By JEREMIAH G. DYS

CHARLESTON -- No one should be allowed to decide whether one innocent life is worth more than another. Not someone as poor as a college student or as powerful as a United States senator.

Jill Stanek, a nurse-turned-blogger, can describe this in real terms. She should know. If you go to her Web site, you can hear her tell of how she held a discarded Down Syndrome baby for 45 minutes as the child lay dying in her arms, the baby's undeveloped lungs finally succumbing to an intended demise.

But this is as personal for you as it is for Ms. Stanek because West Virginia law permits this passive infanticide.

In other words, it is perfectly legal for a doctor in West Virginia, upon failing to abort a pre-born child, to allow birth and then choose not to render aid. Not oxygen. Not CPR. Indeed, not even a blanket for warmth.

This is what Margaret Chapman and WV Free might call, "reproductive rights."

During the recent forum hosted by Pastor Rick Warren at his California church, he asked each of the candidates for president a rather straightforward question: "At what point is a baby entitled to human rights?"

Sen. McCain promptly answered, "At the moment of conception." Sen. Obama's answer took a little longer: "I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."

While serving in the Illinois state Senate, Sen. Obama voted against legislation that would protect babies who survived botched abortions, even though an identical piece of legislation in the U.S. Senate passed unanimously -– unopposed even by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Sen. Obama never did answer when a baby receives human rights. Perhaps, in his mind, they never do. But, according to his political platform, he is in favor of extending human rights based upon one's actual or pretend sexual orientation. In other words, he would extend human rights protections to a man feigning the role of a woman but apparently would not extend the same courtesy to an innocent child no bigger than your hand – and neither would the law of West Virginia.

Thankfully, in this democratic republic, you and I are above every elected official's pay grade and, with our vote, can downgrade their pay, if we so choose. Remind your federal and state leaders that you support human rights by opposing passive infanticide.

Deciding which innocent life is of more value is not as difficult as Sen. Obama might suggest. You see, every innocent life is priceless. But, a person's potential for human rights only matters if he or she is given an opportunity to reach it. If our leaders will not recognize human rights for children in the womb, there's no reason to trust them to do so when children are outside of it.

Dys is the president and general counsel of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, a servant organization advocating for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom, www.familypolicywv.com.

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