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Jewish World Review /July 15, 1998 / 21 Tamuz, 5758

Don Feder

Don Feder Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe

WHAT'S THE VALUE OF A HUMAN LIFE? In Delaware, 24 to 30 months.

Last week, Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson were sentenced respectively to 2 and a half and 2 years in prison for killing their son.

The homicide occurred on Nov. 12, 1996. After Grossberg gave birth in a Newark, Del., motel room, Peterson put the child in a plastic bag and tossed it in a trash bin with other unwanted items.

The duo, in happier times
Peterson received a lighter sentence for agreeing to testify against his former girlfriend and for urging her, before the birth, to seek prenatal care or get an abortion. It really didn't matter which.

When asked by investigators why he didn't tell Grossberg's parents about the pregnancy, Peterson replied, "It's not my body; it's her body." This reflex reaction shows how thoroughly groups like Planned Parenthood have indoctrinated the young in the most illogical of pro-choice cliches.

To elicit sympathy, the defendants delivered their scripted apologies. "I'm extremely sorry for what happened to my baby," said Grossberg. "Mistakes were made that cost my son's life," Peterson added.

Note the way they emotionally distanced themselves from the crime. Not, I killed my kid. Not, I ended his young life by bashing his skull. But, mistakes were made. Isn't it a shame what happened?

Prosecutors said they decided not to try the couple for first-degree murder because they couldn't prove the baby's skull fractures were deliberately inflicted. It's more likely that they didn't want to be unduly harsh with two college kids from affluent families for what a defense attorney called a failure to "exercise good judgment."

So, they were allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter. Judge Henry duPont Ridgely could have sentenced them to 10 years in prison. Instead, with time off for good behavior, Grossberg could serve as little as 23 months, Peterson no more than 18.

The delicate treatment of Grossberg and Peterson reflects the abortion ethic percolating upward. Ultimately, the prosecutors and judge decided that the life of a baby wasn't all that important.

As if to emphasize the horror, on Friday, a Maryland appeals court ordered Latrena Pixley's 2-year-old son returned to her loving care. In 1992, Pixley pleaded guilty to the murder of her 9-week-old daughter. For this failure to exercise good judgment, she served three years of weekends in a halfway house.

Judicial leniency is a step toward the legal sanction of infanticide. The philosophical framework for this abomination is under construction. In a Nov. 2, 1997, article in The New York Times, Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at MIT, assured readers, "To a biologist, birth is as arbitrary a milestone as any other."

Humanity can only be defined by certain traits, Pinker urges. Human DNA, brainwaves and the beat of a human heart aren't enough to make the cut.

There is, Pinker writes, "a unique sequence of events that defines us as individuals and connects us to other people." These include "an ability to reflect upon ourselves as a continuous locus of consciousness" and "to form and savor plans for the future."

But how many 2-year-olds "form and savor plans for the future," other than which toy to take to bed? Perhaps only Ph.D.s have the full attributes of humanity.

The inescapable conclusion of Pinker's advocacy parallels the case for abortion. Since the fetus isn't human, the mother should be free to dispose of it for any reason. Similarly, since the newborn has not yet experienced that unique sequence of events that defines us as people, the mother should be able to look at her baby and, if she doesn't like what she sees, put it out with the trash.

Society comes down hard not on the Grossbergs, Petersons and Pixleys, but on those who try to defend human life.

Under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, protesters can get up to 2 and a half years in prison (the same sentence as Grossberg, a greater sentence than Peterson) for civil disobedience to save the lives of unborn children. Thus does our criminal-justice system designate what it perceives to be the real enemies of public order.

Respect for human life continues to erode. Mistakes were indeed made -- starting in 1973. The society that begins by accepting abortion will eventually tolerate infanticide. And even that won't be the end.

Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson are the true children of Roe vs. Wade. The character of its grandchildren does not bear contemplation.


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©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.