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Example 6 - Fetal Pain and Protecting the Vulnerable

Medical science doctors confirm that when the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.

Ronald Reagan[22]

The essence of civilization is this: The strong have a duty to protect the weak. We know that in a culture that does not protect the most dependent, the handicapped, the elderly, the unloved, or simply inconvenient become increasingly vulnerable.

George W. Bush[23]

Another red herring is the notion of fetal pain during abortion. On January 24, 2005, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas introduced legislation, Senate bill 51 (Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005 ),[24] that will punish physicians heavily should they fail to advise women of the potential for fetal pain after 20 weeks' gestation. This bogus claim dates back at least 2 decades, when Ronald Reagan observed that fetuses suffer long and agonizing pain during abortion. Unlike Hollywood actors who venture into politics, those of us who have ventured into embryology and neuroanatomy know that pain fibers do not penetrate the base of the cortex until 26 weeks. The first EEG potentials in the brain in response to stimulation in the periphery appear at 29 weeks. And all of us here know how many induced abortions occur at 29 weeks and later.

In "compassionate conservatism," the President claims that we have a societal obligation to protect the vulnerable. This is the same man who, in 6 years as governor of Texas, ordered the execution of 152 persons...more than any other governor in any other state in the history of our country. Some were mentally retarded, some had defense lawyers who slept during the trials, and 2 were 17 years old at the time of the crime.[25,26,27] Last year, the Lancet reported that US troops had killed between 90,000 and 150,000 innocent civilians in Iraq, children, the sick, the elderly.[28] Who then are the vulnerable deserving our protection?

How about Canadians? Everyone here is aware of the national shame of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. That the only high-ranking officer demoted over this wretchedness is a woman will not surprise this audience. Fewer Americans are aware of another continuing, appalling violation of human rights on the direct order of the President.

Maher Arar was born in Syria and became a Canadian citizen in 1991. He graduated from one of Canada's most prestigious universities. He, his wife, and 2 children were returning from a family vacation in Tunisia, when he was kidnapped from the Immigration and Naturalization Service line at Kennedy Airport. He was initially held in Brooklyn, then flown by private jet to Jordan and ultimately Syria.

There, he was imprisoned in an unlit cell the size of 2 telephone booths for 10 months. He was repeatedly tortured by beatings. Only when Canada inquired as to his whereabouts was he released without charges, explanation, or apology.

Compassionate conservatism means no torture. Hence, we have our friends do it for us, so that our hands are clean. Mr. Arar is one of an estimated 150 persons who have been kidnapped and tortured on the orders of the President. They were never charged, never had legal representation, and never had a trial. These abuses take our country back to the Dark Ages.[29,30]

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