The Missouri House of Representatives has extended their support to a pro-life bill that is currently being debated in the state’s Legislature. This bill would help prevent the trafficking of the body parts of aborted children.
The Missouri state government is currently in the midst of a special session called by Governor Eric Greitens to discuss multiple issues involving abortion regulation, conscience rights, and the inspection of abortion clinics. Previous pro-life legislation had been approved by the state’s Senate but failed to address the issue of the handling and disposal of fetal tissue from aborted children. Missouri currently has no laws concerning this issue. The state requires that abortion clinics submit “a representative sample” of fetal tissue to a pathologist after an abortion. This allows Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to dispose of most of the child’s body following an abortion.
Pro-life advocates are concerned about this legal open door that permits Planned Parenthood to market the body parts of aborted children. In the videos about Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of body parts, which were released by the Center for Medical Progress, Saint Louis, Missouri was singled out as an “untapped supplier” for fetal tissue that includes intact vital organs. The Missouri House voted to close this legal loophole and to adopt a substitute for the previous Senate bill. In this substitute, all fetal tissue removed during an abortion must be submitted to a board-certified pathologist within five days of the procedure. The pathologist must examine the tissue for any evidence of an incomplete abortion then file a tissue report to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The special session has also been looking into the issues of protections for crisis pregnancy centers and whether or not crisis pregnancy centers should be required to promote abortion as an option for an unintended pregnancy.
Missouri Governor Greitens praised both the House and the Senate for their work during this special session. “We always want to make sure we find a way to protect life.”
Oregon governor Kate Brown recently signed a new mandate into law that requires children age two and under to ride in rear-facing car seats. This requirement previously ended when children turned one. Anyone who fails to follow this mandate will be fined up to $250. Oregon is the sixth state to implement rear-facing car seats for children two and under.
In an interview, Dr. Bend Hoffman explained the dangers of young children sitting in forward-facing car seats. “What’s going to happen is they’re going to be thrown forward, the arms and legs are going to go forward, head and neck forward. What’s going to stop the child are the harness straps. All sorts of horrible things can happen from paralysis to death.” Dr. Hoffman is a professor of pediatrics at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
When the car seat is rear-facing during an accident, it absorbs the shock and the child’s spine, head and neck stay aligned.
“We know that kids rear-facing, between the age of one and two, are over five times less likely to be injured in a crash compared to kids facing forward,” said Dr. Hoffman.
Parents like Adrianna Morales are grateful for the change in the car seat laws. “I’m happy, really happy. I think it’s the best choice they made for our little ones, we need to protect them.”
Doernbecher and Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland provide free car seat installations by appointment.
The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy recently published an article which argues that, under the fourteenth amendment of the US constitution, unborn children are considered persons. In the article, Harvard law student Joshua Craddock challenges both pro-choice philosophy and pro-life interpretation of the Constitution. He sums up both as “constitutionally unsound.”
Craddock looks at the Supreme Court’s pro-choice decisions since the 1973 case Roe v. Wade and their supposed refusal to decide whether or not an unborn child is a human being with human rights. He states that the justices considered other matters to be more important than this decision and thus decided to take no action on the matter. Craddock also examines the idea through the lens of pro-life legal scholars, who either claim that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about abortion at all or that it is important to consider the issue from an “originalist” perspective, which advocates that people should look at what the Constitution meant to those who wrote it and interpret it accordingly.
Craddock then argues that people on both sides of the abortion issue misinterpret the Constitution. He uses the fourteenth amendment to prove that the Constitution’s original meaning includes an unborn child’s right to life. It says that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” He then provides three pieces of historical context to back up his argument: what the word “person” meant at the time, the anti-abortion laws of that period, and what the people who wrote the amendment said about it.
Craddock concludes that states that allow abortion violate the Constitution. An example of this statement is if a state allows abortion but prosecutes murderers of other age demographics, it denies the unborn the equal protection of the laws. “Congress or the courts must intervene,” he writes. “The Fourteenth Amendment was to be a new birth of freedom for all human beings.”
Margaret Boemer of Plano, Texas, was pregnant with her third child when she received terrible news at her 16 week ultrasound. Her pregnancy had already been a complicated one. She had originally been carrying twins but one of the babies died early on. The ultrasound confirmed that something else was not right.
“The doctor came in and told us that there was something seriously wrong with our baby and that she had a sacrococcygeal teratoma,” she said. “And it was very shocking because we didn’t know what that long word meant or what diagnosis that would bring.”
Sacrococcygeal teratoma is a tumor that develops while the baby is in the womb and grows from the baby’s coccyx, or tailbone. This tumor occurs in one out of every 35,000 births, more commonly in girls than in boys.
“Some of these tumors are very well-tolerated,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center. Almost half of the time, the tumors cause problems for the baby because the tumor is trying to grow by stealing blood from the baby yet the baby is also trying to grow. The tumor and the baby compete for the blood and in some cases, the baby’s heart cannot survive and goes into heart failure and the baby dies.
Something had to be done in order for Boemer’s baby to survive. Some doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy while Dr. Cass and his team advocated for another incredibly difficult option: fetal surgery.
“LynLee (the baby) didn’t have much of a chance,” Boemer said. “At 23 weeks the tumor was shutting her heart down, so it was a choice of allowing the tumor to take over her body or giving her a chance at life. It was an easy decision for us: We wanted to give her life.”
Dr. Cass operated on Boemer when she was 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Dr. Cass and Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, his fellow surgeon, operated for nearly five hours. The tumor was almost as large as the baby.
The toughest part of the surgery was opening and closing the uterus. According to Dr. Cass, the tumor was so large that a “huge” incision was required to get to it, so the baby had to be completely removed from the womb. LynLee’s heart rate slowed to a dangerously low level. The heart specialist was able to give her the right medication and the right transfusion of fluids so Cass and Olutoye could continue the surgery.
The doctors removed most of the tumor and placed LynLee back inside her mother’s womb, sewing the uterus shut. Boemer was on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy and at nearly 36 weeks, LynLee Hope entered the world for the second time on June 6. She was born via a C-section and weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces.
After an initial evaluation at the neonatal intensive care unit, LynLee was healthy enough to be transferred to the nursery. Eight days later, the baby had another surgery to remove the parts of the tumor that they couldn’t reach before. Doctors were able to remove the rest of the tumor and LynLee has been able to live a normal childhood. She is “doing beautiful,” said Dr. Cass.
“It was very difficult,” said Boemer. “It was worth every pain.”
British mother, Indira Jayasuriya, decided to postpone chemotherapy to give her baby the best chance at life.
At 28 weeks pregnant, Jayasuriya was told that her breast cancer had returned and spread to her liver. It was stage four and incurable, but instead of delivering via cesarean section immediately, as she was advised, Jayasuriya decided to put her baby first, feeling it was too early to deliver. “He had helped detect the cancer, saving me,” Jayasuriya said. “I just hoped I could save him, too.”
Unfortunately, the cancer was estrogen positive, meaning that Jayasuriya would suffer more as her pregnancy continued. However, she still wanted the best for her baby and waited until 33 weeks to deliver her son, Dilan.
After spending some time in the intensive care unit, Dilan is healthy and lives at home with his mother, father, and sister, Thilini.
Jayasuriya is undergoing a hormonal cancer treatment.
Meanwhile, she finds inspiration through her family.
“I can’t bear to think about leaving my children behind,” Jayasuriya said. “They are what keep me fighting. I feel positive and am making the most of every moment I spend with my family. Not a day goes by when I don’t tell them I love them.”