In 2010 my unborn daughter was diagnosed with a lethal birth anomaly. We continued our pregnancy, much to the consternation of our physicians, and she lived for almost two hours after birth.
As the mother of a child who was diagnosed in the womb with a life limiting condition, I take a keen interest in abortion legislation which seeks to destroy protections for the most vulnerable members of our society like my daughter Beatrix.
This includes international legislation like that which was roundly defeated in The Republic of Ireland earlier this week. Socialist politician Clare Daly proposed a bill that would legalize terminating pregnancies in which a lethal birth defect had been detected. These laws have often been used to weaken limitations on abortion overall — removing the focus from the child involved, who has a right to life no matter how short that life will be, and instead wrongfully focusing solely on the woman carrying the child.
During the proceedings we heard the stories of women “compelled” to leave the Republic of Ireland to end their children’s lives. “Forced” to have their very personal medical procedures preformed in a foreign land, these women were not surrounded by their friends and family as they allegedly “deserved” to be.
Not once did we hear about the value of the child whose life hung in the balance as an individual, except in terms of how the parent quantified that value. Not once did we hear about the humanity of the child involved, except in terms of how the expectant mother viewed the situation. This is disturbing to me, as the mother of one of these fragile children.
Unfortunately, the attitude that a child’s worth before birth is dependent upon a mother’s judgement is one shared by many Americans today. When you add a lethal birth defect (or a sexual assault) to the mix, then even many pro-life persons have trouble properly focusing on the issue of the child’s humanity.
This was abundantly evident last month when our own House of Representatives scuttled a pain-capable abortion prohibition because of the lack of “protections” for women who have become pregnant as a result of sexual assault.
This bill was widely viewed as one of the most significant pieces of pro-life legislation since the Roe v. Wade decision, was supported by the majority of Americans, and was considered to be an easy win for House Republicans, most of whom ran on a pro-life ticket. The votes were there. It was set to be passed on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
It fell fast and hard over one small item. A rape exception.
Like lethal fetal anomalies, sexual assault is a bullet point that pro-choice activists like to use when trying to defeat pro-life legislation. It’s their trump card, and it’s the last life breath of a movement that has been slowly dying for decades.
Either one of these exceptions can be called up at will when any pro-life legislation is winning support, and portrayed in such a way that progress in terms of pro-life legislation seems “anti-woman.” They sway public opinion with one sided emotional stories — never sharing the side of parents who love their children conceived in rape or carried to birth, and because pro-life legislators fail to articulate a strong defense of all life. They throw out images of women suffering under the undue tension of these negatively affected pregnancies, and like the arguments by Clare Daly, they never address the humanity or worth of the baby involved.
Because of the overwhelmingly negative association with carrying to birth, based on the inappropriately focused pro-choice narrative, parents are very rarely told of the benefits of continuing their pregnancies. This creates a dynamic where women are pressured into ending pregnancies with affected babies, thus denying families the opportunity to parent their child for the short life that they will have. During my own pregnancy with Beatrix, we faced doctors who unapologetically pushed termination even after we had clearly stated that we were not interested in ending her life.
Unlike our own lawmakers, the Dáil seems to understand what is at stake, that the deceptively-named “Protection of Life” abortion bill has everything to do with destroying life. The Irish legislators understand that a woman facing a pregnancy in which a lethal diagnosis has been made is not the only patient involved in the situation, that the child involved has the right to protection. No person should have the right to decide when another person should die, based on the circumstances of their conception.
As pro-life Americans, it would behoove us to remember that the reason we are called “pro-life” is our unshakeable belief that all life is sacred — even for those whose lives may not last long. In order to continue the steady progress which has been made, we must remember that the baby in the photo above is equally as important as the women whom Clare Daly was purportedly trying to “save”.
LifeNews Note: Sarah Connors is a wife, mother of 4, step-mother of 2, and pro-life blogger for Save The 1. She’s also the founder of limbbodywallcomplex.net, a pro-life, diagnosis specific website which supports parents who continue their pregnancy after receiving the same lethal diagnosis which took her daughter, Beatrix Elizabeth. She blogs on grief and loss at www.shebringsjoy.com.