Many people who consider themselves pro-life, from political leaders to “average Joes,” hold to a “pro-life with exceptions” position. But in truth, this position is untenable, because it holds that there are certain human beings who are acceptable to kill under certain circumstances. Pro-life legislation frequently includes this false logic when it allows for exceptions to protections for preborn children of any gestational age. This means that in many cases, in states where abortion is illegal after a determined point in pregnancy, babies who meet certain “criteria” can still legally be killed. This usually includes preborn children who have received a poor diagnosis, preborn children who have been conceived in rape or incest, and preborn children whose mothers are facing health battles.
She’s either human or she’s not
Science is clear that from the moment of fertilization, a preborn human being is a human being. Whether a human zygote, an embryo, or a fetus, each is a unique human being living out her current stage of development. There is nothing in embryology textbooks that states only children conceived in loving marriages are human and worthy of protection from abortion. There is nothing that says children with medical conditions are not human. There is nothing that says a mother’s health determines her preborn baby’s humanity. There are no exceptions. Preborn children are either human or they’re not — and science proves they are.
Children with a prenatal diagnosis
When parents learn their child has been diagnosed prenatally with a health condition, they are often immediately advised to abort. Sometimes they are given just hours to make the decision, leaving absolutely no time to research their child’s diagnosis or talk to a family who has welcomed a child with the same condition. Out of complete fear, these parents are pushed into choosing abortion and as a result, suffer from the effects of abortion trauma.
A study from Duke University showed that women who chose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of an “incompatible with life” condition reported “significantly more despair, avoidance, and depression than women who continued the pregnancy.” These parents know that they voluntarily ended the life of their living children. Comparatively, parents who carry the baby to term report feeling more emotionally prepared for the child’s death, and they have a sense of gratitude and peace about their child’s life.
It’s an act of eugenics to abort children because they have been diagnosed with a disability. Even health conditions that are considered to be fatal by doctors might not actually be fatal. Children with Trisomy 18 are constantly proving doctors wrong and are thriving under proper medical care. Some babies are often misdiagnosed in the womb and others may live a long life despite doctors’ predictions. A child’s diagnosis does not delete their humanity and these children deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. Abortion does not allow this.
Though abortion advocates will argue that children facing a prenatal diagnosis should be aborted in order to avoid their own suffering, this is not medically accurate or honest. Abortion is a violent procedure that causes suffering to these children who are often diagnosed around 20 weeks and are capable of feeling pain. D&E dismemberment abortion is the most common second-trimester abortion procedure and the baby is killed when her arms and legs are torn from her body. She is then decapitated and her skull crushed. This is not an act of compassion. This is purposeful and brutal killing.
“All babies deserve to be born and show compassion, treated with dignity and respect and supported even through the dying process,” said neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb. “A society’s morality and ethics is only as strong as its treatment of its sickest, smallest, and most vulnerable members.”
Children conceived in rape and incest
Children conceived in rape are no less human than children who are conceived in loving, non-violent relationships. Women suffer violence and injustice when raped and their assailants should be punished accordingly. If a woman becomes pregnant through rape or incest, abortion will not undo the pain and violence of the rape but will subject the woman and her child to more violence. Many women who have undergone abortions after rape say that the abortion was worse than the rape and that the abortion did not help them heal from the rape in any way. Instead, they then had two tragedies and trauma to overcome.
“I was told that, ‘If you just abort, everything will be OK, and you’ll forget. If you just abort, then you can move on,'” said Jennifer Christie, who became pregnant through rape. “There is no forgetting. No woman is ever going to forget what happened to her. I’d be told so many times that, ‘If you just had an abortion you won’t always have this reminder hanging over your head. This reminder.’ Is my son a reminder? He absolutely is. My son is a reminder, every day that as women we can rise above our circumstances. My son is a reminder that love is always stronger than hate, and that who we are as human beings is not determined by how we were conceived.”
Rapists don’t receive the death penalty, yet society wants innocent children who are conceived in rape to receive that punishment. However, these children are just as human as any other child and deserve the same protection from abortion.
Children of women whose health is at risk
Abortion advocates claim that abortion is necessary to save the lives and health of women facing high-risk pregnancies. This is untrue. According to Kolb and thousands of doctors, there is no medical reason, no matter how high-risk the pregnancy is, that a preborn child should be directly and intentionally killed through abortion. If the mother’s life is truly in jeopardy and the pregnancy must end, early delivery will allow doctors to save the mother’s life and attempt to save the baby’s as well. This is a preterm delivery and not an abortion.
Children born as young as 21 weeks can and do survive, and an emergency C-section can be performed in less than an hour while a late-term abortion after 24 weeks — when most life-threatening pregnancy complications occur — takes two to three days to complete. This increases the risks to the mother.
In addition, medication treatments given to fight cancer may cause miscarriage, but this is not an abortion. Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is also not an abortion. These situations are heartbreaking, but their mothers did not choose to deliberately end the lives of their children. Mothers deserve to know that they don’t have to choose to end their child’s life in order to preserve their own. Women have the right to fight for their children’s lives along with their own.
Every preborn child, despite the circumstances of his or her conception or the situations that have unfolded in his or her life, deserves the right to life. Children are not disposable for any reason, and abortion is never necessary. Being “pro-life with exceptions” may be a somewhat common position, but it isn’t logical… and it isn’t actually pro-life.
Editor’s Note: Live Action works to maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Live Action has looked into key elements of Ms. Christie’s testimony and personal story and has found them to be credible.