Would personhood make Colorado the next El Salvador?


Pregnant woman

According to El Salvador’s high court, “the rights of the mother are not privileged over those of the unborn child (who is to be born) and vice versa.” Every person has an equal right to life. Shouldn’t every country extend equal protection to all human beings?

Some abortion activists don’t think so. In last Friday’s Denver Post, Kathy Bougher vilified El Salvador’s pro-life laws and suggested that introducing a similar equal rights approach in Colorado would create an invasive regime where women are investigated for miscarriages on a whim.

Of course, these are scare tactics. The 2014 Brady Amendment is designed to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from criminal acts. It simply acknowledges that unborn children like 8 pound, 2 ounce Brady, who was killed by a drunk driver, deserve justice. The amendment would not seek out women who tragically experience miscarriage; rather, it would equip prosecutors to charge violent criminals who harm pregnant women and their children. Moreover, invasive police investigations for miscarriage did not occur prior to Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal.

Even in El Salvador, only a minuscule fraction of the country’s 3 million women are charged with abortion-related crimes – far fewer than would be expected if one took the Guttmacher Institute’s laughably inflated estimates of illegal abortions at face value. Clearly the Salvadoran police aren’t putting out the dragnet for post-abortive women, much less women who have experienced tragic miscarriages. In reality, El Salvador fosters a culture of life where abortion is neither needed nor wanted.

As expected, Bougher trots out the Beatriz case as her abortion advocacy coup de grâce. International abortion advocacy groups exerted their cultural imperialism upon Beatriz’s case in order to pressure tiny El Salvador into allowing abortion on demand. Activists like Bougher alleged that Beatriz’s life was in danger because she was diagnosed with lupus and kidney difficulties. Furthermore, they asserted that her child, who suffered from a severe brain abnormality called anencephaly, possessed no right to life.

Abortion activists ignored expert medical testimony before the high court that Beatriz’s pregnancy posed no serious or immediate threat to her life. El Salvador already permits interventions that may risk the life of the baby to save the life of the mother. In its decision, the Salvadoran Supreme Court heeded the advice of the nation’s Institute of Legal Medicine, which advised against abortion and testified that “there is no medical reason to terminate the pregnancy.” Even Beatriz’s own doctors saw no need to carry out an abortion, suggesting a c-section instead.

Eventually, doctors did induce delivery via c-section. Beatriz recovered well, and her baby girl was given treatment similar to any other baby born prematurely. The baby did not survive because of her condition, but she was given palliative treatment with the care and dignity that every human being deserves. During an abortion, this innocent baby girl would have been violently dismembered in the womb and removed piece by piece. Is that really a preferable alternative?

El Salvador’s laws affirm the equal value and dignity of every human being. There ought not be any preferential treatment toward certain human beings at the expense of others. Human rights – like the right to life – should be equal for all. Isn’t that something that every country should strive toward?

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