Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Heartbeat Bill

There is a new Abortion Law being proposed in the State of Ohio. It is known as the "heartbeat Bill" and if voted in would be one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. The law would prohibit women from ending pregnancies at the first detectable heartbeat, which can occur as early as 18 days after conception. Hearing this news and thinking about it brings up such an internal conflict for me. I, a person who never even thought about abortion. Not for, not against, rather impartial. The topic was rarely brought up, so I rarely thought of it. Now as a mother, as a mother of babies who have died, as a mother who has "induced" a pregnancy at 21 weeks at the advice of a doctor, as the mother of a child whose birthmother chose to carry him and to let him go, I am so torn on this matter!!
The biggest part of me thinks it is amazing. I am so saddened by people thinking that babies are "disposable". The number of children in this country born with Down Syndrome has dropped drastically. People are choosing not to carry these babies, because they have Trisomy 21. I can't tell you how much I would have given to have Emma or Connor have Down Syndrome. I actually prayed for that when I was pregnant with Connor. But, alas they had Anencephaly. With the Quad Screening available at 16 weeks gestation, there are many things found that cause parents to choose to terminate. Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, Spina bifida, Potters Syndrome, Heart Defects, and so many more. I have to say that most people who have babies with Anencephaly terminate their pregnancies. The things we are told in the medical world lead us to the decisions that seem the best at the time. According to this new proposed law, that would not be an option. Anencephaly cannot be diagnosed until at least 11 weeks, so where would that leave these parents? Would they be forced to carry their dying babies to term? Would there be some underwritten law within the law that allows for termination if the child cannot survive, or if medically necessary for the mother's survival.
Most of the time when people think of abortion they think of young girls getting pregnant and not wanting the baby. They go to planned parenthood and end the pregnancy. This is true for a lot of the cases. But, there are also cases like mine. Where there is a mom and a dad who want the baby more than anything, but the baby is sick and dying, the parents are distraught and unsure of what to do and this is the path they go down. Having been through a pregnancy both ways, I am now an advocate for carrying to term. If there is ever a mom in a similar situation to mine I always share my story and try to offer advice, but it is always her choice. Not everyone can carry a dying child to term, not everyone has been through the things that I have to realize I could. Most of the moms I know who have carried to term have lost a baby early in another pregnancy, either to abortion or another factor. That is part of the reason why we carried to term, we learned the hard way.
I also question how selective reduction would be handled. In cases of multiples, sometimes Doctors advise that 1 or more of the fetuses be taken to help ensure the health of the others. Would this still be something that could be done? I am sure all of these things will come into question as this proposal comes into law, but so far 40 of the 99 representatives have signed off on it. That is a lot of people. I wonder how many of those 40 have children, how many of them have lost a child to a birth defect, how many of them have a child with a special need. I wonder how many of them were raised Catholic or with a strict Christian background. There are so many things that bring us to have the beliefs we have as adults, I just hope that whatever comes of this bill they think of every parent in every situation before it is made official.


  1. I applaud you for your honest post. I admit I am dyed in the wool anti abortion. I consider myself a survivor of an abortion culture b/c my mother was advised by every doctor she saw to abort me. I admire your willingness to put your mixed feelings out there knowing that so many people feel so passionately on either side.

    From what I understand, there are cases where ending the life of the child is okay. Not killing the child actively, but, for example, removing a cancer-ridden uterus where the child dies as a result is not morally wrong. I would be surprised if these cases are not excluded from the bill.

  2. I've been keeping an eye on the bill and have wondered if it will pass. I'm not sure how I really feel about it. With abortion it just isn't black and white. There are a lot of gray areas.