[Today’s guest post by JoAnna Wahlund is part of our paid blogging program.]
Last June, Texas state senator Wendy Davis became infamous due to her ultimately unsuccessful attempt to filibuster proposed abortion laws that implemented rigorous safety regulations on abortion facilities and also banned abortion after 20 weeks gestation (with exceptions for the life of the mother and severe fetal abnormality).
A few weeks ago, the Dallas Morning News reported that Davis “would support a 20-week ban on abortion that pays more deference to a woman and her doctor.”
“My concern, even in the way the 20-week ban was written in this particular bill, was that it didn’t give enough deference between a woman and her doctor making this difficult decision, and instead tried to legislatively define what it was,” Davis said in the article.
This statement is nothing more than political doublespeak. Essentially, Davis would favor a ban on abortion after 20 weeks as long as a woman could have an abortion for any reason after 20 weeks. She knows she’s being labeled as an extremist (and rightly so). Her strategy is to couch her position in pretty euphemisms like “deference between a woman and her doctor,” but in reality it hasn’t changed.
“Deference between a woman and her doctor” means a loophole that pro-abortion medical professionals can exploit, just like the late Dr. George Tiller did in Kansas. At the time he performed late-term abortions, state law required Tiller to obtain:
documented referral from another physician not legally or financially affiliated with the physician performing or inducing the abortion and both physicians determine that: (1) The abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or (2) a continuation of the pregnancy will cause a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.
His source for these documented referrals was Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus, who lost her Kansas medical license in 2012 due to seriously jeopardizing the care of her patients. She essentially rubber-stamped Tiller’s second-opinion requests, using a computer program with “yes/no” checklists to make questionable diagnoses of severe mental illness and suicidal tendencies.
The Texas law, in contrast, stipulates that an abortion after 20 weeks can only be performed if:
(1) a condition exists that, in a physician’s good faith clinical judgment, complicates the medical condition of the pregnant woman and necessitates the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avoid a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function; or (2) the fetus has a severe fetal abnormality.
Davis, it seems, would prefer a regulation similar to Kansas law, so that physicians could exploit the loophole—which means a woman could abort for practically any reason at all as long as she could find a doctor to sign off on it.
She also told the Dallas Morning News’ editorial board that “less than one-half of 1 percent of Texas abortions occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most [emphasis mine] of those were in cases where fetal abnormalities were evident or there were grave risks to the health of the woman.”
Most, but not all. Given that the current Texas law has exceptions for severe fetal abnormality and grave risks to the life of the woman, Davis apparently feels that there are other valid reasons to abort a child who is 20 weeks gestation or older.
Several months ago, I was very disturbed to read a news story from the U.K. stating that women had had abortions for easily treatable fetal abnormalities such as cleft lip and clubfoot, but that these abortions were severely underreported in the official statistics. The reason I was so disturbed at the time was because I was pregnant with a child who had bilateral clubfoot.
|An ultrasound of the author’s son, Peter, shows bilateral clubfoot|
My child’s condition was initially diagnosed at a routine anatomy ultrasound when he was 19 weeks, 3 days gestation. Around the same time Wendy Davis filibustered the Texas abortion bill because she wanted women to have the ability to legally kill children like mine, I had a Level II ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. Three days after my son’s birth, we began treatment using the Ponseti method; today, at 4 months old, his prognosis is excellent. His feet are fully corrected; he currently wears a brace to keep his feet from relapsing, and in less than a month he’ll only have to wear it at night. The nighttime brace wear will continue until he’s 5, at which time (unless he displays symptoms of a relapse) he’ll be considered fully cured and will be able to discontinue brace wear entirely.
|Peter, shortly after birth|
Wendy Davis believes I should have been able to abort him so I wouldn’t have to deal with his condition, if that was my choice, despite the fact that it is fully curable. I have no doubt that she also approves of the permissive abortion laws in Australia, where a doctor is in danger of losing his license because he refused to abort a healthy female fetus (the parents requested, and later obtained, the abortion solely because of the child’s sex).
We really have no way to know (given the abysmal standards for abortion reporting in the U.S.) how many viable unborn children are aborted due to non-terminal health conditions, or due to being the “wrong” gender. But the fact that such abortions happen at all is and should be deeply troubling—unless, of course, you’re Wendy Davis, who apparently doesn’t understand why there is need for a “legislative solution” when it comes to preventing the late-term abortions of babies.