A well-known punishment used in Europe in past centuries was drawing and quartering. Viewers of the movie Braveheart got a partial taste of the horror of this practice. In addition to the disemboweling inflicted on William Wallace in the movie, the victim of drawing and quartering would be pulled into four parts while still alive. It was abuses such as this that our Founders had in mind when they referred to “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
There are still cases of torture/murder atrocities in our day. Look back at the stories of Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Speck and the like. Governments get into the act on a grand scale. Hitler’s ovens and “medical” experiments are only about 50 years in the past. There are still children living in Afghanistan who were maimed by Gorbachev’s booby trapped toys. There is no plumbing the depths to which human depravity can sink.
We Americans don’t have to look to the past to find gross offenses against our fellow man. We don’t even have to look to totalitarian states or the criminal element to find culprits. Anyone who has been following the news about partial birth abortion knows what I’m talking about. Whoever came up with this bizarre method of infanticide belongs in the rogues’ gallery listed above.
In case you have been hibernating for the past year or two, I’ll briefly describe the partial birth abortion. The “doctor” delivers the baby feet-first, until his whole body is outside the mother and only his head remains to emerge. The base of the baby’s head is punctured from behind with a pair of scissors, then the scissors are opened to enlarge the hole. A tube is inserted into the hole to literally suck out the baby’s brain, collapsing the head. Only then is the now-dead baby fully delivered and thrown in the abortion mill’s trash heap (or perhaps sold to demented scientists for experimentation or commercial exploitation).
The Republican-dominated Congress recently passed a bill to outlaw partial birth abortions. Even many who often support “abortion rights” (for example, Rep. Lee Hamilton, D. Indiana) voted in favor of the bill. After all, what kind of a weirdo could favor allowing such a sadistic procedure? Well, some of our neighbors here in Indiana have the dubious distinction of being represented by a man (Democrat Peter Visclosky) who voted against the bill. And, of course, the 40% of Americans who sent President Clinton to Washington share responsibility for his veto of the bill.
As outrageous as the actions of Clinton and Visclosky may be, they are at least consistent. There is no reason for anyone to deplore partial birth abortions while contending for a “right” to commit other abortions. This particular procedure has attracted attention because the victim is so near being delivered unharmed. There may well be some pain for the child having his brain sucked out, but it must be short-lived. Victims of other abortion techniques are not so fortunate.
In one procedure, a concentrated salt solution is injected into the amniotic sac. The baby is killed by acute salt poisoning and is stillborn the next day, looking as if he had been burned to death. It takes the child about one very painful hour to die. Most other procedures involve crushing, cutting, or pulling off the baby’s body parts and removing them with suction or tongs. No attempt is ever made to anaesthetize the child before starting the procedure.
Sound familiar? These “medical procedures” are all reminiscent of medieval torture/executions like drawing and quartering. We wisely refrain from using such barbaric punishments on even our most deserving criminals. We cry “never again” when we hear about the equally horrifying atrocities of the Nazis. Yet we sanction their use against innocent children. We even allow ourselves to be taxed to pay for many of these murders. May God have mercy on our depraved society.