Gov. Fallin Signs Oklahoma Perinatal Hospice Bill into law


By Dave Andrusko

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

The good news is in and now it’s official. On Monday pro-life Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2685—the Perinatal Hospice Bill—into law.

HB 2685 addresses a rare but tragic circumstance: when a pregnant woman is told that her unborn child has a fetal anomaly incompatible with life. All too often the physician encourages the mother to consider abortion as the “humane” response to such a diagnosis. The Perinatal Hospice Bill is the pro-life alternative.

The mother (and father) facing these circumstances will receive information about public and private agencies and services available to her which offer perinatal hospice and palliative care if, instead of abortion, she decides to carry her baby to term.

Even the Associated Press wrote about the new law in respectful terms. “Perinatal hospice services provide support from the time of diagnosis through the infant’s birth and death,” the AP explained, “Those services can include obstetricians, neonatologists, psychiatrists or other mental health professionals as well as clergy, social workers and specialty nurses.”

Tony Lauinger, State Chairman, Oklahomans for Life, told NRL News Today, “Our throw-away culture today too often exhibits a coarsened attitude toward the intrinsic value of each individual human life – especially the life of a child with a diagnosis of severe or lethal disability – and too readily regards killing as an acceptable ‘solution’ in such a case.” He added, “The least we should do when a family faces the heartbreak of such a diagnosis is provide them information about the positive alternative of perinatal hospice, comfort care, and family counseling.”

Earlier this month, NRL President Carol Tobias eloquently wrote about “Pro-Life Caring, Pro-Life Compassion.”  Here are some excerpts:

It must be a devastating thing to be told your unborn child might have a condition incompatible with sustaining life. Sometimes, of course, the child survives and thrives despite the diagnosis. But when these tragedies do occur, they are very real and painful to the families. And often, the attending medical personnel recommend, or even pressure, the mother to abort.

In response to these tragedies, our state Right to Life affiliate worked with advocates, legislators, and NRLC, and passed an amendment to the state’s Woman’s Right to Know informed consent law to ensure parents would receive helpful information about public and private agencies and services that offer life-affirming hospice for these infants (called perinatal hospice), with palliative care, and counseling for the parents.

Armed with such support, the parents could partner with these agencies to help their children receive the love and nurturing they need and deserve. Knowing this support is available in such a difficult circumstance, parents are far less likely to succumb to pressure to abort. …

Intentionally taking the child’s life is no answer – any more than killing any other individual with a disability would be justified. “Perfection” is something none of us can claim, and using “quality control” as grounds for aborting a baby is unworthy of a society that respects the sanctity of each innocent human life.

There are many effective ways we can fight against the notion that some life can be deemed “disposable.” Support for laws like this in states across the country is one such way.

Congratulations to Oklahomans for Life!

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