Friday, July 12, 2013

Controversial Bill in Texas

Right now at our state capitol, our legislators are debating a bill in Texas that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.  I'm not much of a political person, but this particular debate has grabbed my attention.  Only an unlucky few ever lay eyes on a baby born at 23-24 weeks.  For those of us who have been so unfortunate to have had babies at this early of a gestation, we know first-hand what these babies look like.  We know the pain they feel.  We know how they fight to live.  They are not clumps of cells.  

The problem with government is that everything has to be so right or so left when the middle is the answer.  In this case, this bill is just that.  It's a middle ground.  It doesn't say you can't have an abortion; it just says do it before 5 months!  The protestors are shouting that it's their choice, their bodies.  What about the choice of that baby inside of you?  A late term abortion would be just like me walking into the NICU and suffocating my baby born at 23 weeks.  Would they argue that is my choice?  On the other hand, you have the pro-life supporters carrying crosses and bibles and pictures of aborted fetuses.  Where is the middle ground?

Except for the extremists who make uneducated arguments, you can't deny that this a life.  Does this look like a clump of cells?  These are not gross pictures of aborted fetuses; these are pictures of precious babies.  This is what a 23 week "fetus" looks like.

And those "fetuses" turn into this.  Can anyone argue that this a life?


Erika said...

Hey, Michelle. You know I love you and respect you and agree with what you're saying. Please allow me to share my perspective. I think any of us who have loved babies on the edge of viability have special insights and special responsibilities to participate in these public conversations. The overwhelming majority of abortions (surgical or chemical) are initiated in the first trimester. It's the rare exception for a woman to not know that she's pregnant and not try to act quickly and safely if she can't continue her pregnancy and give birth to the baby. I think moms who make the decision later have it much worse. Their circumstances are often complicated by factors as varied as their social-emotional-mental health, access to medical care, and their fetus' or their own physical health. I really worry about our moms who get bad news at their 20 week diagnostic ultrasounds. Families need as much information, love, support, and compassion as possible while they make terrible choices about things they never imagined they would have to consider. I worry that bills like these take away the privacy, rights, and humbling responsibilities that go with deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy - or how to continue a pregnancy under difficult circumstances. PS I will not be offended if you don't want to use your blog as a forum for my thoughts. It's your page after all. :) - Erika

Michelle said...

I appreciate your view on the issue, and I have to say that it is the best presented case opposing the bill that I have heard yet which is one of the points I'm making. Let's have intelligent discussions without being so extreme. The bill is actually 22 weeks pregnant though since the 20 week ban is from the time of conception. My heart goes out to those mothers who get terrible news at their 20 week ultrasound or to the mothers who find out that their babies will not survive outside of the womb. The bill states," The prohibition also would not apply to an abortion performed on an unborn child who had a severe fetal abnormality. HB 2 would adopt the Health and Safety Code, sec. 285.202 definition of “severe fetal abnormality” as a life-threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, is incompatible with life outside the womb, regardless of the provision of life-saving medical treatment." So, it is my understanding that these mothers would still be able to make the choice to terminate the pregnancy rather than having to give birth to a baby who will not survive. I can only imagine how horrible that decision would be. This bill still allows women who sadly find themselves in this situation to make a choice. I am not an expert on the legislation.

Jessi said...

I've been following the developments in Texas and I agree with you, Michelle. I will gladly send anyone still on the fence about fetal pain videos of Jack in the NICU at 23 weeks.

Erika said...

I really wish our legislators had talked to medical providers. Unfortunately, there is not surefire way to calculate gestational age accurately unless you conceived with IVF. We are left with having to use ultrasound measurements which are not ideal. I also hope women can get comprehensive, competent medical care without undue burden. We all want the same thing. I think. I hope. I wish the discussion of how to get there were always a civil and compassionate one. This world can be so hard. We need to be gentle with each other.

tashapork said...

I agree with you completely on the middle ground. I really feel if people would use common sense and moderation, things would be so much better in regards to all areas of government. I tend to feel that education and exposure is often more powerful than legislation. Seeing your miracles and watching the Duggars with Josie has really changed my heart about abortion especially if not very early in the game.