Rape Exception Amendment Defeated, Children With Fetal Anomalies Thrown Under The Bus

On Thursday, February 13th, the Mississippi House passed HB 1400 — a 20 week abortion ban known at the Preborn Pain Act, with an overwhelming vote of 89-22. A rape-incest exception amendment was introduced by Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, but was defeated by a vote of 73-40. So that’s 73 state reps in Mississippi who value the lives of people like me who were conceived in rape — something to celebrate, and 16 otherwise pro-life members who apparently still need an encounter with someone who was conceived in rape. At first glance, I cheered because many of these fetal pain bills exclude children conceived in rape from protection, such as the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which passed the House last June, but stands no chance of passing the Senate this session, and certainly has no chance of becoming law any time soon because the President would never sign it. Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia introduced the rape-incest exception, and was inexplicably rewarded for doing so with a 100% approval rating from NRLC. The rape exception in the federal bill was particularly painful to me, because it makes it sound like we are such mutants that we’re incapable of feeling pain like everyone else, or that it’s just absolutely irrelevant that innocent children conceived in rape feel pain — “They can just suffer for all we care!” A month later,Texas passed a similar bill in July and I celebrated the fact that children conceived in rape were not targeted in that piece of legislation, though dismayed to learn that children with fetal anomalies were excluded from protection, as they were in the Georgia bill, the Louisiana bill, and now the Mississippi bill — all very conservative pro-life states. Don’t the legislators realize that most late-term abortions are done for this reason? Jennifer Morbelli died last year after Leroy Carhart performed a late-term abortion, which she sought because she was told her baby had fetal anomalies.
Some of my pro-life friends criticized my opposition of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and, more recently, the federal No Taxes For Abortion Act, which also had a rape exception. These friends said things like, “You can’t throw a baby under the bus who is already under there.” But I explained that a rescue bus is being pulled up and everyone loaded, when suddenly, the bus driver begins to complain that he’s offended because there are rape-conceived babies on the bus, and that he’s not leaving the abortion clinic depot until they are kicked off. Unruly crowds are gathering with the media outside the bus, chanting “Kick them off! Kick them off!” The bus organizers — national pro-life groups — give in and tell all of the rape-conceived kids that they’re going to have to get off the rescue bus. They inevitably are run over and killed. To make matters worse, they give a hefty tip to the discriminating bus driver in the way of a 100% approval rating and PAC endorsements. And that’s how the children conceived in rape end up being thrown under the bus — this was no accident.
The next argument from my pro-life friends is that excluding rape-conceived children is no different than excluding pre-born children under 20 weeks. Though I don’t particularly like these bills because I don’t think our rights as persons should be related to whether we feel pain or not (would anesthesia being administered really satisfy any of us?), I do, however, see a tremendous difference here. After all, preborn children under 20 weeks are not systematically targeted for abortion in the same way that children conceived in rape and incest are. We just don’t see parental notification bills “except in the case of preborn children under 20 weeks,” or “only for preborn children over 20 weeks,” or in informed consent bills, sonogram bills, taxpayer funding of abortion bans, etc., etc., with such a discriminatory exclusion. In Congress, it’s somehow become the norm to see bills with rape-incest exceptions.
Furthermore, politicians don’t take the position that they are pro-life “except in the case of preborn children under 20 weeks.” And if they did, they’d never get a pro-life organization’s PAC endorsement! But we quite often see candidates and legislators with the rape-incest exception as their official position. We don’t endorse them in Michigan and in many other states like Georgia, South Dakota and Alaska. But nationally and in the majority of states, it’s the rule to endorse them. These exceptions — and the ready willingness of pro-life individuals and groups to compromise — serve to devalue the lives of not only those who are yet unborn, but also the lives of children born as a result of rape, and create more hardship for the rape survivor mothers who chose life for their children, grieving to see how much their children are devalued. No other segment of the population is as demonized, stigmatized, marginalized and discriminated against as the child conceived in rape — clearly those Jesus said are “the least of these” in today’s society.
Just recently, Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. said at the 2013 Pastors and Ministry Workers Conference in Nashville: “A man rapes you on the street from a demon seed and you’ve got to have that baby from a demon seed, that’s not what God conceived.” Sean Hannity echoed the same sentiment when he interviewed Lila Rose on April 30, 2013. She skillfully explained that a child should not receive the death penalty for the crimes of the father, just as I explained to him when we met backstage at a Citizens United event at the Republican National Convention in August, 2012. Sean admitted to Lila during the radio interview that he’s intellectually inconsistent with his rape exception position, but then, in referring to the child conceived in rape, he said: “It’s almost like an evil seed.” Ouch!!! Then he asked Lila Rose, “Doesn’t the Bible say that the sins of the father shall be passed on to the child?” He’s clearly unaware of Deuteronomy 24:16 — “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.” And Ezekiel 18:14, 17b-20 — “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things. . . . He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin. Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.” Taking the time to have a sound theology is very worthwhile.
So I was elated to see that another bill was passed just last week with no rape exceptions and that a rape exception amendment had been overwhelmingly defeated in Mississippi. But then I read the actual bill and discovered the other problematic exceptions. The 20 week abortion prohibitions “do not apply to abortions that are necessary to avert the death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman or abortions that are performed on unborn children with severe fetal abnormalities. ‘Severe fetal abnormality’ means a life threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb.”
But there’s a glimmer of seemingly protective language in the case of an abortion to save a mother’s life and/or her major bodily function, though specifically excluding the child with fetal anomalies: “a physician performing or inducing an abortion under subsection (1) of this section shall terminate the pregnancy in the manner that, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.” So it’s not so much allowing an abortion in such a case, but instead, allowing a physician to induce labor, or to perform a C-Section. But then there’s an unfortunate and gaping caveat, that those provisions — “do not apply to an abortion performed or induced if there exists a condition that, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the woman that, to avert the woman’s death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological condition, it necessitates, as applicable: a) The immediate abortion of her pregnancy without the delay necessary to determine the probable post-conception age of the unborn child; (b) The abortion of her pregnancy even though the post-conception age of the unborn child is twenty (20) or more weeks; or (c) The use of a method of abortion other than a method described by Section 41-41-139(2)” — which is the “best opportunity for the unborn child to survive section.” They entirely nullified this protective language by putting a life of the mother and impairment of major bodily function exclusion on top of the life of the mother and impairment of major bodily function protective provisions! It’s absolute nonsense. But sometimes that’s how legislation is made — satisfying one legislator with a particular provision, then another legislator with a countering provision.
The “severe fetal abnormality” – “incompatible with life” portion is extremely troubling. Our Save The 1 speakers, Brad Smith and his wife Jesi, have a precious 5 year old daughter named Faith who was given such a diagnosis while yet unborn. She has Trisomy 18 — the same chromosomal anomaly which Sen. Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella has. In fact, the two families are friends, and the Santorums helped the Smith family to advocate for the proper care which Faith needed. The Smiths are paying it forward by advocating on behalf of many of other families now. Because of their experiences, the Smiths got the Medical Good-Faith Provisions Act — the first of its kind in the nation — unanimously passed and signed into law on June 11, 2013 in Michigan last year. http://littlefaithtobigfaith.blogspot.com/2013/06/michigan-governor-rick-snyder-signs.html This law prohibits a health facility or agency from maintaining or implementing a medical futility policy unless it is in writing, and must then provide a copy upon request to a patient or resident, prospective patient or resident, or parent or legal guardian of any of those people. “Medical futility policy” is one that encourages or allows a health facility or agency employee, or other health care professional to withhold or discontinue medical treatment or care for a patient or resident based on medical futility. “Medical futility” would mean a judgment that further medical treatment of a patient or resident would have no useful result. The Smith family had faced an unwritten medical futility policy of a hospital when it refused treatment of Faith. When she later received treatment, it turned out to have a very useful result — she didn’t die! Brad and Jesi have been in delivery rooms where doctors were telling the parents that if the baby with a “severe fetal abnormality” is born not breathing, they will not resuscitate! These children born with these special needs often end up with those issues becoming “incompatible with life” only because the hospitals have futility policies and refuse to treat! These laws, such as the Mississippi Preborn Pain Act, which ruthlessly discriminate against these children are incredibly unjust. By endorsing these unjust bills, the pro-life movement is not only crippling these innocent children, they are perpetuating the discrimination and devaluation of their lives within the medical community, they are neutering their late-term abortion bans, and they are ultimately crippling the entire pro-life cause. Isaiah 45:9-12a: “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker . . . . Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ “This is what the Lord says — the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it.”
Think about it — does any other social cause movement allow for exceptions with their politicians? Would the NAACP endorse a candidate who said he was against racial discrimination — except in the case of albinos and those with vitiligo? Would PETA endorse a candidate who supported animal rights, except for skunks? Would Greenpeace endorse a candidate who was against polluting the environment, except in the case of Rhode Island? Would the American Family Association endorse a candidate who supported traditional marriage, except in the case of transgenders? Can you see how ridiculous it is that so much of the pro-life movement has been compromising on it’s fundamental principles? Would any pro-life organization still support a piece of legislation that had an exception in the case of bi-racial rape? Just imagine the national outcry from civil rights leaders if such an exception were introduced! So why allow the systematic discrimination of children conceived in rape or incest, and children with special needs?

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