During a congressional hearing this week on a proposed measure that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) directly questioned a witness’ decision to terminate her 21-week pregnancy after discovering her fetus had no brain activity. “Shouldn’t we wait,” he asked, “and see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart?”
According to a report by ThinkProgress, Christy Zink told the all-male panel of congressmen it would have been impossible for doctors to detect her fetus’ lack of brain function earlier than 20 weeks. “If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby whom the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain,” Zink testified. “If he had survived the pregnancy — which was not certain — he might never have left the hospital. My daughter’s life, too, would have been irrevocably hurt by an almost always-absent parent.”
When it was Rep. Gohmert’s turn to respond to Zink, he told the story of a couple he knew who chose to carry their fetus to term despite abnormalities that were detected in the womb. He then suggested she should have made the same decision:
“Ms. Zink, having my great sympathy and empathy both. I still come back wondering, shouldn’t we wait, like that couple did, and see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart? So. These are ethical issues, they’re moral issues, they’re difficult issues, and the parents should certainly be consulted. But it just seems like, it’s a more educated decision if the child is in front of you to make those decisions.”
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who sponsored the proposed legislation, recently used the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of killing viable babies after delivery, as justification for the bill.
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