Heartbeat Laws & Abortion Bans: Saving Babies or Harming Women?
If you've been watching the news or on social media lately you have surely seen the explosion of opinions in the wake of Alabama's Human Life Protection Act. Some are lauding Alabama for taking such an extreme step to protect unborn children and others are vilifying the state, even calling for boycotts, because they claim this law will hurt women.
So, what's really at stake, here?
If life truly begins at conception, and there is plenty of scientific proof that it does, Alabama's law is completely sensible. Once a child has been conceived, and the pregnancy is known/diagnosed, an abortionist/doctor is not permitted to kill him or her. The mother must then carry the child to term, deliver, and either raise the child, ask the father to raise the child, or make an adoption plan.
There are a lot of objections to this law. Emotions are running high and people are convinced this is the beginning of the end for women's rights. Who knows, next year we'll all be barefoot and pregnant slaving away over the stove for oppressive men intent on fathering as many children on us as possible.
Also, we'll all be wearing red dresses with super weird white hats. This is a huge concern for me because I really don't look good in red. My complexion is too splotchy. Truthfully, I'm not a very good cook. I guess I could slave away over my stove and produce subpar food, but it seems like a waste. Another problem, my husband would be a terrible oppressor. My main complaints are that he isn't super neat and feeds me chocolate which makes my face splotchy.
So, should we be concerned? Is this the end of women's rights as we know it? Or, is this an attempt to protect the most vulnerable among us?
First, people are saying that this law means women will go to jail for miscarriages and stillbirths. They claim that it is impossible to tell whether woman induced a miscarriage or miscarried naturally, so any woman seeking medical care for a miscarriage could face jail time.
Is this true?
In fact, the bill says this in section five:
"No woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed shall be criminally or civilly liable. Furthermore, no physician confirming the serious health risk to the child's mother shall be criminally or civilly liable for those actions."
There you have it. The bill has explicit instructions that the mother will not be criminally or civilly liable. This section also protects the physician who confirms the serious health risk that allows a woman to proceed with an abortion. That seems like a pretty good idea to me, I don't think that women should be prosecuted for obtaining an abortion. It becomes incredibly messy and allows the prosecutor to nab vulnerable women while ignoring the abortionist.
Next objection? That this bill doesn't provide rape or incest exceptions, and doesn't allow abortions if the baby is disabled.
There is no language that allows mothers who have been raped to seek an abortion. The only exception is if the life of the mother is at risk. The same with babies with disabilities, they can't be aborted just because the mother doesn't want an imperfect child.
Why are people so upset about this? It shouldn't be standard procedure to murder people with disabilities, even if they're still in the womb. Another crazy idea, babies conceived in rape are real people, they deserve to be protected. By this reasoning, any person conceived in rape could be murdered without any penalty. Does that make sense? Of course not. That person had no control over their conception, they don't deserve to die for the sins of their father.
Another objection: women will be forced to carry dead babies in them. This could cause infection and even death, not to mention psychological trauma.
Again, no. The definition of abortion in the bill is this:
"ABORTION. The use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child. The term does not include these activities if done with the intent to save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child, remove a dead unborn child, to deliver the unborn child prematurely to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother, or to preserve the health of her unborn child. The term does not include a procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy, nor does it include the procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman when the unborn child has a lethal anomaly. "
That seems to cover it pretty well. Removing a dead child is not an abortion. Delivering a baby early to save the baby and/or the mother is not an abortion. They even make an exception for unborn children with a "lethal anomaly (defined later as a condition from which an unborn child would die after birth or shortly thereafter or be stillborn). "
One more thing, and then I'll quit.
Another complaint is that women will leave the state of Alabama to obtain an abortion and be arrested immediately upon their return.
That makes no sense at all. Not only is this not addressed in the bill, the bill is extremely specific that the mother can't be prosecuted. So, again, not a real thing. It simply won't happen.
If you'd like to check out the bill in it's entirety be my guest. Let me know if you find anything I missed.
Where do I stand on this kind of bill? I am 100% in favor of it. It seems to be well thought out and it protects mothers as well as their unborn children.
What does this mean for Alabamian Christians?
Brothers and sisters, there are going to be more babies born. They will be born to women who are poor, homeless, addicted, and alone. They will need your help. A lot of your help! This bill creates a significant amount of extra work for believers.
Expectant moms will need safe places to live and healthy food to eat. If they're struggling with addiction, they will need rehab and a safe place to land when they leave. They'll need diapers, wipes, and baby clothing. They may need rides to and from their doctor's appointments. If they're struggling, they may need help with childcare so they can rest.
It won't end when the baby is born. There may be more children in need of adoptive homes, whether through private agencies or foster care, and they need Christian homes. Moms will continue to need help with babysitting, food, help at home, and basic supplies for their children.
We're the CHURCH, people. This is our job! Find your local pregnancy center, and ask them what they need. Donate money, time, and practical items. Open your homes to expectant and single moms.
There will be a lot of work to do. And, we need to do it cheerfully and without complaint. If we're going to require that these mothers carry their children to term, and probably parent, we need to walk alongside them all the way.
Not only mothers in Alabama, mothers everywhere. Many people are working very hard to reverse Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton - I support that 100%. But, when it happens, families are going to find themselves having more children than they may have otherwise. This is great news, but it will require more of us. The hands and feet of Christ need to get busy.
These families may look different than us, they may act differently, and they may make choices we don't agree with. That doesn't mean we turn our backs on them.
Alabama, I love what you did. Keep it up and stay strong. With the help of God, soon we will see abortion outlawed in our nation. As it should be.
While we're waiting, get busy. There is plenty of work and too few hands to make it happen.
Are you looking to get involved and you're not sure what to do? If you're local, go to aocpartners.org and either make a donation or fill out our online volunteer application. We need you! We are swamped with young families in need and we're only limited in how many we can serve by our budget. We're also in need of dedicated prayer warriors, never underestimate the power of prayer!
If you're not local go to Heartbeat International and look up a pregnancy center local to you. I don't know who they are, but I know they need your help. Get involved!
You may have noticed I haven't been blogging as much recently. I have been swamped finishing up a HUGE project. Go to my main page to find out more.