Rep. Alonzo Baldonado told me he is praying for my children I haven't
had yet. "Because a child growing up with a father who doesn't care
for life...." He ended his sentence there, because the rest should
speak for itself.
Baldonado has introduced a bill here - House Bill 51 - which would
require every minor who wants an abortion to write a letter about it
to her parents, "delivered personally to the addressee by the
physician or agent (who works for the physician)." Forty-eight hours
after delivery, the procedure is legal. If a minor is in a situation
where telling the parents is a bad idea the bill allows for a district court to
sign off on the abortion without parental notification, "after an
Baldonado’s bill provides an exemption for matters of life and death. But it is completely silent about rape and incest. (Not a pleasant topic but it happens). So under Baldonado’s bill, a girl raped by her father, might need to send a letter to him notifying him that she intends to terminate the child. Or she could petition the court, which would hold a hearing and allow a judge to determine if she has to keep the child.
(A little girl seeking out help to get such a hearing would face a
daunting and awkward task, but Baldondado believes legal advocates
would make it possible for minors to get their "judicial bypass.")
I am perpetually fascinated by this debate and by abortion
legislation, because I think both sides have a point. So, I sought
Baldonado out. We talked for about 20 minutes before he had to get
back on the floor of the House, because, he was told, "Kiki needs
Baldonado is a young guy, 35ish, in his first year representing
Valencia County. He's friendly and easy to talk with, even when he's
judging me ("My heart hurts for you," he said at one point).
He is not here for his understanding of economics and taxation, he
said. He's here on a mission from God. "To save babies,” and to save America from judgment day.
He said, "If you look at history, and look at nations that have
risen to the top, none of them exist anymore. All the empires are
gone. Then there’s America. I’ve got to sit back and look and wonder
how many years America has left, and whether it will end before we
know it. In my mind that day will come. We can’t continue on the way
Society is on a bad path when it "takes God out of the equation," he
said (adding that "Darwin's fossil record is full of holes"). That
path will get darker and steeper if we continue killing the unborn.
I asked him why pro-lifers don't rally and decry civilian casualties
in war, and he said that's not a problem for him to solve. I asked him
whether there's a contradiction for Republicans, whose ethos is
limited government, telling American women how they have to act when
it comes to the most personal decision they may ever make.
On that one, he said I was only thinking about the woman. He thinks
about the child that woman is carrying, and "the honor and blessing of
carrying a life." Allowing women to kill their unborn babies, he said,
is like seeing someone who's fallen and hurting on the sidewalk and
walking away without helping.
Except that it's murder, plain and simple. He sees no shades of gray.
He repeatedly mentioned his three daughters and said, a little ominously, "if you threatened one of my daughters, I wouldn't hesitate to take you out." (As a quick
aside: I've never threatened anyone's daughter, and I look forward to
passing from this Earth some day many decades from now still able to
say same.) Baldonado thinks murdering a 2-year-old is the same as an
abortion. I pegged him down to make sure I understood that correctly.
"How dare we think it's OK to take the life of a child," he said. Then
he headed back to Kiki. I would not have put it that way, but I'm
happy to have the conversation. I'm happy Baldondado is, too.