On October 3rd the House passed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A similar bill passed in 2015, but this year’s passing seems a bit different. I don’t pretend to know if the Senate will follow in line, but I believe we are closer than ever at seeing a true change in the mindset of the American people.
Before I analyze what this passage means I think it is important to provide some context. If you choose to, you can find article after article this week from abortion proponents calling foul. They see the writing on the wall. They can sense a trajectory change. A trajectory change, mind you, that will take money out of their pockets.
Much of their dismay at this passage comes from untruths. The abortion lobby has spent the week calling for more “safe and legal” abortions. They claim that this bill would harm women that need to make a decision based on health of the baby or health of the mother. They continue to spout the same tired talking points no matter how dishonest they may be.
The reality is far different than what the abortion lobby would have you believe. This bill provides exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. This bill does not penalize a woman seeking to acquire an abortion after 20 weeks. The penalties are instead placed on a doctor that would perform said abortion.
This is the information you will not read from abortion proponents. I am always amazed at the abortion lobby when I find myself in a debate or exchange with them on the issue of life. I am unapologetically pro-life in every case. When I make this argument I am usually faced with this common rebuttal; “what about rape, incest and life of the mother?” I have heard this same argument for years.
This argument, of course, is a false narrative. The goal of the abortion lobby is not to have abortion just in those minority of cases where rape, incest, and life of the mother is involved. This was proven with the passage of the 20 week ban as the exceptions were present, but the votes of the abortion lobby were absent. Who is compromising here? Who is seeking middle ground?
The author of this bill allowed for those exceptions and the abortion lobby continues to be unhappy. The only ones honestly seeking to find common ground are the pro-lifers as they incrementally seek to restrict abortion. These incremental efforts follow along the path of incremental science.
It is stunning to me that those that stand for life are often labeled as science deniers. Yet, we are the ones celebrating the science. Life begins at conception. A baby inside the womb has a heartbeat one day after fertilization. I could continue this line of thought, but you get the point. The baby continues to develop throughout the pregnancy, but at no point is it less or more human. Science has proven this to be the case and the recent gift of ultrasound, not commonly used in the United States until well into the 1970s, has now provided us a window to witness the development of a baby up-close and personal.
Now, fast forward to a baby at 20 weeks in the womb and no rational and honest person can argue this baby is not a human. From 18 to 20 weeks, movement and breathing activity start to fall into a rhythm that continues throughout life. At 20 weeks the baby’s cochlea has completely formed in the inner ear and now the baby can respond to a melody of sounds. This child has its own DNA, blood type, and fingerprints at this point in development as well.
These are not arbitrary truths. These truths should be taken into account when our leaders are looking at policies that can protect the most vulnerable in our society.
My passion for life is not based in hate or disgust toward women, healthcare, or choice. This passion of mine does not come from a disdain of science. I am passionate about life and the celebration of it because denying life has value in the womb ultimately denies the value of life as a whole.
Many may not be prepared to see abortion as a footnote in history, but the majority can at least agree that a 20 week ban is both logical and rational. We are the greatest and most advanced nation this world has ever seen, yet we continue to find company with the likes of North Korea when it comes to abortion. It is time we move forward and truly decide to stand for the least of these. I applaud the leaders in the House, and I pray for those in the Senate to answer the call and provide the protection needed for the millions lost every year to abortion.
posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center