As the states continue to create and enforce legislation protecting the lives of unborn babies, the abortion industry is continuously touting difficult circumstances as a justification for returning to the days of Roe v. Wade — that is, legal abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. In some cases, states have passed strong pro-life laws that do protect the majority of unborn lives, but that exclude children from protection in cases of rape, incest, and prenatal diagnosis of a fetal abnormality. These exceptions undermine the goal of the pro-life movement — to protect all life as the gift from God that it is.
It is unjust to discriminate against some unborn children because of circumstances beyond their control. No child deserves to die because of a crime they did not commit or because they may have a disability. Though the conversation about protecting unborn life without exceptions is a difficult one that requires sensitivity and compassion, it is a conversation that is immensely important to have.
It is also important to have the hard conversation of clarifying that treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion. The abortion industry has sought to conflate these two terms in order to manipulate women into believing they will not receive life-saving medical treatment if they experience an ectopic pregnancy because their states protect unborn life; this is a cruel lie that must be exposed.
Sometimes, when having a hard conversation about a sensitive topic like abortion, it can help to be armed with the true stories, experiences, and words of those who have personally faced what it means to protect life without exceptions. In the coming days, The Washington Stand will be featuring the lived experiences and wisdom of strong individuals who have carried their babies to term after receiving a prenatal diagnosis, survived an ectopic pregnancy, and been conceived through rape and incest.
We will share the experiences of one mother, Kerry, who was told her baby boy had markers for Trisomy 18. Kerry told us, “He was a gift… Nobody but God knows what your lifespan will be — we knew that Luke’s life wasn’t going to be limited by any doctor. It was between Luke and God when he passed.”
Courtney, whose doctor wanted to discuss “options” after she received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, recalled, “I told him that if he meant abortion, then there were no options — because abortion was not an option.”
Angelica, a mother who received a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis, said, “he was the sweetest little baby. I knew that no matter what happened with him, I could be grateful that I got to see his face and kiss his head, that we had all been together as a family. I knew that it was all worth it.”
Emily shared with us about her experience of tragically losing a baby through ectopic pregnancy and almost dying herself. Emily commented, “God will give you special graces as a mother because being a mother is all of that — it encompasses loss. Saying yes to life is truly being open to both. Our faith in God helps to take steps without asking why… The Lord gives, and he takes away.”
Kathy Barnette, a pro-life politician who was conceived in rape, remembered, “When I went public with my story, I felt shamed. The victim takes on the shame of the victimizer. But after talking to my mom, I realized that I had nothing to do with what happened to her, and that shame is not mine to carry.”
And Kristi, an adoptive mother and adoptee who was conceived in incest, added, “Laws are passed with these exceptions as if to offer compassion for the mother, but we cannot stop there when an innocent life is involved as well. And I question the ‘compassion’ of someone offering a woman the option to take the life of her own child.”
Each of these women’s stories has one thing in common — a commitment to the dignity of the human person regardless of the circumstances. We hope that in the coming days, you will join us in reading these stories with an open mind and heart. And we pray that at the conclusion of the series, you will be strengthened in your resolve to defend every unborn child — regardless of her circumstances.
Read part two.
Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.