By JEREMIAH G. DYS

Reading the first sentence of a recent story found at News.com.au leaves one perplexed: "A mother who decided to abort her son because he may have inherited a life-threatening kidney condition is overjoyed that he survived the procedure."

It is an intriguing juxtaposition. On the one hand, a decision was made to destroy a pre-born child. On the other hand, the author notes that the mother, "is overjoyed that he survived the procedure." In one sentence, a mother has gone from justifying death to embracing life.

Recently, the movie version of John Irving's novel "The Cider House Rules" was on TV. Taking a break from the extreme heat, I decided to watch a bit of it, recalling that it sparked significant controversy for the pro-death position its heroes and heroines take. But, it was the subplot that really intrigued me.

In the movie, a young lady is impregnated by her father. Facing an uncertain and frightening future, the young lady turns to our hero and asks him to "take care of" her "problem." In a scene filled with great pathos, our hero performs the abortion, seemingly resolving the "unwanted" product of incest.

The movie was set in the days before abortion-on-demand, so any abortion procedure would have likely been illegal. But consider this: our laws today would permit a father who commits incest to destroy the evidence of his crime.

Right now in Kansas, district attorney Phill Kline continues his fight to prosecute Planned Parenthood for being complicit in that very activity. Among the 107 criminal counts, Kline has indicted Planned Parenthood for concealing evidence of statutory rape and incest. Kline's prosecution is as noble as it is novel and has the abortion industry running like roaches from light.

Yet, Kline's indictment is only as effective as its reach. Current law and judicial opinions in West Virginia allow those who prey on innocent children to force their juvenile victims to suffer the added indignity of eliminating the living evidence of their crime.

While a child kept from drawing breath will never experience life-threatening disease or be the object of a pedophile, neither will they experience the joy of a loving family, the bliss of breathing the country air, or the simple pleasure of seeing the sun.

No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless. Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Using physical characteristics (like genetic "predisposition") or personal history (like who one's father is) to determine a person's value is the textbook definition of discrimination.

Like the mother who rejoiced at the failings of the abortion industry, so can our laws go from justifying death to embracing the sanctity of human life. The question is: will West Virginia stand for innocent life or continue to discriminate against it?

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

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