Mother of preemie sadly concludes “life and death” abortion decision “a woman’s to make alone”

By Dave Andrusko

This particular essay, by Sarah Russo, originally dealt with the federal version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. But with the measure having just passed two states (Ohio and Kentucky) and introduced in others, her post is worth reflection as momentum continues to build.

Had you not read the headline—“lost my unborn child — and gained a new perspective on late-term abortion”–you would read the first four-fifths of Russo’s essay with a growing sense of respect and admiration for her valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save her baby.

But even after you finish the essay, as wrong as we believe she is in opposing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, you still would marvel at how hard Russo labored to save her baby girl who was stillborn December 4, 2006.

Her post first appeared in a publication called “DAME” and then was republished in Salon. Her account is very much worth reading for it is the kind that opponents of the act are convinced can sway opinion.

Sorrowfully, Russo ultimately lost Emily at 21 weeks because of “a degenerating fibroid on my uterus—a huge, greedy tumor.” The problems first surfaced at 17 weeks and you marvel at Russo’s resilience, stamina, and 100% commitment to trying to save her baby against all odds and amidst incredible, searing pain.

The reader also comes away marveling at how clueless the medical professionals seem to have been. Russo’s baby was in mortal danger but this didn’t seem to sink in, perhaps–perhaps–because Emily was so premature.

To her credit, even though Russo can barely refrain from trashing the intelligence and the motivation of proponents of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, she is honest enough to admit that even if her baby’s condition had been worse, she still might not have aborted. “I say might,” she writes, “because I can’t know definitively what I would do until presented with that situation.”

But there is no maybe to her conclusion: this is a “life and death” decision that is “a woman’s to make alone.”

What to say?

Pro-abortionists attack the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act from many angles, all the while, of course, passing over the crux of the bill: as she is aborted, this child is capable of experiencing a level of pain we cannot begin to imagine. Are we to bow to “choice,” sit idly by, and do nothing?

Russo excludes that consideration. If asked, she might say that babies that young can’t experience pain. But they can.

She also writes that she “could” oppose the law by “speak[ing] to the hypocrisy of this law.” Russo talks about a laundry list of policies she suggests must be in place before any government can save unborn babies from a hideous fate. This is the dodge pro-abortionists have employed from the very beginning.

But if we had a higher minimum wage or free college tuition, or a host of other initiatives in place, does anyone believe opponents would suddenly shift course and lift their opposition to protecting pain-capable children from abortion? Of course not.

Moreover, a child’s fate should not and must not be held hostage. She should be allowed safe passage regardless of what position our legislators take on any other issue or issues.

Russo doubles back and says she won’t play the hypocrisy card because “This essay is about hard decisions.” Which is immediately followed by the comment we quoted above: these are ”Life and death decisions that are a woman’s to make alone.”

But her husband, by Russo’s account, was extremely supportive. If abortion were to have been made a part of the calculus, does Russo really believe her husband’s voice should not have been heard? Was he not Emily’s father?

The tragic irony, for me, in Russo’s account is found in her description of the day she lost Emily. She’s at work when her water breaks. They call 911 and at 20 weeks and five days, she is far enough along to be admitted to maternity.

A nurse comes into check and “she gasped as water gushed at her. She turned to the other nurse in the room to tell her the baby’s arm is in the birth canal.”

Russo recalls

My doctor was now in the room. I pushed. I pushed again and the OB pulled her by her two tiny arms. I could feel them dislocating inside me as they unnaturally exited my body. I howled but my daughter was silent.

They cleaned her, swaddled her, and brought her over to me. She was tiny but she was perfect, with the tiniest frown on her silent face. I held her and whispered my apologies to her. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I didn’t know better. I’m so sorry I couldn’t hold on to you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

But ought not that be the way we feel about any unborn baby? Shouldn’t the mom, in particular, but all of her support system as well, do everything they can to hold on to the baby?

Conversely, isn’t an abortion forcing the baby to “unnaturally” exit the safety of his or her mother’s womb? Aren’t those same tiny arms the OB pulled Emily out by the same arms that are ripped off in a dismemberment abortion?

The headline reads, “I lost my unborn child — and gained a new perspective on late-term abortion.”

I am in awe of Russo’s love for her lost child. But the “new perspective” escapes me.

It is the same-old, same-old: whether to abort is a “life and death” decision that is a woman’s “to make alone.”