You might think The Washington Post has editing standards or at least knowledge about the topics it covers. But you would be wrong.
This weekend, The Washington Post published an article about an important public policy topic — abortion — in which almost every claim was unresearched.
The headline says it all: “If a fetus is a person, it should get child support, due process and citizenship.” Why, yes, it should: this is a commonly-held view among pro-life Americans. But the author doesn’t know that. Nor, apparently, do any of her editors.
Should child support start at conception? Yes. Fathers should not be able to coerce abortions by threatening a mother’s ability to raise her child. Surveys by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute show the primary reason women abort their pregnancies is socioeconomic deprivation.
Accordingly, pro-life activists maintain a nationwide system of private charities — such as Gabriel Network — purposed toward helping pregnant mothers get healthcare, housing, and other necessary social services, empowering these women to choose life for their babies. (RELATED: Washington Post Bungles Immigration Fact-Check)
Should a fetus get due process? Yes. Pro-life legislation placing commonsense limits on abortion provides much-needed due process in this area. President Trump, citing actual pro-choice legislators, claims they support “executing” born-alive babies. Pro-choice media like The New York Times hate President Trump’s choice of words.
But the difference between aborting innocent viable babies versus executing guilty criminals is that guilty criminals get due process whereas innocent babies do not.
In the United States, only the most heinous murderers can be executed. Rapists and other execution-worthy criminals get a pass. But first, a murderer must be indicted. Then, he gets a legal defense at trial; a jury must find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; generally, a jury must recommend the death penalty.
A judge may reject the jury’s recommendation. If he doesn’t, the murderer can pursue a direct appeal. If that doesn’t work, he can pursue “habeas corpus” review, which is essentially an appeal of the appeal and trial process. And even after multiple levels of such review, a convicted murderer can still seek clemency from a government official in the executive branch.
An innocent fetus, even one that’s viable outside the womb — a baby — gets no such protections in the United States. And pro-choice activists even lobby for ever-lower standards on abortion, ever later in pregnancy. But the United States is already a global outlier along with North Korea and China, exhibiting one of the most permissive abortion regimes on the planet.
Should you get to claim a fetus on your taxes? Yes … and that concept already exists in the law. The Washington Post’s writer doesn’t know this — even though she purports to be a law professor — and The Washington Post doesn’t know this, either. But an unborn child already qualifies for tax-privileged college savings.
Unborn children already count toward family size calculations under a variety of government programs. And you can “claim a fetus on your taxes” if it’s born in the same 12-month window as that tax year. Your unborn child is a dependent on your taxes for the entire year even if that child was born on December 31 at 11:59 p.m.
“We do not celebrate our dates of conception or the date of our sixth week in utero,” says the writer who has never met Millennial parents. But everyone who has actually planned parenthood remembers and celebrates milestones like the sixth week in utero. There’s an App for that.
My own daughter’s nickname originates with the moment when my wife and I learned her fetal development had progressed to where she reached the size of a Sweet Pea. That happens during the sixth week in utero. (RELATED: Washington Post Ignores News Of Rashida Tlaib Holocaust Remarks, Publishes Series Of Articles Defending Her)
The writer says “these questions highlight the unintended and potentially absurd consequences of sweeping abortion bans.” No, actually, these questions highlight the incompetence of pro-choice writers and editors at The Washington Post.
There is no easy or singular answer to the question of how abortion should be regulated in the United States. That is why Americans are divided over this important moral question. Both pro-choice and pro-life advocates make compelling arguments. So a media company that styles itself as an important arbiter of information should at least make a minimal effort to educate itself about the topic. Democracy dies in ignorance.
Lew Jan Olowski is former General Counsel at Gabriel Network, a charity that serves mothers and children in Maryland and Washington, DC.