Some pro-life groups are pushing for women to give birth to babies that will not survive by calling for perinatal hospice care (video below).
Perinatal hospice programs began as an option for women in the 1970s, and was conceived as non-political, and allowed women to choose to privately mourn and grieve their loss and/or have religious ceremonies, The New York Times reported in 2007.
This type of care is "a compassionate model of support for parents who find out during pregnancy that their baby has a life-limiting condition and who choose to continue their pregnancies," according to PerinatalHospice.org. It "supports families through the rest of the pregnancy, through decision-making before and after birth, and through their grief," and "enables families to make meaningful plans for the baby's life, birth, and death, honoring the baby as well as the baby's family."
These days, some pro-life organizations are promoting perinatal hospice programs to push women to give birth to their dying newborns instead of having an abortion.
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska signed the Compassion and Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act, which requires pregnant women who are carrying a fetus that will not survive be given information about perinatal hospice care in hopes that they will not have an abortion
"This pro-life, pro-woman, and pro-family legislation affirms that no matter how short, every human life has value and meaning," Ricketts said, according to an official press release from the state of Nebraska.
Nate Grasz, the policy director of the pro-life Nebraska Family Alliance, added: "NFA is honored to have helped pass this legislation and thank Governor Ricketts for his support."
Karen Bowling, executive director of NFA, told the pro-life Family Policy Alliance on May 4 that 82 percent of pregnant women will carry a baby who is going to die to term if they are simply aware of perinatal hospice care.
Bowling said that instead of women choosing abortion, "now they have the opportunity to spend those moments with their baby," which is an "opportunity" that has been available for decades.
According to Bowling, women will want to give birth to babies that will not survive because "to moms that baby is perfect, no matter how small they are."
What is not mentioned in the law, or by its supporters, is that there are women who believe it is too emotionally painful to continue their wanted pregnancy that will end in death, and so they choose to have an abortion.
Phoebe Day Danziger wrote in Slate in 2014 about her heart-wrenching decision to terminate her wanted pregnancy because her 19-week fetus was discovered to have multiple problems during a prenatal diagnosis: "In our case, abortion was a parenting decision -- the most important and powerful one I have yet to make."
Americans United for Life, a pro-life group, created a legislative guide in 2014 that encouraged lawmakers to introduce "perinatal hospice information" bills.
The guide states: "Clearly, parents need to know that there are more compassionate options than simply terminating a pregnancy."
The Washington Post reported in April 2016 that "some Republican lawmakers [are] using perinatal hospice as a political tool. Over the last decade, antiabortion activists have worked with legislators to push the care model into mainstream consciousness, promoting bills they hope will steer women away from a procedure they consider murder."
The newspaper noted that "Indiana became the sixth state to require doctors to counsel women who have received fatal fetal diagnoses about perinatal hospice before they terminate a pregnancy."
Then-Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said it was "a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life."
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists condemned the law, and told Pence to leave medical discussions between doctors and patients (instead of the government).
Sources: The New York Times, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Slate, Americans United for Life, The Washington Post, Family Policy Alliance, PerinatalHospice.org / Photo Credit: Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons