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A Tale of Two Heartbeats
Jennifer Christie | 30 May 2019
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...to be pro-life. Do you find that to be the case? We grieve New York, we applaud Ohio, a law is overturned, a bill is dead on arrival. With so many states putting forth legislation in defense of the most vulnerable among us, it's hard to separate fact from fiction. Even riskier, to distinguish what is truly pro-life and what is just anti-abortion.
Alabama. Georgia. I'm pretty sure you can live under a rock and still have been exposed to the media maelstrom surrounding these states. While many praise both for their bold stand against the scourge of abortion, there are marked difference that we all should be aware of.
Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia signed a law on May 7 banning abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. Around 6 weeks. However, abortions are permissible up to 20 weeks in cases of rape or incest if a police report has been filed. An exception is also made if the pregnancy has been deemed "medically futile."[i]
The "Alabama Human Rights Protection Act" was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on May 15. Under this law, performing an abortion is a felony.
Alabama makes no exceptions for babies conceived in rape or incest but does in cases of fetal “lethal anomaly”[ii] or if the mother's physical health is in jeopardy. In cases of mental illness, two doctors must agree that the woman is likely to behave in such a way that she will endanger her life or the life of her unborn child.
She can abort if she's at risk of endangering...okay.
Neither law will criminalize women. Despite Hollywood headlines, we won't see post-abortive mothers shackled with ankle monitors, nor will parents grieving a miscarriage be subject to investigation as to the legitimacy of their loss. The end goal of these bills-to-laws is to trigger litigation that might force the Supreme Court to take another look at Roe v. Wade. That's where we're headed.
Here's where I'm stuck. The exceptions--Why? If we believe in the horror of abortion, why wouldn't we want to spare women from that? If we believe that life is sacred and valuable, is that reality dependent on the circumstances of conception or the estimated length of life on earth? A little bit of abortion won't hurt us. A tiny dot of mold won't spread to all the raspberries.
The argument for exceptions has become so accepted by the defenders of life that when politicians, noted evangelists, and Christian organizations agree with this position, we don't fault them. Good enough. That's the general sentiment. Good enough.
Is it though?
As a mother to a beautiful 4-year-old boy who would not be protected in Georgia under the new fetal heartbeat abortion law- I don't think so. My son was conceived in rape. His very existence is a bitter dispute. He knows none of this, yet. Many of my friends who were conceived in rape or who have children from rape are all too cognizant of the furor surrounding them. They feel the sting of those who claim that fighting to protect the so-called exceptions is simply too extreme.
We're standing at a crossroads in our country, a pivotal time in our nation's history, as more and more states are enacting legislation to protect the lives of the unborn. I believe one day not so far in the future we'll look back on this time as a shameful, dark piece of our history. Where will you align yourself? Are you truly pro-life or are you merely anti-abortion? If you find that you have the courage, heart, and fortitude to fight against moral relativism, your voice is desperately needed. As we move forward, be the voice to speak for the most marginalized among the already marginalized. Come on over. There's room at the so-called extremist's table.
[i] Specifically page 4, lines 104-106, and lines 121-125 of the enrolled version. The entirety of the bill may be viewed here: https://legiscan.com/GA/text/HB481/id/1979764/Georgia-2019-HB481-Enrolled.pdf
[ii] Specifically page 4, lines 23-25 authorize this. You may view the bill here: https://www.al.com/news/2019/05/alabama-abortion-ban-passes-read-the-bill
Jennifer Christie, is an international pro-life speaker.