Categories: Animal Rights

Senator votes AGAINST protecting aborted babies but FOR protecting kittens in animal testing

Individual images in the public domain.

This is an interesting ethical dilemma, on the face of it. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon voted against the introduction of legislation that would extend protection for babies born alive during an abortion procedure. The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require medical staff to use their best efforts to save the life of a baby that had survived an attempted abortion. The senator voted against this proposed legislation.

However, he voted for legislation to end the animal testing of kittens by the USDA to research toxoplasmosis. You may remember that there was a lot of heat generated in discussions about the USDA using kittens in this long running research program. Once the kittens had been used they were euthanised and incinerated. Hundreds of millions of American taxpayer’s money was spent. I wrote about it last year as did many others (read about it by clicking on this link). The research had been taking place for a long time and then it came to light.

“The USDA’s decision to slaughter kittens after they are used in research is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it,” Merkley said in a statement.

On the one hand we have aborted but surviving babies whose lives are precious and on the other hand we have the lives of kittens used unethically in animal research by a government agency. Sen Jeff Merkley decided that the animal testing legislation which would ban the research mentioned was worth voting for but the protection of babies in abortions should not be supported.

It’s hard to get behind the thinking in this. I suspect he would have thought that the animal testing research is clearly unethical. However, people take very polarised viewpoints about abortion. There are pro-life and pro-freedom of choice advocates. Pro-life advocates would argue that if a woman decides to have an abortion then she decides that her unborn baby will be killed.

To then create legislation that her baby should be saved during the abortion process runs counter to the woman’s wishes and the objectives of the operation. I am simply thinking aloud when I write that. It maybe the reason why this senator decided as he did.

It is almost an argument about the lives of kittens over the lives of babies. But it is not quite that, is it? That’s the key point. In abortions the mother has decided to abort her baby as allowed under the law. For medical staff to use their best efforts to save her baby if the baby has survived the abortion is a total failure from the patient’s point of view. It is fighting for the rights of the baby over the mother’s choice. It is countermanding the mother’s wishes in the interests of the baby. That may be valid and ethical but in that case abortion should be made illegal.

What do you think? I am sure a lot of people would say he’s wrong. Source of story: The Western Journal.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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