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‘This Does Not Sound Like Compassion To Me’: Woman Who Aborted Her Baby Downplays Bill Against Infanticide

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • A woman who aborted her baby downplayed a bill against infanticide Tuesday.
  • Patient advocate Erika Christensen testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. 
  • The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require that doctors provide care to babies who are born alive after botched abortions.

A woman who aborted her baby downplayed a bill against infanticide Tuesday and said it “does not sound like compassion.”

Patient advocate Erika Christensen testified Tuesday at a born-alive hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where she described how she and her husband flew out of New York to obtain a late-term abortion for their baby, after their doctor said the baby was unable to swallow and would not be able to breathe after birth.

She pointed out that if a born-alive act were in place at the time and she had sought to end her pregnancy by early induction, doctors would have been forced to care for her baby instead of letting the baby die.

“This does not sound like compassion to me,” she said in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday. (RELATED: ‘We’re Talking About Babies’: Ben Sasse Says Born-Alive Bill Is Not About Abortion Access)

The hearing discussed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse reintroduced in 2019 after Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam suggested that a mother and doctor can decide, after a baby is born, to let the baby die, the National Review reported. The born-alive act would require that doctors provide care to babies who are born alive after botched abortions.

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The New York patient advocate said that when she was 30 weeks pregnant, her doctor said the baby had stopped growing.

“Our doctor explained to us that the fetus wasn’t able to swallow and that if we carried to term, I’d deliver a baby who couldn’t breathe and there was no care or treatment available that would change that,” she said.

Christensen and her husband decided they would abort their baby. “But then we learned we were past New York’s gestational limit, a line established by law, decades ago, by people who had never met me,” she said.

Their doctor told them about a Colorado doctor who was a specialist in cases like Christensen’s, when the baby was past 30 weeks. Since an out-of-state abortion was not covered by their insurance, Christensen’s mother lent them funds out of her retirement fund to pay for the abortion.

“We felt incredibly lucky to have access to that money,” she explained.

“After it was all over, my husband and I felt both incredibly sad and incredibly relieved. Of course it is devastating when something you hope for, something you invest your literal life and blood into doesn’t work out,” the woman said.

“Terrible things can and do happen,” she continued.

Christensen added that “we will never be able to legislate away bad pregnancy outcomes,” but said that “we can control are the laws that punish us for them, or force us to make decisions we know are not best for us.”

She also emphasized that the born-alive bill would not “solve the problem.”

“It does not make anyone safer or health care better,” she said. “It does make terrible situations worse for grief stricken families in very specific circumstances who choose to hold their dying babies and say goodbye in peace.”

“Had I sought to end my pregnancy by early induction and this bill had been law, my doctors could have been required to commence extreme measures on a baby who could never breathe, regardless of the futility of such measures,” she added.

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