Skip to main content

A show of solidarity for life

Visitors at the Nebraska Capitol for committee hearings were present for a wonderful show of solidarity for life and human dignity Feb. 22.

Nebraskans stood up and pushed back hard against LB1109, a bill introduced by Senator Merv Riepe of Omaha that would create a new exception to Nebraska’s 12-week abortion law by permitting the killing of babies who have a life-limiting disability diagnosis.

Three supporters of the bill testified at the hearing, while 17 opponents—including medical professionals, parents, and siblings of babies diagnosed with a life-limiting condition—testified against it. Their testimony was moving, inspiring, and a special and particular witness to the beauty of sacrificial love.

Another number gave us tremendous encouragement: 21 vs. 495. Twenty-one letters were submitted in favor of this bill, and 495 were submitted against it. Pro-life Nebraskans’ watchfulness and quick action sent a very strong message to the committee that, in our state, we respect the dignity of “the least of these.”

And these children truly are “the least of these.” A child prenatally diagnosed with a condition that makes him or her unlikely to survive for long outside the womb is often treated as one of a whole class of people to whom we no longer have any moral obligation—as ones who can be discarded in pursuit of a different baby.

There is no doubt that a family facing a diagnosis like this is in an incomparably difficult situation—one that no one would choose. They must reconcile with the fact that they will lose their baby. Suffering and loss will be acutely present to them, regardless of what they choose to do.
But some choices lead to healing and closure and are consistent with the dignity of these little people, and other choices compound and complicate that suffering. It is doubly heartbreaking that abortion is often the only choice offered to a family after receiving the news that their child has a potentially life-limiting condition.

It is a spiritual work of mercy to “comfort the afflicted.” This must be better integrated into the practice of medical providers, especially doctors, who are tasked with taking these journeys with a suffering family. Sometimes suffering cannot be avoided. It has to be borne, and having someone to bear it with you makes a world of difference.

Perinatal hospice programs—of which Nebraska has several—are wonderful, beautiful, and life-affirming. They support these families, give them medical, emotional, and spiritual resources, help them overcome fear and doubt, and offer an environment where the family can give birth and honor the life of their child together, however brief that time may be. This is the way to healing and closure and is consistent with the baby’s right—and the family’s right—to be treated with dignity.

Mary our Mother, Good St. Joseph, St. Andre Bessette, and St. Margaret of Castello—pray for us!

Powered by Firespring