At a congressional committee hearing on Wednesday discussing the criminalization of abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told a woman who chose to terminate her pregnancy that she should have carried the fetus to term despite the fact that it lacked a part of its brain.
Gohmert insisted that terminations after 20 weeks should be banned in order to prevent fetal pain, despite any long-term pain that the family may endure upon keeping the baby.
Christy Zink, the target of Gohmert’s example, argued that her son may never have left the hospital, and that her young daughter would suffer from an almost always absent parent.
At 21 weeks, Zink’s doctors discovered that her fetus had no brain function, something that was undetectable in earlier pregnancy.
Gohmert countered her argument with a story of a couple he knew, who waited to decide on these “difficult issues” after the child was born. He claimed that a more educated decision could be made if the child were already born, instead of deciding to “rip him apart” before birth.
Despite a plethora of research suggesting that a 20-week ban will force more women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term, Arkansas and North Dakota have already enacted “fetal pain” bans, much like the one discussed by Gohmert.
When opponents pointed out the cruelty in women watching their newly born children die, Arizona’s solicitor general David Cole responded: “With all due respect, that's the woman’s problem."