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A troublesome anti-abortion bill

By Scott Tibbs, March 25, 2016

Abortion is a terrible thing and a stain on our nation. I welcome and support legislative efforts to restrict the practice, but the most recent effort in the Indiana legislature is troubling because it compromises a core conservative/libertarian principle of equal protection under the law.

From the legislative synopsis of House Bill 1337:

Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.

It's one thing to ban abortions after a certain gestational age (such as 20 weeks) or to ban certain abortion procedures such as the hideous barbarity known as "partial-birth abortion." Some abortion opponents bristle at limited bans because they explicitly make it legal to murder millions of babies while only protecting a few, but this is part of a legislative strategery to chip away at abortion rights with the end goal of making it completely illegal.

But this ban is not like like other bans that protect all babies from "partial birth abortion" or bans that protect all babies after a certain age. This specifically singles out abortions done for specific reasons. If you want to kill your baby because you cannot afford another child or because you just feel like getting an abortion that day, you are free to do so. If you want to kill your baby because you do not want a little girl, then that is prohibited.

This sounds like "hate crime" laws I have railed against for years, punishing an action more harshly not because the act itself is abominable but because you do not like the beliefs of the person committing the crime. The reason hate crime laws are bad is because they make some victims of identical crimes "more equal" than others, and they start down the dangerous road of punishing beliefs we dislike instead of the actual crimes committed. This is a dangerous road for the anti-abortion movement to travel.

Granted, the comparison to "hate crime" laws is not perfect because no babies are is protected under current law, while HB1337 will single out some for protection.

If I were in the state legislature, I am not sure how I would have voted on this bill. Anything we can do legislatively to save lives is a good thing, and on the off chance that this bill is upheld and enforced it will save lives. Rather than leaving all babies completely unprotected from abortion, this will protect some. The civil magistrate has a responsibility to the God who gave them their authority to protect the helpless from being abused and murdered, and HB 1337 accomplishes that goal - although it does so in a very flawed way.

But the bill is also basically unenforceable and will almost certainly be struck down by the courts. Is it really a good idea to advance the destructive ideas behind "hate crime" laws to pass a bill that will never be implemented? The chance of this legislation saving any lives at all before it is struck down is minuscule, but the damage we are doing by advancing the Left's agenda on "hate crime" laws is real. Plus, it opens Republicans who voted against "hate crime" legislation to charges of hypocrisy - charges that are completely fair.

The strategery of passing incremental restrictions on abortion is a good one, and has been effective for decades now. The so-called TRAP laws have saved lives by shutting down abortion clinics. That should continue. But legislation like HB 1337 advances the Left's agenda while doing very little (if anything) to actually save babies from being murdered by abortion. This is a bad law that should never have been proposed.