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The Collapsing of the American Skull
The parameters in which we allow ourselves to think about vital issues shrink remorselessly.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva speaks at a news conference on April 25.

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Mark Steyn

Unlike the Boston bombings, even the New York Times op-ed team can’t figure out a line on this. Better to look away, and ignore the story. America is the abortion mill of the developed world. In Western Europe, the state is yet squeamish enough to insist that the act be confined to twelve weeks (France) or 13 (Italy), with mandatory counseling (Germany), or up to 18 if approved by a government “commission” (Norway). Granted, many of these “safeguards” are pro forma and honored in the breach, but that’s preferable to America where they’re honored in the breech and the distinction between abortion and infanticide depends on whether the “doctor” gets to the baby’s skull before it’s cleared the cervix. The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney sat in on a conference call with Dr. Tracy Weitz of the University of California, San Francisco:

“When a procedure that usually involves the collapsing of the skull is done, it’s usually done when the fetus is still in the uterus, not when the fetus has been delivered. . . . So, in terms of thinking about the difference between the way abortion providers who do later abortions in the United States practice, and this particular practice, they are completely worlds apart.”

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Technically, they’re only inches apart. So what’s the big deal? The skull is collapsed in order to make it easier to clear the cervix. Once a healthy baby is out on the table and you cut his spinal column, there’s no need to suck out his brains and cave in his skull. But “Dr.” Gosnell seems to have got a kick out of it, so why not?

You can understand why American progressivism would rather avert its gaze. Out there among the abortion absolutists, they’re happy to chit-chat about the acceptable parameters of the “collapsing of the skull,” but the informed general-interest reader would rather it all stayed at the woozy, blurry “woman’s right to choose” level.

We’re collapsing our own skulls here — the parameters in which we allow ourselves to think about abortion, welfare, immigration, terrorism, Islam shrink remorselessly, not least at the congressional level. Maybe if we didn’t collapse the skulls of so many black babies in Philadelphia, we wouldn’t need to import so many excitable young Chechens. But that’s thinking outside the box, and the box is getting ever smaller, like a nice, cozy cocoon in which we’re always warm and safe. Like — what’s the word? — a womb.

Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2013 Mark Steyn



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