Thank you for your hard work and personal dedication serving our country. I am looking forward to the day when your voting record reflects the confidence you have in the courage of Americans, specifically women. I am writing to request one thing, please stop using my children as your excuse not to do this. Your recent failure to pass H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was a tremendous disappointment to a great number of American women.
I am a mom of four children, two of whom belong to America’s finest group of endangered species…babies who have had a very poor prenatal diagnosis. It is these medically complex situations that are often pointed to as one main reason, among others, that we continue to withhold legal protection for the smallest heartbeats of America’s future. By voting down this bill, you have told me, a women experienced in this type of situation, that I am socially and legally justified to excuse myself from the moral obligation to guard and protect my unborn child. If I understand you correctly, my mental health, the suffering of the baby at birth, the high risk of infant death, and threat of poor quality of life for a surviving infant are roughly the reasons I might use to prematurely end my active role as mother. You have begun a grim picture, and failed to finish coloring it. Humor me, I am just a mom after all, please let me finish coloring this page. It is one of the most splendid in the book, and it deserves the finest spot on the refrigerator door. Our fellow Americans, our guests to this country, the world itself, needs to see what a masterpiece freedom can create.
It is American women and the children we carry that begin our nation’s future and build its first line of national security. We pass our greatest legacy, freedom, from one generation to the next through our core beliefs that all men are created equal. Equality of the soul, not the body, makes us a nation, not of “me”, but of “we”. If an imperfect baby is not secured by our government’s protection, what does that tell me about my individual value to the same government as a mother and citizen? What damaging impression does this doubt of my core value have on my mental state? A woman who knows she is personally loved by her Creator, highly valued as an individual, and created for a specific purpose is much less likely to be overcome by mental anguish over an imperfect child than a mother who feels she is little more than a pawn in a great game of chance and politics. Let our laws empower her choices to have courage and a clean conscience, and let them support her solidly in her fiercest place in society without apology. What right have you to stand between a women and her Almighty God with your laws that offer her no protection against moral violation? Do you think American women are so fragile that we should need a patronizing reason to excuse ourselves from fully appreciating our value as mothers and fulfilling our role in the building of America’s future? Hear us clearly, we are not.
Of course we do not want the baby in question to suffer. To purposely inflict suffering which we know results in death is one thing, to manage suffering which we can hope results in sustainable life is entirely different. This is why we cannot possibly speak of protecting a practice which causes suffering to the child while using the prevention of suffering to the same child as our reason. Yes, I have seen my babies suffer, and yet I have seen them live. I ask you, have you ever seen courage like the courage of a child who refuses to die? It is one of the grandest things you will ever have the privilege to witness. I dare you to see it, and not be forever changed for the better. Sorrow and pain are a rich part of the human experience. Will we let fear steal our humanity? Will American be much good to each other, or to the world, if we become a people frantically avoiding difficulty at the cost of our children’s lives?
Yes, the baby may die. And the baby may not. I myself have looked into the eyes of a medical doctor of many years’ experience who told me he had never seen a child with my son’s complications survive. There are many conditions which lend themselves to a poor prenatal diagnosis, while few of them can be definitively determined to be fatal prior to actually assessing the child at birth. A prediction is not prophesy. Please hear the difference. Doctors can predict based on reliable data. Again, I do not know much, but I do know that medical advances are made, in part, by trying something which has not yet been tried. As it turns out my son did survive, for two years, and I cannot imagine the world without him. His life was worth keeping and protecting with the highest respect. All 27,004 pages of his medical record were worth it. If he had only lived one moment at birth, he still would have been worth it. It is a compliment to humanity to allow its members to die with dignity as befitting a soul made in the image of God with the professional attention of the best and finest medical personnel available. Conversely, it is an insult to humanity for one innocent soul to die anonymously, intentionally, and without mercy. Respecting the dignity and human rights of the individual is a uniquely American trait, is it not?
The quality of life concern is probably my most favorite one to address. I have an almost four year old little lady living in my house who has yet to crawl, sit, stand, walk, talk, or eat a meal by mouth. By developmental standards, her quality of life is rather poor. I assure you, she is quite happy with her quality of life. She knows when something threatens her quality of life, and she will fight that thing as if her life depends on it. This begs the question, who gets to decide quality of life? By her standards, her life is quite good, so who am I to argue with her? I sometimes wonder if her quality of life far excels that of us poor average people. It was she who taught me a smile is worth the world in gold, a light switch is pure delight, and love is a language every soul alive speaks fluently. It was she who taught me the scripted perfection of a well-planned life is nothing to the wild beauty found in the rolling crash of heaving, ever changing challenges. I cringe to think the richness my life would currently be lacking if I had never had the gift of being schooled by my tiny teacher with her poor quality of life. Should I assume America’s high regard for woman and diversity exclude her and those like her? I will not presume anything of the sort. America is better than that, and I have great faith in her.
This is the whole picture which your polices fail to reflect, a nation of people, out of many one. Can you see it? We are more than this delusion that our freedom lies in destroying ourselves. We are more than a diagnosis. We are more than today’s comforts and tomorrow’s fears. We are better than this. So I ask you again, plead with you even, please stop using my children as your excuse.
A mom who has lived your nightmare and found it the American Dream.