It’s no secret that I’m pro-life.
I’ve blogged about it before, but just to clarify: I believe that life begins at conception, and I believe abortion is morally wrong in all instances, even in the oft-cited exceptional cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother. Rarely, if ever, is a mother’s life in such immediate danger that a baby must be aborted – delivered prematurely, yes, but not aborted. I understand that the issues are difficult ones. If my daughter were raped, you can bet that I’d be tempted to request the morning after pill for her – I might even feel desperate enough to do it – but that wouldn’t change my belief about whether or not it was morally right. It’s easy to take a stand when the answers are clear cut, but the right thing to do is still the right thing to do, not matter what the circumstances are.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I know that I’m in the minority in this country regarding first trimester abortion. Most people believe that if a baby isn’t viable, then she isn’t yet a person in need of protection. But the Texas abortion bill proposed restrictions only on abortions AFTER 20 weeks gestation. At 20 weeks gestation, women have had the ability to confirm their pregnancy for almost four months. At 20 weeks gestation, women are able to feel their baby’s kicks. At 20 weeks gestation, most women are visibly pregnant. At 20 weeks gestation, women have had ample time to decide if the baby they are carrying is wanted or not. So why is there a need for abortions after 20 weeks?
To kill the babies with Down syndrome.
Whether Ms. Davis and her supporters in Texas have connected the dots is unclear. Most likely some of them have and some of them haven’t. There is no doubt, however, that the USA Today editorial board has done so:
While some genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, can be detected with amniocentesis at 16 to 22 weeks, even then it can take two weeks to get results. Add specialists, research and time to reflect, and a 20-week ban forces women and couples to make heartrending decisions against a ticking clock.
In some cases, they’d have no opportunity at all. Some of the most serious impairments — the failure of kidneys to materialize, or the development of organs outside the body — aren’t discovered before couples at low-risk for problems have routine ultrasounds, at about 18 to 20 weeks.
The meaning couldn’t be more clear. This editorial board’s view is that 20 weeks is too soon because they want women to have extra time to kill their genetically imperfect children. I wonder if any of the members of the editorial board love a person with Down syndrome? I’d bet the answer is no. Those of us who do have learned that a person can’t – should never! – be reduced to a single aspect of his being. When the stakes are life or death, it’s even more critical to tread carefully. History has shown us that reducing people to a single, immutable characteristic can have disastrous and deadly consequences.
Following Ms. Davis’ filibuster in Texas, much was made over her “rouge red” sneakers (despite some news reports to the contrary, they were red, not pink). They were lauded in mock Amazon.com reviews as “Excellent protection for the foot and the womb!” and “Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy…” and dozens of other #StandWithWendy-themed political statements.
But do you know what I saw when I looked at those red sneakers?
I saw the blood of children like Nathan and Baby Megan. I saw a woman standing up to claim the right to destroy the principal attribute of womanhood that makes us unique from men – the ability to bear children. Ms. Davis chose to wore those red sneakers for her eleven-hour filibuster because she thought they would be more comfortable than the dress shoes she would normally wear for her senate duties. Filibustering is tough, you see – why make it tougher by wearing uncomfortable footwear? Parenthood is tough, too – why make it tougher by having a child with special needs? The parallels are striking.