The New York Times editorial board took a stand against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (PCUCPA) in a January 28 editorial warning Democrats in the Senate to vote against it.
The Democrats complied. Last night, by a 51-46 vote, the bill failed to make it out of the debate to the floor for a final vote.
If you want to know why U.S. Senators would decline to offer protection to the youngest members of the human family at an age when many are surviving premature birth and life outside the womb, just follow the thinking put forth in the NYT editorial, The Gathering Threat to Abortion Rights.
Firstly, the editors chose to label the legislation the “so-called PCUCPA,” a backhanded way of diminishing the basis for the proposed law. This is not an actual argument against the evidence that unborn children are capable of pain at 20 weeks, just a disrespectful dismissal of those advancing the idea.
In the same sentence, the editors verbally aborted the ones the law seeks to protect by characterizing the law as “part of a long-term legislative effort by the anti-abortion movement to gut Roe v. Wade and severely curtail abortion access nationwide.” Again, this opinion neither describes nor illuminates the contents and purpose of the law: to protect the youngest members of the human family from the cruel and unusual punishment of death by the painful 20-week abortion methods of dismemberment via D&E or digoxin injections, which trigger a fatal heart attack. If you have tragically suffered a heart attack or the loss of a limb, a political discussion of the pain, as if that were the sole problem you faced, can only add to your distress.
Shouldn’t our most basic humanity restrain us from these practices of dismembering and poisoning one another? If in some demented dystopia we resorted to these practices for other populations beyond the unborn, would administering anesthesia to the victims mitigate the cost to our souls for our barbarism?
No, the NY Times editors steadfastly refused to turn their attention to the humanity of the fetus as they warned of the “gathering threat” to abortion rights. They asserted that women need abortions after 20 weeks due to fetal anomalies, concern over maternal health and barriers to access for poor women, before throwing in ad hominem assaults on the character of ethically challenged pro-life legislators.
I wish they would consider presenting just one story to balance their abortion advocacy: Washington State Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler.
At her 20-week scan, she was told her pregnancy was without hope. Her baby had no kidneys. She would miscarry or the baby would be unable to breathe and suffocate upon birth. She was told to abort immediately. A second doctor concurred and offered to terminate the pregnancy then and there.
But, according to a report in LifeSiteNews, Herrera Beutler told the crowd at the 2018 March for Life:
“What if God would do a miracle?” she asked. “What if a doctor was willing to try something new? What if we could get saline infusions in utero to mimic amniotic fluid to the baby could develop even without kidneys? What if … ”
“We would never have known if we hadn’t tried,” she told the crowd.
(Note to New York Times assignment editors: great stories are happening at the longest running pro-life rally in our nation’s history. You should send more reporters next year.)
Potter’s Syndrome, the affliction of Jaime’s baby, is considered 100 percent fatal. The family posted on Facebook how they were told dialysis and a transplant were not options. But Herrera Beutler found a team of doctors willing to try amnioinfusion. That treatment helped the baby girl’s lungs develop. Then, dialysis helped her live until a kidney transplant from her father could be performed. Today, Abigail is a healthy, happy 4-year-old.
In sharing her story at the march, Herrera Beutler noted that the doctors who advocated for abortion weren’t bad people, they were simply wrong. She asked — what if others have been wrong as well?
She went on to say:
“What if together we can break new ground and find new treatments that will benefit more than just our own families? What if the baby won’t have that significant condition or medical deficiency? Or even if she does, what if every baby was given at least a shot to reach their true potential?”
She gave credit to God for the miracle, encouraging others in God’s love no matter how difficult their circumstances may be.
The New York Times’ editors correctly noted that late-term abortions account for only 1 percent of all abortions, and often due to conditions (like baby Abigail’s) involving an unexpected diagnosis for a very wanted child.
But the link NYT provided indicating reliance on abortion advocates alone to provide context for these cases led the editors to exactly the wrong conclusion. Our deepest challenges, including all unexpected pregnancies, present the opportunity for our greatest triumphs of scientific innovation, human creativity, and practicing the depth and breadth of our faith. Abortion advocates may not be bad people, but they are wrong.
Where there is life, there is hope.
Life begins at conception according to the science of embryology. By focusing on women’s abortion rights to the exclusion of the natural rights of their children before their births, they are missing the miracles unfolding all around us.
Not every story has a triumphant ending featuring a healthy toddler. But having the faith, and leaning on one’s faith community, to help give every child a fighting chance, makes us a better nation. It leads to better outcomes in the grieving process for those parents who must say goodbye too soon.
Abortion promises to short-circuit the pain of an unexpected pregnancy. As one who chose it for that very reason, I can tell you it is a flawed strategy. We can never ease our own suffering at the expense of another and expect to escape with a clear conscience—unless somehow our hearts are so hard that we’re no longer capable of the pain born of empathy and compassion for those suffering the injustice of dying simply because they are incapable of defending their own lives.
The cynic in me is disappointed about the failure of this important bill, but not surprised. Once you deny another human being the right to be human, who cares about whether or not they can feel pain?
Kim Ketola is the host and executive producer of Cradle My Heart Today, a companion to her award-winning book Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion. Kim’s radio work earned her induction into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2013. Cradle My Heart is a safe space for listeners to share stories and connect with others who are finding God’s love—especially during unintended pregnancy and after abortion.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.