Well SaidJun 24, 2009
In yesterday's decision handed down by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding Virginia's ban on partial-birth abortion/infanticide, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson had this to say in his concurring opinion:
Perhaps fine art, great invention, sustained prosperity, or enhanced longevity mark the quality of civilized life. Perhaps, I say, because there must be something more. How a society treats its most vulnerable members may do more than grandiosity to shape its lasting worth. A partially born child is among the weakest, most helpless beings in our midst and on that account exerts a special claim on our protection. So we can talk at length about facial challenges and as-applied challenges, and "standard D&E" procedures and "intact D&E" procedures, and "anatomical landmarks," and "disarticulation," and "fetal demise." And we can deploy this terminology to disguise what is happening, in the name of our founding document no less.
The future, however, will not be similarly misled. The fact is that we — civilized people — are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder.
One can only pray that he is right.