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What’s Going On: Pro-life extends beyond birth

Pam and David were expecting their first children, twin boys, when Pam’s water broke just four months into the pregnancy.

She was rushed to her small, rural hospital where their family physician quickly decided the emergency was beyond his abilities and transferred them to a university hospital 90 miles away.

After several tests, a doctor who Pam would later describe as appearing to be 30 minutes out of medical school arrived with some horrible news: her boys, if they survived childbirth, would likely spend their entire lives institutionalized due to severe physical and mental disabilities.

His recommendation: a “spontaneous abortion.”

Now, most of you don’t know Pam, but I do; in fact, I’d call her a close friend. And anyone who knows Pam would describe her as anything but cool and level-headed. Spitfire is the first word that comes to my mind. So when this young doctor recommended she abort her children, she came unglued.

After a great deal of effort on the part of both her husband and mother, Pam calmed down and managed not to strangle the doctor, who escaped the room with a verbal, but not physical, lashing … barely.

***

It’s a mad dash to Washington D.C.

Seemingly in a race to be the first to appear before the Supreme Court, several states have recently passed their own version of restrictive abortion legislation. Georgia passed one essentially banning any abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Ohio followed suit soon thereafter. Missouri passed one Friday.

But the most controversial and debated one came out of Alabama where the governor signed a bill making pretty much all forms of abortion illegal, even in the case of rape and incest.

There’s a long list of groups promising to challenge the new law, which will result in the inevitable litany of court cases and appeals.

And eventually, you can count on one of those cases landing in the lap of the reformed Supreme Court now boasting a conservative majority thanks to the two recent appointments courtesy of President Donald Trump.

***

The next morning, a new doctor (not surprisingly) came into Pam’s room. Unlike his predecessor, he had a plan that didn’t include abortion.

He warned one, or both children wouldn’t survive or would have severe deformities. Pam didn’t care, she was going to carry those children to term.

As a result, she stayed at the hospital until they were born … two months premature.

One died within hours and today, is buried in her hometown’s cemetery. She still visits the grave.

The other was very, very small, weighing about two pounds. He would remain hospitalized for quite a while, but eventually would go home with Pam and David where he not only survived, but thrived.

Defying the doctor’s predictions, he grew up strong and healthy. He would excel in basketball, baseball and even started as quarterback for the high school football team. He would graduate high school with honors, and then college where he eventually earned a masters degree in education. Today, he’s a high school principal, husband and father of Pam and David’s first two grandchildren.

***

It’s no surprise that today, Pam would tell you she wouldn’t have done anything differently 30 years ago.

And while she supports anti-abortion legislation, the irony is her son is alive today essentially because she exercised her right to choose. She had a choice and she made it. It was her body and her babies and regardless of whatever dire warnings and consequences any doctor was going to tell her, she was going to deliver them come hell or high water.

Abortion supporters would argue all women deserve that kind of choice and that a doctor, or a legislator, or anyone other than the woman should make that choice for them.

While, for the sake of argument, I’m willing to set aside my religious convictions for opposing abortion, I’m left with the practical argument and question of what about the child’s choice? What about their rights?

At what point does that child have the right to life and protection from our government?

Obviously, abortion supporters would answer once the child emerges from the mother’s womb. Georgia legislators would argue those rights begin once a heartbeat is present; in Alabama, at conception.

Ultimately, the nine Supreme Court justices may once again answer that question, whether in the form of a landmark decision of reversing Roe V. Wade or through several cases slowly chipping away at the precedent that case set nearly 40-plus years ago.

But Republicans/abortion opponents alike should be careful what they wish for. If, as a society, we want to consistently embrace a “pro-life” mantra, we are going to have to drastically change the way we approach taxpayer-funded social programs, the adoption system, immigration, birth control, the death penalty and (gasp) gun control.

Because right now, pro-life generally means pro-white-middle class-straight-law abiding-life who’s willing to die in the name of the second amendment. But that’s a topic for a different day.

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Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at gorear@nujournal.com.

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