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Never give an inch?

A fortnight in news: abortions, borders, and money trails

Never give an inch?

From left: Nicolás Maduro, Donald Trump, and Monica Witt (Maduro: Rodrigo ABD/AP • Trump: Susan Walsh/AP • Witt: FBI)

“Never give an inch” was a patriarch’s slogan in Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion—and it now seems to be the motto of a Democratic Party sold out to abortion extremism. Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 25 showed their true colors—newborn babies turning blue—when they voted against a bill that would ban infanticide.

Sponsor Ben Sasse, R-Neb., urged “my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air.” And yet, 44 Democrats killed the bill requiring babies born after botched abortions to receive medical care. Three Democrats—Joe Manchin, Bob Casey, and Doug Jones—opposed such infanticide. One Republican, Lisa Murkowski, abstained. Two pro-life Republicans missed the vote because of flight delays, but it wouldn’t have mattered: The 53 yes votes fell seven short of the 60 needed to cut off debate so a final vote could proceed.

This time, the 44 Democrats cannot even justify their votes by saying they favor democracy and follow the wishes of their constituents, however malformed. A YouGov national survey of 1,145 American adults in February revealed that 4 out of 5 Americans think it unethical to abort a child in the third trimester. Even among Americans who call themselves “pro-choice,” 2 out of 3 don’t support third-trimester abortions— let alone killing babies born alive.

The Academy Awards on Feb. 24 should have handed out Oscars for cruelty to abortionists and to Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s socialist president, who had just aborted the delivery of trucks full of food and pharmaceuticals to starving and sick people. Refusing to give even a centimeter, his troops killed four peaceful protesters, but 150 soldiers joined the resistance, and many more are likely to follow.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, gave inches but insisted on miles of walls. Given his plan to ignore Congress, many conservatives criticized the president’s unilateral action to grab $5 billion for border barriers. They (and WORLD) had criticized Barack Obama for his unilateral action on immigration policy, but in February the GOP matched its appeasement policy on national debt (now $22 trillion and counting) with acquiescence on presidential imperialism.

Some had practical objections: Researchers at the conservative American Enterprise Institute declared, “The long-underfunded Pentagon can’t afford to have money diverted for a border wall.” Meanwhile, Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi crowed that after the next election they could declare a gun emergency and confiscate weapons. That may be too extreme, but when a future Democratic president declares a state of emergency to subvert democracy, it will be harder for Republicans to save the republic.

Smollett: Chicago Police Department via AP • Times Square: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images  Arizona: Oskar Agredano/Cronkite News

From left: Jussie Smollett; billboards in Times Square directed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Arizonans rally against a pro-abortion bill at the state Capitol (Smollett: Chicago Police Department via AP • Times Square: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images Arizona: Oskar Agredano/Cronkite News)

Money also talked in higher education, and many professors squawked when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, whose state faces a $1.6 billion deficit, proposed a 41 percent cut to the University of Alaska System. Some institutions, though, have found ways to grow despite a backlash against academic radicalism: Grab grants and contract dollars from Muslim countries. According to the Department of Education, the two top recipients just happen to be in Washington, D.C.: From 2011 to 2018 Georgetown took in $378 million and George Washington University (GWU) $101 million.

The problem, though, is that money influences curriculum, sometimes with fatal results. As journalists wondered why Monica Witt, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence specialist, allegedly committed espionage at Iran’s behest, some pointed to her master’s degree in Middle East studies at GWU. Witt apparently headed left while serving in Iraq, but The New York Times reported that her radicalization “accelerated while she was in graduate school”: When she attacked American foreign policy in class, “everyone just kind of sat and watched.”

Professors are not responsible for the wrong turns of their students, but they should demand that students back up their claims—and sometimes, like catchers in the rye, they can help them not to fall off cliffs. And who now can help Jussie Smollett, a main character on Empire, a Fox soap opera, who allegedly made up a mugging story? Some say he wanted more money, others more significance: In either case his grab for “victimhood chic” left him potentially facing a prison sentence. (But after the “assault” a surveillance camera showed Smollett still holding onto his Subway sandwich: Great product placement, guys.) 

What of the New York City unemployed who hoped to work at a new Amazon headquarters? The battle between socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who want more jobs only if government controls them and liberals who practiced crony capitalism and offered Amazon $3 billion in benefits for coming to town was something to behold. The rest of us could only gape in this remake of a King Kong vs. Godzilla movie that ended with Amazon pulling out, as if it were a massive snowflake unable to take any heat. 

Some good news emerged from the BosWash corridor. For all his ethical flaws, President Trump is becoming consistently pro-life in words and actions. He berated Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., for supporting abortion, even though Coons calls himself “a devout Presbyterian.” (Politico reported that Trump was “in his face about it … extremely worked up.”) And Trump is putting federal money where his mouth is: A new administrative rule is likely to make it much harder for Planned Parenthood to treat the U.S. Treasury as its piggy bank.

And some good news from flyover country: With all the sad news of New York and other states removing protection from babies born alive after failed abortions, it’s good that Arizonans on Feb. 20 pushed back against the trend. When Phoenix legislator Raquel Teran introduced a bill that would repeal a law requiring that physicians try to preserve the life of such a baby, 200 Arizonans showed up in front of the state Capitol to oppose the change.

Here’s where inches really mattered: Some Arizonans wore T-shirts declaring that “Baby Lives Matter” and “A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small.” The legislative committee agreed: It voted 8-0 to kill the bill.

—with Arizona reporting by Victoria Johnson

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Fri, 03/01/2019 07:35 am

    I agree with Trump that there is a crisis at our southern border and he has every right to address this issue, which our constitution allows! Congress has shirked it’s responsibility to address the issue in any substantive way, so the president is left “holding the bag”. The argument against it goes that if President Trump issues a national emergency for the wall then somehow this opens Pandora’s box for the next Democrat president to issue national emergencies for Climate Change, Gun violence, hate speech and whatever else they want to circumvent congress to get funding. There are two arguments against this: 1) the president clearly has the right to defend our borders where he is supported by the Constitution and past precedent from rulings of the court; and 2) we already know that the Democrats will use whatever power grab they can so denying President Trump the right to call a legitimate national emergency out of fear that they will in the future abuse it is shear stupidity!