August 5 marks the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.

Professor Hadley Arkes (third from left in photo) testified with me in Congress about BAIPA and penned melancholy thoughts, with which I agree, to mark the occasion at The Catholic Thing:

For the sake of averting the resistance, first of President Clinton and later of a Democratic Senate, the managers of the bill removed the penalties for failing to provide care to a newborn who had survived an abortion. As the line went, the bill was mainly for “teaching.”

Nevertheless, we had now a statute. And for that reason alone, any clinic or hospital that houses a “live-birth abortion” could lose its tax exemption, because this procedure is clearly “not in accord with public policy.”

More than that, the same hospital or clinic could lose federal funds, and virtually all hospitals depend in some way on federal funds. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act a hospital is obliged to provide emergency care to any person arriving at the hospital in need of care….

The anniversary coming up is a melancholy marker. For this simplest of all Acts may be the most potent lever that could be used now by the federal government to push hospitals and clinics out of the business of abortion, and yet the Bush Administration made only a half-hearted attempt to enforce it.

Adding the penalties to the Act could provide, for Mitt Romney, the tool that George Bush left unused: a bill that is disarming in its moderation, even while it puts the issue of abortion before the public in a stark way.

And at the same time it brings home news that people may still find jolting: that the only national Democrat who opposed bills to protect children who survived abortions is the man who now sits in the White House.

It is so odd that the current president Hadley referred to celebrates his birthday this weekend.

To date there has not been one federal prosecution under BAIPA, even though I know law enforcement is aware of such instances.

In hospitals and abortion clinics across the country babies are still surviving their abortions and either being shelved to die or killed outright, probably today more than 10 years ago.

And it is so odd

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