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Addicted to abortion

By Mark Trapp
web posted June 18, 2001

Crack for growing babies
Crack for growing babies

Last month in Conway, South Carolina, Regina McKnight was convicted of homicide by child abuse for killing her unborn daughter by smoking crack cocaine while pregnant. She was sentenced to twelve years in prison. Many supporters of abortion are worried that this conviction may place in jeopardy their raison d' etre. These groups have good reason to be worried-once it is recognized that an unborn child has rights independent of its mother, in whatever context, abortion begins to look a lot less like a constitutional right and a lot more like murder.

That is why a group calling itself the South Carolina Advocates for Pregnant Women (SCAPW) is attempting to portray this verdict as some sort of assault on the rights of pregnant women. For example, Wyndi Anderson, the Executive Director of SCAPW, said of the verdict: "It shows South Carolina wants to punish pregnant women instead of getting them treatment." This remark is plainly misleading and akin to asserting that by enforcing its drunk-driving laws, South Carolina thereby "wants to punish licensed drivers."

To begin with, Ms. McKnight was not simply a "pregnant woman"; rather, she was a pregnant woman who, by constantly smoking crack, killed her 35 week-old unborn daughter just two weeks before she would have been born. This is quite a distinction. Moreover, Ms. McKnight will be receiving drug treatment while she is incarcerated. Ms. Anderson should be happy with this fact, but apparently she is not - I wonder why?

I'll tell you why - because the South Carolina Advocates for Pregnant Women is nothing more than another pro-abortion group, willing to excuse any behavior, no matter how reprehensible, in order to preserve the "right" of a mother to kill her children.

A quick glance at SCAPW's web site verifies this. For example, the web site states that the group's goal "is to decriminalize pregnancy, prevent abortion from becoming illegal in South Carolina and ensure that substance abuse and other health problems that women face during pregnancy are treated through the health care system not the criminal justice system."

Their goal is "to decriminalize pregnancy?" Boy, it's a good thing that SCAPW is around, else the marauding officers of the South Carolina police would be hanging out in the maternity section of Dillard's, arresting all the pregnant women. (Excuse me ma'am - I see that you are eyeing that fully-fashioned blouse with a little extra length in front to accommodate that belly - could you come with me, please?) Surely, the existence of this group, and their courageous fight "to decriminalize pregnancy" are the only things standing between the women of South Carolina and midnight police raids to ensure that they are using their birth control. How ridiculous-if the decriminalization of pregnancy is truly a goal of this group, it seems that they should be the ones tested for drug use.

Their next goal however, represents the true purpose of the group: to "prevent abortion from becoming illegal in South Carolina." Aha! Now we see the group's true colors-abortion. Why do I say that this group's primary purpose is really to promote abortion? Well, why else would any group support what Ms. McKnight did to her baby?

You see, for those who view it as a sacred right, abortion must be preserved at all costs. Thus, its supporters are reduced to arguing on behalf of positions that would make any normal person blush. Hence, Wyndi Anderson and the South Carolina Advocates for Pregnant Women argue that killing a baby by smoking crack is behavior that should lead to drug counseling, not prison.

Admittedly, the group has a point-if a woman possesses a constitutional right to kill her baby at any time during a pregnancy (and the United States Supreme Court has ruled that she does), then why should it matter that Ms. McKnight exercised her right by smoking crack as opposed to paying an abortionist to dismember and vacuum out her baby? Indeed, Ms. McKnight did not set out to kill her unborn child - it was simply an unintended result of her smoking crack. Why should she be sent to prison for doing negligently something which, if done intentionally, qualifies as a constitutional right?

Ms. Anderson apparently agrees with this argument, stating "These women are addicts, and then they become pregnant. It's not like they are out to intentionally harm these children." With this statement, Ms. Anderson gives away the ball game. For starters, if the unborn really are "children" then how can Ms. Anderson's group support the right to abortion? Does she really mean to say that a woman has the right to kill her "children"?

Furthermore, in an abortion, unlike in a crack-smoking death, the mother does set "out to intentionally harm her child." So how can Ms. Anderson and her group support the rights of a mother to do it? Judging from her comment, one would think that Ms. Anderson would be all for the punishment of women who set "out to intentionally harm these children." Instead, her group is working to "prevent abortion from becoming illegal in South Carolina."

Another group, the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, is also nothing more than a group of militant abortion supporters masquerading as concerned citizens. Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of this outfit, called the verdict "just one more development that encourages viewing fetuses as persons and pregnant women as nonpersons."

That statement sums up why these groups are so afraid of this verdict: because it encourages viewing fetuses as what they are, persons. Since a normal person will recognize the inherent contradiction between abortion rights and cases such as this one, the hard-core supporters of abortion must attempt to distort the issue. Consequently, they argue that prosecuting a woman for smoking crack while pregnant is the "criminalization of pregnancy" or sputter nonsense like it "encourages viewing . . . pregnant women as nonpersons." For those who worship at the altar of choice, this verdict is seen as the erosion of a pregnant woman's rights to treat the individual growing inside her as a non-entity. Thus, allowing a crack addict to continue her addiction, no matter its effect on the unborn child, is seen as a small price to pay for the protection of the constitutional right.

Two further examples will establish the absurdity of this position. First, imagine that a third party had injected the mother with drugs while pregnant, causing the death of the unborn infant. Would anyone seriously argue that this third party had committed no crime? Surely, even the mother herself would be intent on prosecuting this person to the fullest extent of the law.

Next, imagine that the mother has given birth to the child, and then proceeds to inject the child with drugs, causing death. This is exactly the same behavior that, if done one hour prior to birth, groups such as SCAPW would be defending. Why should there be any difference in the same behavior one hour after birth?

It is precisely because verdicts recognizing the rights of the unborn eat away at the foundation of abortion that these groups are so worried about them. Such verdicts allow people to believe what medical science and common sense tell them - that an unborn baby is a human being, with inalienable rights identical to those held by persons on this side of the womb.

However, to groups such as those led by Ms. Anderson and Ms. Paltrow, the notion of an unborn child having any rights independent of its mother's wishes is heresy. Thus, these groups find themselves in the unenviable position of supporting the right of a pregnant woman to smoke crack. Sadly, it seems that the clients of these so-called "Advocates for Pregnant Women" are not the only ones with an addiction. Indeed, these groups have an addiction of their own. That addiction is abortion, and they will not allow anything to come between them and their next fix. And if you think that they will, you must be smoking crack.

Mark Trapp is a regular contributor to Enter Stage Right.

Other related articles: (open in a new window)

  • Big tobacco and the abortion industry by Charles A. Morse (June 12, 2000)
    If the tobacco companies can be sued for their legal products, Charles Morse wonders why abortion providers can't be sued for their legal procedures
  • I am ashamed to be an IU alumnus by Scott Tibbs (April 24, 2000)
    Indiana University is a defender of free speech, says Scott Tibbs, so long as it agrees with the speech. The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform found that out during the first week of April




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