Prenatal Euthanasia – An Alarming Flaw in Alabama’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill

394px-Broken_Heart_symbol.svgThis year, the Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives have introduced a bill which they claim will prohibit abortions performed on children with detectable heartbeats. I applaud these legislators for their desire to save lives and end abortion, but this bill is not a good solution to the problem. Our legislators have a very simple solution available to them which would make all abortions illegal, but instead of passing this simple and effective law, they have chosen to continue down a very dangerous course that actually strengthens the case for abortion.

This bill has several major flaws, but today, I would like to focus on the section that I found the most alarming:

Alabama’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill legalizes euthanasia.

In Section 2 of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, an attempt is made to define the word “abortion” in a way that would prevent this bill from prohibiting certain kinds of abortions. According to this section:

An abortion is defined as 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.

This sounds like a reasonable definition of abortion, but apparently, the crafters of this bill thought that it was just a little bit too thorough. Using this definition of abortion would cause the Fetal Heartbeat Bill to prohibit abortions that these lawmakers think should still be allowed. So they added a few additional statements to this definition to ensure that the abortions they want to be legal would not be prohibited by this bill. In particular, they added this statement:

The term “abortion” as used in these rules, 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.

I have written previously about Alabama’s decision to redefine abortions for ectopic pregnancies, but this bill would introduce a second redefinition into Alabama law. Under the terms of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, doctors would have a legally guaranteed right to euthanize prenatal children. Yes, you read that correctly. The Fetal Heartbeat Bill which is supposed to be a great way to save lives actually legalizes euthanasia. And consider the next line of the definition. After stating that killing a prenatal child with a lethal anomaly is not an abortion, this bill also provides a definition of “lethal anomaly:”

For the purposes of this act, a “lethal anomaly” means that the child has been diagnosed before birth with a condition that, with reasonable medical certainty, will result in the death of the child within three months after birth, or would die at birth or be stillborn.

Do you see the very dangerous legal precedent that is being set here? According to the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, if a child is expected to die soon, then it is okay to go ahead and kill him now. This kind of “mercy killing” is exactly what is meant by the term “euthanasia.” I am certain that none of the sponsors of this bill would ever support a bill that legalizes euthanasia for people that have already been born, but by supporting the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, they are advocating prenatal euthanasia.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot sit idly by and allow my legislators to legalize euthanasia in Alabama. I have found that most legislators do not take the time to actually read the bills that they pass into law, so I am planning to contact every single member of the House of Representatives (both Republican and Democrat) and inform them of this provision of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill. Then, I plan to encourage them to vote against this bill and protect our state from such a dangerous precedent. I want our legislators to enact pro-life laws, but a bill that saves some lives by unnecessarily sacrificing others is not a good bill. Will you join me in contacting Alabama’s legislators and encouraging them to stand against the Fetal Heartbeat Bill?

Click here to find contact info for Alabama’s legislators.


2 thoughts on “Prenatal Euthanasia – An Alarming Flaw in Alabama’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill

  1. My first response would be to agree with you on rejecting this bill. However, the more I thought about it I started remembering a woman in my church who was my Sunday School teacher as a child. Her baby was born with horrible birth defects, the mom had been exposed to German Measles I believe. Doctors tries to get her to abort the baby when she was in the first trimester of her pregnancy, another woman in my church was in the same situation. After much prayer the second woman had the abortion and went on to have 2 normal healthy children. The first woman did not, even though her husband and family supported her to have the abortion she did not agree and carried the child to just about 6 or 7 months. She went to the hospital to see her baby everyday, for almost the entire day. The baby whose poor little body was terribly deformed arms and legs and missing part of the skull giving the child twisted features that simply did not work. Doctors said the baby was in pain because he cried out with every touch. He could not eat with out a feeding tube, could not pass urine or feces with out tubes. Couldn’t breathe without life support. Insides the tiny body organs just were not completely formed and fuctional . The child lived on life support for several months because the parents just could not bring themselves to turn the machines off and kill their living child. The father went to the hospital a lot at first but as time passed he just could not go everyday and had to return to work and carrying for their daughter .This caused marriage problems because she felt he didn’t care and he felt she was consumed with the baby and was neglecting their daughter who was 2 at the time. When the baby finally did die my friend had a nervous breakdown that almost ended her marriage and came close to ending her life in several succide attempts. They finally did make it through this time in their lives, but they never did have any more children because they were so afraid of what could happen even though doctors tried to convince them that it was highly unlikely.
    With all of the modern technology in medicine today they should be able to determine if a fetus has profound birth defects that would cause death in a few months or that had terrible consequences for the baby as they got older. It just might be more merciful to the baby and parents to terminate. Strict guidelines would have to be established as to what circumstances would be considered. The mother should always have the right to say yes or no, she wanted to carry the baby to full term and take the chance that the doctors were wrong.
    I think you would have had to live with someone and know them well to grasp what this means to a family. Most mothers love that baby from conception, taking the babies life would not be an easy decision. I am not even sure this is something for law makers to be deciding. It is between the mother, father, doctors and God. A woman should not be forced into an abortion for any reason. But, she also should not be denied one if medical evidence says the babies severe birth defects and death is emit.

    • Thank you for commenting Alice. I understand what you are saying, but I wonder if you could take a moment to compare your friend’s situation with another scenario. The day before yesterday, May 7th, a 1 year old boy was severely injured in a car accident in Charlotte. As far as I know, he is still in the hospital, and it there is a good possibility that he may die as a result of his injuries. I don’t know the particulars of this incident, but I do know that situations like this have a very high potential for producing the exact same ending as your friend’s situation. The mother spends days, weeks or months by the bedside of the dying child while the father goes back to work and takes care of any other children. When the child finally dies, the mother is distraught to the point of attempting suicide, and the father is at the end of his rope as well. So, let me ask you to think about a question. If this 1 year old boy’s condition has the potential of causing all these problems, should his parents have the right to kill him now and prevent all of this potential heartache?

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