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Musings: Rants

What Baby-Killing Program?

May 19, 2017

Marc A. Thiessen, a fellow with the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, in a special to the Washington Post on May 1, 2017, published an op-ed titled “The past 100 days have been a disaster—for Democrats.” I agree with almost everything he said. Politicians—Democrats and Republicans alike—seem to have a proclivity for shooting themselves in the foot. One thing he wrote, however, I vigorously disagree with. After quoting DNC chairman Thomas Perez as having said, “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable,” Thiessen wrote, “Hear that Middle America? Get with the baby-killing program.”

What “baby-killing program”? Those who kill babies, if caught, are prosecuted for murder, and rightly so. But the context shows that Mr. Thiessen did not mean babies, but rather fetuses. The dictionary defines “baby” as “an extremely young child; infant.” A baby cannot yet walk or talk, but has one accomplishment: having been born. Babies born in America have names, birth certificates, and even Social Security numbers. Fetuses do not.

Lately, some justices of the Supreme Court like to interpret the law in terms of what they think the framers of the Constitution meant when they wrote that marvelous document. That said, it is arguably true that when the authors of the Constitution used the word “person”—as in “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”—they did not have in mind a fetus.

Polemics such as Mr. Thiessen used in his “baby-killing” remark have no place in serious political discourse.