ABORTION KILLS…. the innocent!
America’s baby murdering factories…. Your tax dollars at work
“I Cut the Vocal Cord So The Baby Can't Scream.”
SCOTUS may hear appeal of Indiana law that directly challenges Roe
This is an issue that may be taken up by the Supreme Court that hasn't gotten a lot of national attention. It involves an Indiana law, referred to as the "Eguenics Statute," passed in 2016 that makes it illegal for women to have an abortion on the basis of race or sex or because they learn they will otherwise give birth to a baby with Down syndrome.
The law was declared unconstitutional in the lower courts, but Indiana has appealed to the Supreme Court. The court privately reviewed the case this past Friday and will decide as early as next week whether to hear arguments.
What makes this particular case so significant is that it will be the first major abortion case to come before the court since Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed.
State lawmakers in Indiana appealed the case about a week after Kavanaugh was sworn in, arguing that “technological advances have improved ... prenatal testing that screens for Down syndrome and other fetal abnormalities,” which results in most women choosing abortion when they receive a diagnosis.The latest available data, from 1995-2011, show that 67 percent of pregnancies that test positive for Down syndrome end in abortion. Pregnant women can screen for Trisomy 21, a chromosomal abnormality, through a blood sample.The Indiana abortion ban was signed by Vice President Mike Pence, who was governor of the state at the time. It contains exemptions for conditions that "with reasonable certainty result in the death of the child not more than three months after the child’s birth.”In 2016, a federal judge blocked the Indiana law from going into effect, and a 3-0 ruling in the 7th Circuit Court in Chicago ruled it unconstitutional. They pointed to the Supreme Court's Roedecision, saying the choice to have an abortion was not up to the government but was to be a decision between a woman and her doctor. In June, a dissenting opinion urged the appeals court to reconsider its ruling, with one of the judges saying that the Supreme Court had not ruled on what he termed a "eugenics statute."
Kavanaugh gave little clue during his Senate testimony as to where he might stand on challenging Roe v Wade:
The question over whether Kavanaugh would cast a deciding vote to overrule or weaken Roe featured prominently in Democratic attacks early during his confirmation hearings. Later, the messaging centered primarily on sexual assault allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who said he touched her inappropriately and covered her mouth while he was drunk and they were both in high school.When asked by senators about abortion, Kavanaugh cited Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decisions that legalized the procedure nationwide up until fetal viability, generally understood as up to 24 weeks. Casey allowed states to regulate abortion but prohibited them from placing an "undue burden" on women who seek an abortion.Kavanaugh did not say during the hearings how he would rule on abortion or whether he believed women had a right to abortion, stressing instead that Casey created a " precedent on precedent."
If the court took the case, they may be inclined to rule narrowly on the issue, confirming or striking down the law, without really dealing with the underlying problem of abortion on demand.
An elective abortion cannot be justified as medically necessary, meaning that other reasons not related to the health of the woman are used to justify it. If you can abort a child based on the fact that it will be a burden to its parents because of some condition they are born with, why not have the right to abort a girl baby because you wanted a boy? It's a slippery slope that the Indiana law seeks to address. If confirmed by the high court, the law could become the basis for severely restricting the reasons a woman can have a legal abortion.
Activists know this, of course, which is why they are fighting the law tooth and nail. While no one can guess where Justice Kavanaugh might stand on the issue, he could support a ruling that would keep Roe intact, but make it much harder to get an abortion. That would maintain both the Roe and Casey precedents while carving out new restrictions on abortion.
Whether Americans like it or not, abortion has become the defining issue of the two main parties. A Democrat can be many things – a moderate; a corporatist; or a shrill, uninformed socialist – but he must be pro-choice, as shown in the recent move to repeal the pro-life Mexico City policy, which prevents foreign aid going to organizations that fund or encourage abortions. The same applies to the Republicans, who range from government-friendly "moderates" to staunch say-no-to-all-spending libertarians but who all must try to uphold the rights of the unborn – except Gov. Kasich, who apparently thinks cursive is more important than saving infants with a heartbeat.
Considering the respective platforms of each party, this sometimes places political leaders and their constituents in strange places. It seems odd that Democrats, who claim to champion the poor and people of color, support a procedure that decimates those very communities and accounted for a staggering41 million deaths worldwide in 2018. For Republicans who claim to advocate for freedom and limited government, it also seems odd, at least on principle, to limit parents' freedom in planning their families.
The division makes more sense within the context of morality than politics. Democrats espouse a materialist secular morality that stresses quality of life over the sanctity of life. This means they believe there is a point for individuals when life is not worth living, usually in cases of poverty, sickness, or suffering, which then makes it permissible to terminate that life. By contrast, Republicans have embraced the Christian/Natural Law morality, which contends that all human beings have the right to life, regardless of circumstance.
Unlike most, if not all, other issues, abortion has no gray areas. One must pick a side and work on winning over the other side. Compromise and moderation are not an option.
Nor is "agreeing to disagree" an option, which is where problems start. At its core, the pro-life movement believes that babies are people entitled to a right to life, while the pro-choice movement does not acknowledge the personhood of the unborn child. Taken a step farther, pro-lifers consequently believe that abortion is murder, that the millions of abortions that have already happened equate to the worst genocide in history, and that people who continue to support abortion endorse a grave evil. As long as the practice of abortion continues, pro-choicers have to find a way to respond to this charge, whether they like it or not.
So far, there have been three ways that the pro-choice movement has responded: (1) repent and join the pro-life movement, (2) argue and rationalize abortion, or (3) fight back. In the first case, the pro-life cause can claim some success, having won over key figures in abortion (including the very woman who was involved inRoe v. Wade) and making the elimination of abortion a key component in theGOP platform and politics in general. In the second kind of response, pro-choicers have adopted every possible argument to rationalize and justify abortion. Mainly, they argue that it empowers and liberates women (because babies are a burden) and enables economic mobility for the poor (again, because babies are a burden). Arguments of the Malthusian and eugenic variety often linger in the background, but only bioethicists have the clout to openly make them in polite company.
The third way to respond – to fight back and become militant – has come to characterize the pro-choice movement as a whole. People who support abortion will use any means to break down the opposing side. They will take legal action (even against nuns), organize smear campaigns, create laws about advertising abortion, and outlaw pro-life protests, and even break laws that might inhibit access to abortion. They will celebrate their abortions at every opportunity, donate massive sums of money to abortion-providers, and treat the right to kill one's child as sacred. Unlike the second group of pro-choicers, they do not use arguments or bring up extenuating circumstances that may justify abortion as though it were a difficult choice (this would show weakness); they simply get mad and use force against the people who oppose abortion in any way.
Most pro-lifers scratch their heads at this reaction. Why celebrate something that is traumatic for the mother and kills the baby? It's understandable (though wrong) that people excuse abortion, but it's disgusting, if not positively demonic, that people tout it as a great thing – as shown in this disturbing commercial from Planned Parenthood or "Shout Your Abortion" founder Amelia Bonow talking to young children about her abortion.
What's lost in this thinking is the massive pressure that keeps pro-choicers from changing their position. One would first have to admit to committing or abetting a great evil. This necessarily produces great guilt and need for penance, which people are less and less willing to accept in today's comfortable world. Moreover, one would have to break away from his peers who still hold fast to legal abortions, risking becoming a pariah. As it is in politics, so too in people's households and social circles: saying yes to life in general means saying no to one's own life in particular. It's also difficult to stay friends with people who you believe enable and engage in what amounts to murder.
Pro-life advocates will often compare the abortion debate to the debate over slavery, and rightly so. Both concern fundamental rights (the right to life and liberty), both allow no compromise, and both have to contend with flawed court cases that legalize something morally wrong (Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott v. Sandford). Pro-choicers even use the same logic as anti-abolitionists, and many ponder the same state-by-state solution to the whole matter. Whether both issues will conclude in an American civil war remains to be seen, but it would be naïve to rule out the possibility of violence erupting – mainly from the pro-choice camp.
Everything depends on how the pro-life movement proceeds. Its members hold the high ground in terms of morality and logic, but they also need to have the courage to confront the inevitable resistance. Victory will not come easily, and praying that a political victory or winning a public debate will overturn the pro-choice movement is foolishness. The pro-life movement will need to continue the hard, often thankless work of appealing to, while fighting, their fellow Americans to protect the unborn. In this sense, it truly is like a civil war, where the enemy is one's brother and sister, and the most loving thing one can do is defeat the enemy in battle – something Lincoln famously argued in his second inaugural address.
The costs will be high, and many will feel discouraged, but if it means saving the lives of millions of future children and promoting a culture of life, then it is all worth it.
Auguste Meyrat is an English teacher in the Dallas area. He is the editor ofThe Everyman and has also written essays for The Federalist and The American Conservative. Follow him on Twitter.
Report: 452 child workers died in the US from 2003 to 2016
About 452 child workers died in the United States from 2003 to 2016, according to a December 20 analysis by the Washington Post. Over 16 percent of those, or a total of 73, were children aged 12 years and younger. The age groups with the next highest number of deaths were 16- and 17-year-olds, with 110 and 145 deaths during those years, respectively.
A child worker is recognized by the US government as any worker under 18 years of age. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act—a set of federal laws which set age, hours worked, wage and safety requirements for minors in the US—14 is the minimum age for most non-agricultural work.
However, there are many exemptions to the law. In the US, children are legally allowed to deliver newspapers, perform in radio, television, movies or theatrical productions at any age. They are also allowed to work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing or what are deemed to be “hazardous jobs”), perform babysitting or minor chores around a private home, and work as homeworkers to gather evergreens and make evergreen wreaths.
The majority of child deaths from 2003 to 2016—52 percent, or a total of 235—occurred in agriculture, although agricultural workers account for less than one-fifth of the total number of child laborers in the US. The disproportionate number can be attributed to the fact that the agricultural, forestry, fishing and hunting sector, which accounted for over 11 percent of total workplace deaths in 2017, is one of the most dangerous occupations in the US.
Another cause is that small family farms are exempt from most government regulations of child labor in the US. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal organization that regulates workplace safety, states that “youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parent or person standing in place of their parent.”
Children younger than 14 are allowed to work on a farm with their parents’ permission. Children younger than 12 can work only on farms so small that they’re not required to pay the minimum wage. Children are prohibited from working during school hours, which means they must work either in the early morning or evening hours. In some seasons, these are the hours with the least amount of sunlight, meaning that they make working conditions more dangerous.
Farmworkers 15 and younger are prohibited from operating a combine harvester or most larger tractors, using dynamite or other explosives, or performing other hazardous tasks. But there are exceptions for children who have been trained on certain tasks and machinery in a program such as 4-H. Children younger than 15 may and regularly do operate smaller vehicles, like tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), on family farms.
According to a 2018 report by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, the number of youth worker fatalities in agriculture has been higher than in all other industries combined since 2009. In 2015, child workers were 44.8 times more likely to be fatally injured in agriculture when compared to all other industries combined.
Transportation incidents were the most common fatal event, with tractors and ATVs being the primary vehicles involved. Transportation incidents also cause the most workplace fatalities in the entire US labor force, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2017.
The high number of child deaths in agriculture can be traced to the reactionary policies of the Obama administration enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, in order to serve the profit interests of the major corporations and big banks and to suppress the class struggle.
In addition to stripping back health and safety regulations during his two presidential terms, Obama’s Labor Department in 2012 refused to enact proposed regulations that would have forbidden children younger than 16 years of age from completing “agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins.” The regulations also would have forbidden farm workers under the age of 16 from handling most “power-driven equipment” and from contributing to the “cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco.”
Outside of agricultural work, the Washington Post report shows that children died working in construction (56), administrative and support and waste management (28), restaurants, hotels and retail (39 total) and several other occupations.
There is no way to know exactly how many children work in the US at any given time, as no official data is available for the total number in agriculture, family businesses and household work, including babysitting and housekeeping work for pay.
Data for employment of 15- to 17-year-olds show that 2.5 million children in this age group were working during the summer of 2017, and the number fell to less than 2 million for the rest of the year, when school is in session in the US. Both statistics are the highest level of employment recorded for this age group in the post-2008 period.
According to the report, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey separately found about 524,000 children worked on farms in 2014. The survey found about 375,000 ‘working household children’ that same year. Two-thirds of them were 14 or younger, according to the [Government Accountability Office’s] analysis.”
The number of children working and killed at work in the United States exposes the stark reality of the capitalist system: Even in one of the most advanced capitalist economies in the world, child labor is not eradicated, nor will it be unless the profit system is replaced with a planned economy based on fulfilling social need.
That so many children are working points to the fact that living standards for the working class have fallen so low that children are going to work at younger ages out of economic necessity, evoking images of children in the Victorian era who risked their lives in dangerous factory and mine work in order to support their families.
Small farmers are especially susceptible to pressure to use child labor, with a general lack of capital making production costs exceedingly high when compared to the economic gain.
Unless the working class intervenes with its own strategy to take control of the means of production, not only will child labor continue to exist in the US, but conditions for child laborers in the US will begin to fall closer to those faced by children on the continents of Asia and Africa, where it is much more common.
Betsy DeVos, current education secretary in the Trump Administration and one of the few cabinet members who has not been fired or resigned, has been a member of the board of the Action Institute. This right-wing think tank advocates the abolition of mandatory schooling and the loosening of child labor restrictions, as illustrated by one of its blog posts from early November 2016, titled “Bring back child labor.”
None of the trade unions in the United States, including the United Farm Workers of America, have lifted a finger to fight against the exploitation of children in dangerous work in the US.
The working class needs its own strategy, independent of the two capitalist parties and their allies in the trade unions, putting forward a socialist program and linking up with workers around the world in the fight for a safe workplace for all workers and to put an end to child labor worldwide.