We the People Act(HR 3893 IH)March 4, 2004 To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes. Mr. PAUL (for himself and Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland) introduced the bill in the 108th Congress and needs to be introduced in the 109th Congress.

Saturday, December 4

American College Of Pediatricians on 'health of the mother.'

  1. ...with higher regard for the advance of science and the values of medicine, we recommend that elective abortions not be performed. Although some abortions are said to be performed to preserve the life of the mother, they are in fact, rarely necessary for those purposes. Maternal health factors that are said to demand termination of the pregnancy can also be accommodated without sacrifice of the fetus. When there is possibility of independent viability of the fetus, we argue for ending the pregnancy by appropriate delivery.
  2. All pre-term deliveries should be done with the health and safety of both mother and infant in mind, and, whenever possible, with a second physician present to safeguard the life and health of the fetus.6
  3. Decisions regarding the provision of life-sustaining medical treatment for the newly born infant should then proceed as for any other infant or child.7,8

Addendum (Editor's Note):This statement is intended to answer an ethical question. How should pediatricians approach and manage a viable fetus who might be unintentionally or inadvertently delivered alive in a late-term abortion attempt? The ethical question of whether a legal right to an abortion implies a right to the termination (death) of the viable or near-term fetus is still important; but in the course of producing this statement, the legal question has been addressed in part. In August 2002, Congress passed and the President signed the "Born Alive Infants Protection Act." This new law extends the same protections to any infant born alive, including those survivors of an abortion procedure.

Though the "Born Alive" law is a step in the right direction, it leaves unanswered the issue of the rights of the unborn. The pediatric community unfortunately has been influenced in policy development by personal perception of societal values and by existing civil law. Civil law cannot take the place of conscience or dictate moral norms. Societal standards must be characterized by a moral basis of respect for all and especially for the rights of the weakest and the most defenseless. The issue here is not viability but rather the inviolability of all human persons from conception to natural end. As pointed out by Paul Ramsey in 1975 (Ramsey P. Appendix,Research on the Fetus, National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, 1975), "The fetus is generally viable at all stages unless it is removed from its natural environment." As we know, the limits of viability have undergone considerable change over the past 30 years and it is anticipated this change will continue. A court, society or the medical profession cannot define humanhood on the basis of such arbitrary measures.

Pediatricians must advocate for all children, not just for those determined "viable." We should honor the advocacy proclaimed interestingly by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1971, preceding Roe v. Wade by some thirteen months, to include pediatricians' responsibility for the child from conception through young adulthood. We must uphold scientific integrity. We must speak out against further "sacrifice of the fetus." The American College of Pediatricians shall not waiver from that commitment.

June 12,2003, Termination of Pregnancy

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