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‘Baby’ Versus ‘Fetus’: Why Terminology Matters

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Jurors in stolen unborn baby trial won’t hear about cause of death.”

This is the headline of the Associated Press story carried on the website of the NBC affiliate television station (KXAN) in Austin, Texas.

It’s about a woman named Dynel Lane, who slit open the womb of Michelle Wilkins and removed her unborn baby girl. The baby died shortly thereafter. According to the AP, “Lane is charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the March 2015 attack on Michelle Wilkins in Longmont (Colorado).”

Here’s the moral irony: “District Attorney Stan Garnett said earlier that prosecutors couldn’t charge Lane in the baby’s death because a coroner found no evidence the fetus lived outside the womb. That angered conservatives in the Colorado Legislature, who had previously tried but failed to enact a law making it a crime to kill a fetus. Colorado’s law against unlawful termination of a pregnancy was a compromise that stemmed from earlier debates on the issue.”

It’s a “fetus” until removed from the womb, right? No: She was a baby whether in or out of the womb. The only thing that changed was where she lived. For the first eight months of her life, the baby lived inside her mother. For a few hours, she lived outside of her mother’s womb.

Yet even the AP or NBC headline writer couldn’t admit to the ridiculous terminological gymnastics demanded by a society whose unwillingness to acknowledge the personhood of unborn children requires it to retain the embarrassing legal fiction known as the “fetus.”

The writer of the headline called the child what she was: A baby.

Why do advocates of abortion on-demand insist on using this obscure, dehumanizing term (“fetus”)? Because if they acknowledge the personhood of the unborn child, suddenly the unavoidable reality of what abortion is – the killing of a tiny child at his or her most vulnerable stage of existence – roars into full view. And that they must bypass at all costs, stepping around “baby” like it is a rhetorical and, more importantly, a moral landmine for their cause. Which, of course, it is.

For all their professed care for women, the predatory abortion industry has a sordid record. As FRC recently document with our allies at the American Center for Law and Justice in a Supreme Court legal brief, “No one expects to see an ambulance pulling away from a dermatology or dental office. Yet ambulances are a frequent sight at abortion facilities.”

But there has been good news over the past few days concerning babies (unborn, that is) in Wisconsin and Ohio:

•“(Wisconsin) Gov. Scott Walker signed two bills Thursday (February 18) that cut by several million dollars a year the amount of public money that goes to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin … One bill restricts how much Planned Parenthood can be reimbursed for prescription drugs, stripping it of an estimated $4 million a year, according to Planned Parenthood. A second measure is expected to cut another $3.5 million in government payments to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.”

Of note is that Walker signed the measures publically at a local pregnancy care center, one that provides life-affirming options for women and their unborn children.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also “signed legislation Sunday (February 21) to strip government money from Planned Parenthood in Ohio.” However, unlike Walker, “The governor did not sign the bill in public. His office made the announcement in a statement.”

At least, though, Kasich did sign the measure. According to LifeNews.com, “Planned Parenthood runs three abortion centers in the state and every Planned Parenthood clinic refers women for abortions.”

This comes after Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine found, in December of last year, that “Fetal remains from three Planned Parenthood facilities in Ohio were sent to companies that then disposed of them in landfills in violation of state administrative rules.” Quoted in Reuters, DeWine said at the time, “Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane. It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”

Parents.com features a wonderful site called, “What My Baby Looks Like.” In it, all 40 weeks of an unborn child’s development are portrayed and described.

And the site says, as plain as day, “What My Baby” – not “Fetus” – “Looks Like.”
Imagine that.

First published at FRCBlog.com


 

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