Jewish World Review March 22, 2004 / 29 Adar, 5764

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NOW's wrong on mom | This Melissa Ann Rowland case in Utah is a fascinating window on gender politics in America. Here we have a depraved woman who has badly injured two babies and possibly murdered another one, yet the National Organization for Women (NOW) is portraying her as the victim.

The 28-year-old Rowland is a horror. A few years ago, she punched her 2-year-old daughter in the face for taking a candy bar in a store. Pennsylvania social services placed the child in foster care.

Then, last Jan. 2, a doctor at a Salt Lake City hospital told Rowland she had to have an emergency C-section if she wanted to save the life of one of the twins she was carrying. Rowland refused, reportedly telling hospital personnel she didn't want "scars."

Eleven days later, Rowland consented to the C-section, and one of the babies was born dead. An autopsy showed that the baby would have lived had the C-section been performed when the doctor ordered it. The other twin was born with alcohol and cocaine in her bloodstream.

Rowland's estranged husband, the father of the babies, told a television station that the scar excuse was a ruse, that Rowland simply didn't want doctors to know she was using cocaine during her pregnancy.

Prosecutors in Utah have now charged Rowland with first-degree murder, citing "depraved indifference to human life." Currently, she is in prison being held on $300,000 bail.

Enter NOW, perhaps the most radicalized women's group in the history of this country. A few days ago, it issued a press release stating that Rowland's incarceration "is absolutely inhumane treatment." NOW President Kim Gandy opined: "Our legal system recognizes every person's bodily integrity and the right to make your own medical decisions."

You might expect NOW to take an extreme position like this because it has quite a track record. Remember NOW's Texas branch raised money for the defense of Andrea Yates, who was subsequently convicted of killing her five children. NOW claimed she was the victim of "post-partum depression."

But here's the interesting thing about Ms. Gandy's argument in the Rowland case; she claims every person has "bodily integrity." OK, fine. So doesn't that description fit a viable baby in the womb? A child who can be birthed and live on its own? Apparently not, in Ms. Gandy's view.

The truth is that NOW and other misguided groups do not believe any unborn child has rights. According to those people, a woman can do whatever she wants during her pregnancy, and even afterward, as NOW's Yates defense proves, and not be held accountable.

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It is beyond me how any human being can devalue life in this manner. There is no question that Melissa Ann Rowland damaged her twins in the extreme. Yet NOW opposes the prosecution.

Fortunately, most Americans reject this kind of barbarity and want protections for babies. Last November, Congress overwhelmingly passed a ban on partial birth abortion, and it is the law of the land. That hasn't stopped the constitutional challenges, but it does give comfort to those who believe America has lost all moral courage. Melissa Ann Rowland is a danger to defenseless children. NOW really doesn't care much about that. To them, Rowland is the person whose rights are being violated. Because unborn babies really aren't people at all.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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