At the March for Life rally on the National Mall this afternoon, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R., Wash.) told the story of her daughter Abigail to illustrate the value of every unborn life.
As she stood on the stage with her husband and children, Herrera Beutler said that several years ago, her unborn daughter had been diagnosed at 20 weeks’ gestation with a fatal deformity. The doctor told her and her husband Dan that their child had no kidneys and would miscarry or suffocate at birth because her lungs could not develop.
Their doctor told them, too, that, when women received this type of news, they would immediately head across the street to schedule an abortion procedure. “The sooner you start over, the better off you will be emotionally,” the doctor told them.
But Herrera Beutler and her husband did not choose to “start over” in that way. They chose, instead, to hope, and pray, and even work for a miracle. They found doctors willing to believe that their unborn daughter could be saved and who tried experimental medical procedures to save her life. And, as Herrera Beutler addressed the crowd, her daughter Abigail stood beside her, holding her hand, smiling, and waving.
“I was told there was no chance of survival, but they were wrong,” Herrera Beutler went on. “And they weren’t bad people. They just had never seen a baby with this condition survive. But that’s the point. What if they’re wrong about others, too? What if, together, we can break new ground and find new treatments that will benefit more than just our own families? What if every baby was given at least a shot to reach their true potential?”
Herrera Beutler continued:
Who would we be as a nation? What richness would we get to see? Instead of the equivalent of two generations missing because of that choice. Would we have already witnessed one of these individuals finding a cure for cancer or the key to eradicating extreme poverty? What if we had spent the last 45 years pouring that time and that money into finding cures in the womb for medical conditions like spina bifida or microcephaly or congenital heart defects? What if that money was used to end the baby’s disease, and not the baby’s life?
. . . Today, we have come together to say, ‘There’s hope for every expectant mother who has been given a devastating diagnosis, for every woman who feels fear, or anger, or anxiety because she doesn’t know how she can afford care for that child, for every woman that feels hopeless: Jesus loves you. And for every baby that has been given up on by the status quo: Jesus still does miracles.
We must recognize the unborn child as the miracle that he or she is, a person developing with extraordinary potential and purpose, who deserves a fighting chance to live and just maybe reach that extraordinary potential. I believe it’s the only way our society is ever truly going to reach ours.