Curbing abortion, keeping Mother’s Day sustainable

    A nurse is shown measuring a preemie. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

    A nurse is shown measuring a preemie. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

    Thank goodness we still celebrate Mother’s Day, since legal abortion creates such confusion about maternity. Abortion advocates are so mixed up that they refer to pregnancy as a “reproductive health” issue, as if motherhood in its earliest stages is some sort of a disease.

    No doubt, politicians are confused about the issue of abortion, too. In March both major political parties’ presidential primary frontrunners made outrageous remarks about abortion. To the revulsion of pro-life advocates, Republican Donald Trump said if abortions were made illegal, then women should be punished for having them.

    Humanity of the unborn

    In fact, pro-life activists consider abortion a tragedy for mother and child. “The pro-life movement’s job is to recognize the humanity of the child and to support the mother,” said the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia‘s Director Edel Finnegan. “More than anyone else, the mother instinctively recognizes the humanity of her unborn child.”

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    To the horror of abortion advocates, Democrat Hillary Clinton clearly recognized the humanity of the unborn. “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,” Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Abortion advocates, and abortion-friendly politicians like Clinton, have long avoided using words like “person,” baby or “child” in reference to the unborn.

    Even as Trump and Clinton showed their true colors on abortion, Pennsylvania Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren County, sponsored legislation addressing other aspects of the issue.

    If by some miracle Rapp’s Pennsylvania House Bill 1948 passes, it would ban a type of dilation-and-extraction, or D&E, procedure known as “dismemberment abortion.” The National Right to Life Committee reports that D&E is the most prevalent method of second-trimester (from 13 to 27 weeks) abortion, according to the 2009 National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook. Dismemberment abortion is particularly gruesome and painful for the unborn person. The name suits the procedure and it is hard to imagine anyone defending such cruelty.

    Passage of HB 1948 would also reduce Pennsylvania’s legal limit for late-term abortions from six months or 24 weeks to 20 weeks. When Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act first passed in 1989, 24 weeks gestation was considered the point where a baby born prematurely might be viable and survive outside of his or her mother’s womb.

    Not worth saving?

    Why change this marker of fetal viability? Major advances in neonatal medicine now allow some premature babies to survive if born before 24 weeks gestation. The United States’ smallest surviving and thriving preemie is Amillia Taylor of Miami. Amillia was born at 21 weeks and six days in 2006. Germany’s Baby Frieda was born at 21 weeks and five days in 2011. Canadian James Elgin Gill was born at 21 weeks and five days back in 1988.

    Not only that, today, fetal surgeons perform in utero surgery on unborn boys and girls who are diagnosed with life-challenging conditions like spina bifida or congenital heart disease.

    Here again, abortion confuses us. In our hospitals, doctors and nurses on one ward do everything they can to save preemies’ lives, or improve unborn infants’ health, even as other doctors and nurses abort unborn babies of the same gestational age in another ward.

    We’re even muddled in celebrating Mother’s Day. Once a year, we applaud motherhood. The rest of the year we terminate it in more than one million abortions annually. Those numbers of lost maternity and missing children add up. There have been more than 57 million American abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion in 1973.

    If motherhood is as sacred as we say on Mother’s Day, why not always treat it that way?

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