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When Was the Last Time THAT Actually Happened?


Imagine that you are a woman happily carrying a baby to term. You have planned for this child’s arrival, and both you and your husband are eager to welcome the new member of your family. Now imagine that during an ultrasound, the doctor gives you some heart-wrenching news. This baby that you have already come to love suffers from a condition known as anacephalism. Anacephalic infants are born with only their lower brain stems functioning. This enables them to breathe and their hearts to beat, but they are without brain functions and are unable to live beyond a few days.

After the shock passes, the doctor then explains to you that although your child cannot survive, he or she can help another child to live. If the baby’s organs are harvested soon after he or she is born, other children who desperately need these organs can be helped, and other families can benefit from your unfortunate loss. As an organ donor yourself, you agree, and you tell the doctor that as soon as your baby passes, he may feel free to take whatever organs he needs.

But the doctor tells you this can not work under those conditions. An anacephalic baby begins to die the moment it leaves the mothers womb; but by the time it actually passes on, the tissues are too far degraded for transplantation.

Then (after a conference with your husband) you reluctantly agree to have an abortion so that the baby’s organs can be taken immediately. However, the doctor tells you that this will not work either. The baby’s organs are still too premature. The only option is an extremely rare procedure called a partial-birth abortion. During this procedure, the child begins the birthing process, but the brain stem is severed so that the child is still born. It sounds cruel, the doctor acknowledges; but since the baby has no actual brain, the child is really brain-dead already.

After much soul searching, you agree.

Then it happens. The president signs a bill banning partial-birth abortion. (Note: This has not happened yet. So far, it has only passed the Senate, but it is all but certain to pass the House and get the president’s rubber-stamp.)

Now, all you can do is give birth and watch your baby die. Then one day in the hospital gift shop as you sit with your dying child, your husband picks up a copy of Scientific American, and comes to you with a suggestion. The two of you call a conference with your OB-GYN and ask, “What about stem-cell research? Can we donate the baby’s tissue for this worthwhile use?”

No, your doctor tells you, this cannot be either. Not since the passage of the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act of 2003, S. 303 which only allows stem cell research on unfertilized eggs.

Weeks pass. Your child withers and dies. You cremate and bury the ashes of the cadaver, and you mourn for all of those other baby’s you could not help. You become angry and struggle for a way to make a statement. This is not the America you and your husband envisioned when you decided to bring another citizen into the world.

You call a press conference, and on your own patio in your own yard your husband lights the propane grill. You read from a prepared statement, explaining how you love this country, but you hate what it has become under this Congress. You tell the press that in your opinion, the America you love is dying a slow death just as surely as the child you lost. You tell them how painful it was to bury your child’s ashes knowing that his or her death did not have to be for nothing, and that it is just as painful to have to bury the memory of the country you once loved.

As you speak, you make a symbolic gesture and place a photograph of the Capitol dome on your grill. The camera comes in for a close up as the effigy quickly takes flame.

That night you are awakened by a pounding at your door, and you and your husband are taken away in handcuffs. You see, there was an American flag visible in that photo you burned, and earlier that day Congress had finally ratified the flag burning amendment.

Okay, so that one is way in the future, if it ever happens, but on June 4th the House actually did pass the preliminary amendment document. It must now pass the Senate and then be ratified by the state legislatures before becoming law, and that is simply not likely.

The point is, that our Congress (particularly the House of Representatives) is wasting time with all of these pandering votes. There is no rash of flag burning, there is no epidemic of partial-birth abortions, and human cloning may NEVER be possible; yet our politicians are ever so happy to have their names on legislation banning these things. And need I remind you that the House is predominantly Republican, the party that decries too much government interference in the minutia.

Personally, I can’t wait for the day that some good-ol’-boy from the Grand Ol’ Party makes a motion that we ban fishing in deserts or that we outlaw singing the French National Anthem on Federal property. I mean really, that madness MUST be stopped.

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