For Dr. Paul Jarrett, it was the face that changed everything.
As a young physician in the 1970s, Jarrett’s first years in the medical field coincided with the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Like many at the time and now, he accepted the argument that abortion was just another “family planning” strategy and thought little of using the medical skills he had acquired to save human lives to actually destroy them instead.
But there came a day in 1974, when Jarrett came face to face with reality.
At a “Meet the Abortion Provider” conference in 1996, Jarrett described that day’s epiphany – how, after performing more than a score of operations that destroyed babies in their mothers’ wombs he finally faced the truth, literally.
“My 23rd abortion changed my mind about doing abortions forever,” Jarrett told his audience, according to a transcript available on PriestsforLife.org website.
“This patient was a little overweight and ultimately proved to be a little farther along than anticipated. This was not an uncommon mistake before ultrasound was readily available to confirm the gestational age.
“Initially, the abortion proceeded normally. The water broke, but then nothing more would come out. When I withdrew the curette, I saw that it was plugged up with the leg of the baby which had been torn off. I then changed techniques and used ring forceps to dismember the 13 or 14 week size baby. Inside the remains of the rib cage I found a tiny, beating heart. I was finally able to remove the head and looked squarely into the face of a human being — a human being that I had just killed. I turned to the scrub nurse standing next to me and said, ‘I’m sorry.’
“I knew then that abortion was wrong and I couldn’t be a part of it any longer. No one was critical of me for what I had done, nor for having stopped. But I had a lot of guilt about that abortion and had flashbacks to it from time to time. I sometimes dreamed about it…”
That was the physical reality that Jarrett faced in 1974 – that abortion is about stopping a human life at its most vulnerable moments.
But the abortion “debate” in the United States has a political reality as well, one that divorces words from their meaning, and twists them into any shape the liberal media and pro-abortion forces wish them to have.
One of the key words here is “health,” and how abortion proponents use it.
Under the terms of the expansive abortion law passed by the New York legislature and signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week – with the Orwellian name of the “Reproductive Health Act” – abortion is legalized “within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.” (Emphasis added.)
As Rebekah Baker, senior story editor at The Western Journal, pointed out in the video at the top of this post, “health is not defined in the bill, and that’s intentional.”
“So, health could really mean anything. It could mean emotional health, financial health. You could say, ‘If I have this baby, I’ll be under emotional distress,’ and that’s the reason.
“So when you hear people say, ‘It’s just the health of the mother that’s at play here, that’s code for ‘any reason.’”
And that really is the core of the issue here.
When then-Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the Roe v. Wade decision, he cited “penumbras” in the Bill of Rights that the court had previously found that guaranteed Americans the right to privacy.
And while the ruling did allow states to prohibit abortion after the point of viability, where a not-yet full term baby could survive outside the mother’s womb, it also allowed the “health” of the mother to be the determining factor.
“If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” Blackmun wrote.
New York state’s new abortion law carries that muddy logic to its murderous extreme.
For abortion supporters, “health” doesn’t mean a life-threatening condition could result if a pregnancy goes full term.
It doesn’t mean the woman carrying the child will suffer lifelong physical disability as the result.
It doesn’t mean anything other than that the lives of human beings being taken for any reason at all.
That was the reality Dr. Paul Jarrett faced that day in his Indiana hospital in 1974, when he confronted the torn body and tiny, beating heart of a baby he’d just aborted.
Can the country face that reality today?
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