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Viewpoint: Lagoon responds to critics of abortion Viewpoint

I offer the following as a response to those who criticized my opinion piece concerning President-elect Obama's views on abortion, beginning with Joyce Denn.

Denn began her letter this way: "According to Steve Lagoon ("The Obama Irony," Bulletin, Nov. 19), Barack Obama voted to deny medical care for babies who survive an abortion. Lagoon is flat out wrong."

After stating I was flat out wrong, Denn amazingly confirms the very thing I said with her very next comment! She stated: "At issue is Obama's opposition to Illinois legislation that would have defined any aborted fetus that showed signs of life as a 'born alive infant' entitled to legal protection, even pre-viable babies, that is, babies who could not, under any circumstances, survive outside the womb."

Here Denn clearly states that Obama did indeed oppose legislation that would have required babies who survived abortions receive medical care. Wow!

I must confess that I am shocked that Denn would object to babies "who show signs of life" being granted medical treatment. Even if the baby is "pre-viable" and will eventually die anyway doesn't mean you should throw them out with the evening trash.

That child is still a living human being deserving medical care as appropriate in relieving suffering. More importantly the child deserves compassionate care. Most of us wouldn't treat an animal as cruelly as these babies have been treated.

Next Denn stated: "It is worth noting that, at the time these bills were introduced, Illinois law already required physicians to protect the life of a fetus when there is "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial support."

Again, apparently Denn believes that only babies that a doctor determines will survive deserve care, and that those who will not likely survive should be left to suffer alone in agony until they die.

As I said before; this is a monstrosity. Keep in mind as well that doctors are imperfect and often make mistakes about who will or will not be able to survive.

If, as Denn suggest, Illinois law already protected babies who survive abortions, why were legislators trying to pass such legislation?

The answer is that the legislation was advanced for the very reason that such babies were in fact being left untreated and uncared for in Illinois (www.jillstanek. com/archives/2008/02/links_to_barack.html).

Denn also stated: "Requiring resuscitative measures for pre-viable infants is not only futile, it is also cruel, subjecting the infants to invasive and sometimes painful procedures when they should, in fact, be allowed to die peacefully in their parents' arms.

Would Lagoon require intubation, ventilation and chest compressions for an infant without fully-developed lungs, for example?"

Here Denn dissembles. No one was arguing that pre-viable babies be given medical treatments that could not help them and in fact would hurt them. Give me a break.

The legislation that Obama opposed did not contain any such language and I challenge her to show otherwise.

Also, I find it interesting that Denn refers to aborted fetuses as "infants" and the woman aborting her as a "parent." What a twisted use of language.

A woman goes to an abortion clinic to kill her baby, exactly as Denn believes she should be able to do, and against all odds the poor child survives, and now suddenly the fetus is an "infant" and the woman is a "parent." More monstrosity.

Then Denn condescendingly stated that I should, "rest easy regarding the unborn." Mrs. Denn, what if during the civil rights era I suggested to those fighting racism that they should "rest easy regarding African Americans"?

How can we, how should we rest when the most innocent and defenseless of our human family are torn apart in their mother's wombs?

Carol Turnbull began her letter as follows: "Sucked us right in, didn't you, Mr. Lagoon, with your "tears of joy" at the election of the first African-American President (Viewpoint, Bulletin Nov. 19)."

For the record, I was very sincere in what I said. I really was moved to tears on election night when Obama made his victory speech.

I am a fierce opponent of racism in all its stripes. That's why it saddens me that Obama ironically supports denying the rights of our unborn human family.

Next Turnbull stated: "I am so very tired of hearing about abortion. All my life, from before Roe v. Wade, there have been those who live and die voting only on the basis of abortion."

Mrs. Turnbull, I am sure that there were those like you in past generations who said, "I am so very tired of hearing about abolition. So tired of those pleading for the rights of slaves. Why don't they just shut up?"

Others said, "I am so very tired of hearing about women's suffrage. Why can't those women shut up and get back in the kitchen?"

But people of conscience and great courage refused to give up, refused to back down, and were finally victorious in ending slavery and gaining civil rights, while others were equally successful in gaining women's suffrage and other women's rights.

And people of courage and conscience will continue the fight today until the most basic right, the right to life, is protected for all.

Finally, Turnbull stated: "War? The economy? Health care? Never mind, what is the candidate's stand on abortion? Actually, sometimes I envy that kind of simplicity. It certainly saves a lot of time and effort. A black-and-white world."

This is certainly a condescending statement. Only simpletons are pro-life whereas the real intellectuals like Turnbull are smart enough to understand why it is acceptable to kill babies in their mother's wombs.

I ask you Mrs. Turnbull, if there are not some issues that are indeed black and white, with clear answers? If you don't think so, on what basis do you condemn racism or the denial of women's rights?

Ahh, maybe there are some things that are black and white after all -- even for Mrs. Turnbull.

Lagoon is a resident of Woodbury.