There is going to be a lot of things written today and in the coming few days about what happened down in Albuquerque (ABQ) last night. As a political junkie, I have my own opinions on the strategy and tactic side of things.
But more importantly, as a mother and pro-life activist, there is one concern that kept me up last night, long after the results trickled in.
The majority of Americans and citizens of Albuquerque say they are opposed to painful late-term abortions. Yet, how did that majority turn around and vote by a 10-percentage point margin against the ban? What messaging got to them the most?
Two words: Fetal Abnormality.
This is where the pro-life movement must take our cue. The majority of ABQ citizens thought that killing a baby in the womb, either by tearing him or her apart or by shooting a toxic substance into his or her heart, was the best way, the most compassionate way, to deal with babies who have fetal abnormalities.
We’ve got to fix this.
I would wager that most of those folks who sorrowfully voted against the ban yesterday have never heard of prenatal hospice or support group organizations like Prenatal Partners for Life. They have no idea that there are people out there, counselors, physicians, and parents who have been through these heartbreaking situations and who know there is a better way to deal with the loss or impending loss of a child.
That instead of a woman being responsible for paying for the death of her baby, she can instead carry her child to term or as long as the doctors allow. She can deliver her baby and hold him in her arms for those precious minutes, hours, or days that her child is on this earth. She is able to say goodbye without any regrets.
I’ve yet to meet a family who had a child that died shortly after birth who regretted this decision. Yet, I meet families all the time who regret their abortion and still wonder if they did the right thing by aborting their child.
Now, in some cases, mothers and fathers are told that while there is a fetal abnormality with their child, he or she will survive birth but will need special care all of his or her life. For these parents, our movement must get them connected with the appropriate support groups to meet parents of children with the same condition and see what a joy their child is. Instead of a family member saying “I’m so sorry that you are have a ‘downs’ baby’. What are you going to do?”, they should be working to make sure the parents have all they need to adjust to the new life set before them or are connected with those in the community who will eagerly adopt a child with special needs.
This is personal for me. My soon to be 5 year old son, Gunner, has cystic fibrosis – a “fetal abnormality” that those in ABQ think justified painfully killing him while he was growing inside of me. Today, I’m 38 weeks pregnant with my 3rd son, and I know there is 25% chance that he too will suffer from cystic fibrosis like his older brother. And because my husband and I opted out of any prenatal screening due to the risk of miscarriage, it’s a painful wait game right now until he is born. But we know we will ready to deal with whatever comes our way because, as anyone who every met Gunner knows, he is special and truly the light of our family. Having him was the best decision I’ve ever made – it’s not a regret.
This is what the voters of Albuquerque deserved to see before they cast their ballot yesterday. They needed to meet my son, Gunner.