Former HEW Secretary Calls Partial Birth Abortions 'Infanticide'

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Portsmouth, NH ( - Former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Margaret Heckler on Saturday accused the news media of promoting the issue of life as "a woman's issue" and then insisted, "the molding of public opinion on this issue has produced a mentality where respect for life is diminished."

Heckler, appointed to the HEW spot by former President Ronald Reagan, also served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she represented a Massachusetts district. The former HEW chief made her remarks during a communion breakfast sponsored by Women Affirming Life, held at a local hotel-conference center. Women Affirming Life, founded in Boston in 1990, is a national network of Catholic women, dedicated to upholding the sanctity of life from conception to death.

In her address, titled "Bringing About a Culture of Life," Heckler said, "The right to life is not a woman's issue. The Lord is the giver of life and only he can make choices about life. It is always a reward to have life...only the Lord gives and takes life."

Heckler also linked violence among children and school-based acts of violence, to the easy availability of abortion, telling the gathering, "When you have violence in the womb, your permitting violence in the whole we are at our lowest position...we have no sense of values...we have lost our moral is worse than I have ever seen."

But Heckler saved her harshest criticism for the use of late term or partial birth abortions, which she characterized as " infanticide," adding "and it's acceptable in Washington, DC."

Faulting the Clinton Administration for its continued veto of partial birth abortion bans, passed by the Republican controlled Congress, Heckler, a former ambassador to Ireland, said, "We are now facing the abomination of abominations. We're seeing absolute proof of trafficking in the sale of fetal body parts." Heckler noted the FBI will soon begin an investigation of the practice, which she said is done under the eye of Planned Parenthood clinics.

Heckler cited testimony offered by a "fetal parts retrieval technician," from Overland, Kansas, whose work involves separating fetus body parts, at a local Planned Parenthood Clinic, for use in medical research. "Would we allow our special pets to experience that type of dissection...the tolerance for barbarism is's the ultimate and consummate disrespect for human life...this is not the subject of conjecture. This is fact."

Heckler urged her audience to join forces with a newly created group, "Women Against the Killing and Exploitation of Unborn Persons," or WAKEUP and added, "It's the women who have the most authority to combat are the ones who must be heard in the debate."

Heckler wondered aloud why pro-life women "are not heard," while pro-choice women are "self anointed" when it comes to life issues. Urging the gathering to remain involved in the debate, she added, "We need to return to a set of standards our constitution guarantees...including putting God back into America."

Heckler said she had cast "hundreds of votes for life," as a member of Congress, but today, "the number of abortions is far greater...millions and millions of lives have been lost."