FIRST-PERSON: Another 'proud' moment in ACLU history

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)--An old adage observes, “If you ever find a turtle on a fence post, you can be sure that it had help getting there.” There are few who take issue with this time-tested logic. However, count the American Civil Liberties Union as one entity willing to argue the point.

WBAL-TV of Baltimore recently reported on its website that the ACLU is defending a woman who gave birth to a baby boy who had cocaine in his system.

According to the report, Kelly Cruz of Easton, Md., gave birth to a premature baby in March. When the newborn tested positive for cocaine, the 30-year old Cruz was charged with reckless endangerment for exposing her unborn child to a highly dangerous and illegal drug.

Ms. Cruz’s defense team argued for an acquittal of the charge. They asserted that there was never risk to another “person,” because a fetus doesn’t meet the definition of a person under Maryland state law.

A Talbot County judge ruled that the “person” who suffered risk was the baby after it was born. On Aug. 5, the judge found Cruz guilty and sentenced her to 2 1/2 years in prison.

A rational person would understand that the baby’s well-being was jeopardized by Cruz’s cocaine use. (Cocaine use during pregnancy leads to greater risk for miscarriage and premature birth.) Also, she may have saddled the boy with future problems. Scientists have found that cocaine exposure during fetal development may lead to later deficits in cognitive performance, information processing and attention to tasks.

A rational person would not quibble with the judge’s sentence. Not only does justice demand that Ms. Cruz be held accountable for endangering her child, but a message must be sent lest other women feel at liberty to expose their unborn children to harmful substances.

A rational person would conclude, like a turtle on a fence post, the only way cocaine can find its way into a newborn’s system is by the mother “placing” it there by ingesting the drug.

The above is what a rational person would understand. However, never let it be said that the ACLU is staffed by rational individuals. According to the WBAL-TV report, the “civil rights” organization is appealing Ms. Cruz’s conviction.

The ACLU contends that prosecuting women for their actions during pregnancy is unprecedented elsewhere in Maryland. Instead, ACLU attorneys claim that Cruz’s conviction is an attempt to create a new crime by charging women for harming their fetuses.

By appealing Ms. Cruz’s conviction, the ACLU reveals that it is nothing more than a radical secular special interest group. And one of its pet projects is the defense of unrestricted abortion on demand.

Civil rights organization? What about a baby born with the demon of cocaine coursing through its veins? What about the infant’s rights? According to the ACLU, a woman’s “right” to end her unborn child’s life trumps a pathetic drug addicted newborn.

Talk about tossing the baby out with the bath water!

If the ACLU encountered a turtle on a fence post, it would simply argue that is was not a turtle. How the reptile got there and how it will get down is irrelevant and something for someone else to worry about.

A newborn has cocaine in its system. The ACLU contends that at the time the drug was introduced, the unborn child was not a person. How the cocaine got into the baby’s blood stream (illegal drug use) is irrelevant. So are any future consequences the baby might face.

The ACLU is starting to stoop pretty low in its defense of abortion on demand. Its card carrying members must be proud.


Kelly Boggs is pastor of the Portland-area Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore. His column appears each Friday in Baptist Press.

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