way through the ninth month, on babies the vast majority of whom are perfectly healthy.

It takes a hard-core abortion fanatic to support a procedure like this. As Professor Jean Wright told the Senate, “this procedure, if it were done on an animal in my institution, would not make it through the institutional review process. The animal would be more protected than this.” But in the interest of “feeling our pain,” Bill Clinton firmly upholds a woman’s right to inhuman torture.

Why does the President support this barbarism? Because, he says, the bill to ban it does not create an exemption for cases in which the mother’s life is endangered. This sounds very empathetic, until you realize it isn’t true. Multiple obstetricians and gynecologists, testifying before the Senate last year, made clear that the procedure is never necessary –under any circumstances — to save a mother’s life; and the administration’s own star witness in the first partial-birth hearings recanted last fall, admitting that his assertions on the topic had been “lies.”

The truth is simpler: Planned Parenthood is the only lobby to whom Bill Clinton has been consistently faithful. And the people who truly love abortion — Rush Limbaugh’s much talked-about “feminazis”, who have stood by Clinton through Paula, Kathleen, Monica and a dozen others — stand by partial birth to their last gasp. Their reasoning is simple too: if partial birth abortions can be banned, who knows where it might end? Having lead conservatives down a thousand slippery slopes over the years, they know one when they see it.

Unfortunately for Clinton and the NOW gang, defending partial birth is a serious miscalculation. Single-minded in their quest to make the world safe for illicit sex, they cannot see that they are creating a new and growing realization among even their own allies that they are extremists of the worst kind. When supposedly reasonable people tolerate — in fact advocate — a procedure this hideous, their motives cannot help but be questioned, and their fanaticism becomes clear. Supporting partial birth abortion has already harmed the pro-choice cause more than abandoning it ever could.

But in addition to that, those Senators who stood with Bill Clinton this week marked themselves — and possibly him — for extinction. In a year when Democrat voter turnout is expected to be at an all-time low, and in which the Christian right has a thousand reasons to turn out in force, partial birth may well be the galvanizing issue that costs Bill Clinton his presidency. Three open seats will likely swing Republican, and at least two weak Democrat incumbants will likely lose as well. Just three pick-ups would be the end of partial-birth abortion in America. Just five would give Clinton’s enemies the ability to vote cloture. And that accomplished, the odds of the staunchest advocate of infanticide in presidential history surviving a Senate impeachment trial would dwindle dramatically.

In short, Bill Clinton’s Senate friends may have just “aborted” his Presidency — and their cause — all in one fell swoop, if Republicans see and seize the opportunity.  This is a case in which sound principle is most certainly sound politics.