This week brought us a stomach-churning story from Centralia, Washington. According to reports, a troubled mother gave birth prematurely at home to a 21-week-old baby and then cut the baby's head off with a serrated kitchen knife.
The state is charging the mother with murder.
The disturbing irony of this case, that media reports have somehow failed to observe, is that in Washington State abortion is legal and subsidized by the state way past the point at which this baby was born and murdered.
What that means is that had this mother gone to an abortion clinic and had the baby executed in a functionally identical manner, there would have been no murder charges. The only charges would have been for about $1,000 from the licensed doctor to the mother. Perhaps the charges would have been to Medicaid, which would have paid in full.
We contacted the Washington State chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) to see if they supported the murder charges in this case, or if they saw them as an encroachment on their precious "abortion rights".
We spoke with Alison Mondi. Unfortunately, Ms. Mondi was not familiar with the story, but after our description her initial response was: "That doesn't seem like the right thing to have done."
We emailed her a link to the news account of the incident on the understanding that they would respond via email. Alas, after a couple of attempts, its seems that NARAL Washington does not want to discuss the absurdity of their public positions when its flagrant immorality is laid plain for all to see in a case like this.
Either Ms. Mondi defends the criminal charges, in which case she exposes her organization's own position in support of abortion on demand at any moment of pregnancy as patently repulsive. Or else she is morally consistent but risks marginalizing the abortion lobby even in abortion loving Washington.
If the Centralia mother's lawyer has any sense, he will mount a defense of his client on the grounds that she was actually just performing an abortion without a license (which is a class C felony, and so carries a maximum 5 year penalty and $10,000 fine.) The fact is that in Washington State abortion is completely unregulated up to the point of "viability". Viability is generally regarded to be about 24 weeks, but is constantly changing depending onthe vagaries of medical science.
And even after that, a licensed physician can perform an abortion if he or she alone attests that the baby was not viable, or if he or she alone declares that the pregnancy was a threat to the mother's health.
There are no regulations as to where an abortion must be performed for it to be a legal abortion. No regulations as to the preceding events (e.g., ultrasound, notifications). It's possible that she could be found in violation of the relatively new federal "Born Alive" statute if she goes with the unlicensed abortion defense, but if the umbilical cord was still attached, she might still be able to get away with it.