In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2006 / 8 Kislev, 5767

When do we become human beings?

By Nat Hentoff

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Overlooked in the wake of the midterm elections and the Supreme Court oral arguments on partial-birth abortion is a South Dakota abortion case in the federal courts that casts a sharp shaft of light on the national abortion debate. The case is not connected to partial-birth abortion or to a South Dakota ban on nearly all abortions in that state which was thumpingly defeated by the voters on Nov. 7.

This case is about a South Dakota law that gets to the very core of the abortion controversy: When do we become human beings?

The law would require that doctors tell women intent on having abortions that the procedure would "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."

Arguing against this at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood, Timothy Branson, said the language of this South Dakota law "injects an ideological component into the discussion of the unsettled question of when human life begins. "This is the first case," he emphasized, "that really shows where the line is."

Yes, it is.

As Adam Liptak reported in the Oct. 31 New York Times, a panel of the court of appeals agreed with Planned Parenthood and blocked enforcement of the law. Many states do have "informed consent" laws by which doctors must provide factual information about the procedure to women, and its health risks. These laws have been upheld by other federal appeals courts.

What, then, makes the South Dakota "informed consent" law different? Before this case (Planned Parenthood v. Rounds) — that "really shows where the line is" — reached the Eighth Circuit, Karen E. Scheier, a federal district court judge in South Dakota — had stopped enforcement of the law with a preliminary injunction back in June 2005, in which she ruled:

"Unlike the truthful, non-misleading medical and legal information doctors were required to disclose" (in the Supreme Court's 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision), "the South Dakota statute requires abortion doctors to enunciate the state's viewpoint on an unsettled medical, philosophical, theological and scientific issue — that is, whether a fetus is a human being."

Agreeing with her, The New York Times noted, Eighth Circuit Judge Diana Murphy, writing for the 2-to-1 majority, declared: "Governmentally compelled expression is particularly problematic when a speaker is required by the state to impart a political or ideological message contrary to the individual's own views."

Moreover, said Murphy — invoking Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's widely effective phrase to permit abortion — the South Dakota law creates an "undue burden" on the (continually embattled) constitutional right to an abortion.

This crucial dispute reminded me of a letter in the Feb. 18, 1990, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that significantly affirmed my decision — contrary to many of my fellow journalists — to become a pro-lifer. Dr. Joel Hylton, a North Carolina physician, wrote in that letter:

"Who can deny the fetus is ... a separate genetic entity? Its humanity also cannot be questioned scientifically. It is certainly of no other species."

I wonder if the federal judges in the district and appellate courts, who have forbidden the enforcement of this South Dakota "informed consent" law, would have allowed the presence in their courtrooms of a 3-D and 4-D ultrasound sonogram?

As the New York Post and Daily News reported in September 2003, a British obstetrician — using ultrasound scanning — showed unborn babies (also known as fetuses) "yawning, blinking, sucking their thumbs, smiling and crying." Some of these separate genetic entities in the sonogram were much younger than 24 weeks — and manifestly of no other species than ours.

In his dissent at the Eighth Circuit, Judge Raymond Gruender got right to the palpable point. He noted that this embattled law goes on to define "a whole, separate unique living being" as an "individual living member of the species Homo sapiens, including the unborn human being."

That, said the judge, "is nothing but an unremarkable tautology (needless repetition). It is simply a restatement of the definition of 'abortion.'"

Quoting from the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the judge continued, "Abortion is defined as 'the termination of a pregnancy ... resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.'" And that departed fetus or embryo, whatever you call it, is unmistakably "an individual living member of the species Homo sapiens."

It is no wonder that supporters of abortion insist on describing themselves as "pro-choice" — and recoil at the term "pro-life." I have a friend who, seeing his unborn child in a sonogram, was exhilarated. But months later, in an argument on abortion, he snapped at me, "If you're pro-life, why don't you kill abortionists?"

"Because," I said, "I AM pro-life."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

Nat Hentoff Archives

© 2006, NEA