The Richmond-based U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday regarding Virginia’s Partial Birth Infanticide statute. The Virginia law, originally ruled unconstitutional (on a 2-1 vote) by the same three-judge panel who presided yesterday, was revisited because of an April decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Carhart. In that case, the justices ruled 5-4 in favor of upholding a certain partial birth abortion ban. (Hear those oral arguments.)

Lost in the argument regarding whether a facial or as-applied challenge was appropriate, was the gruesome details of the procedure that Virginia seeks to ban. Even more disturbing is what the Virginia law does not ban because of the woman’s constitutional right to kill her child. We learned in the argument that a Richmond abortionist believes that it is appropriate to begin to perform an abortion, accidentally deliver, and then set the child aside to die. In fact, based on the argument yesterday, this act is not just constitutionally protected, but Virginia’s partial birth infanticide ban would not make the act illegal. A child born at 19 or 20 weeks is callously laid to the side and left to die of natural causes. Virginia’s law would ban abortionists from accidentally delivering the child and then stabbing the child in the skull.

How can it be appropriate to deliver a child and let the living breathing child die a slow death because the doctor believes him to be pre-viability? With advances in technology, infants are becoming viable at earlier ages. Why shouldn’t doctors have an obligation to try and save a living, breathing child? At the end of life, we provide comfort to those who are terminally ill and do everything we can medically to ease the pain and suffering. Yet, a baby born at 19 weeks is thrown aside like garbage.   

Oh, and by the way, the General Assembly has twice rejected Family Foundation efforts to provide anesthesia to the babies who die by partial birth abortion as well as those who die of natural causes because the “procedure” didn’t go as planned.