The Pennsylvania Family Council released a powerful photo series on their website. The photos highlight the fact that in many states abortion is still legal well past the point that babies can survive and thrive if they are born prematurely. The photos also give faces to the preborn and show the amazing development of vulnerable babies who have been given a chance at Life. Entitled “Babies born at 24-weeks or earlier: Then and Now,” the photos include seven boys and girls holding pictures of themselves as premature babies.
With the advance of medical science, some premature babies are surviving without long-term complications after being born as early as 22 weeks. In many states, abortion is still legal up to 24 weeks and even beyond. Seeing the happy, healthy young people who could have legally been aborted at the time they were born is jarring. The series was compiled in an effort to support legislation in Pennsylvania that would prohibit abortion starting at 20 weeks’ gestation. Twenty-one states, including Texas, already have such protections in place.
Several of the people featured in the photo series were born at 22 or 23 weeks, a time at which abortion is still legal for any reason in Pennsylvania. More than simply showing the need to protect babies at 20 weeks, however, the photos also demonstrate the undeniable humanity of the preborn at any age. Even if we are not yet able to save the Life of a baby born prematurely at 21 weeks, the photos show clearly that a unique human being is present at every gestational age. One baby born at 22 weeks has blossomed into a unique and unrepeatable little girl named Callie, just as a baby born at 24 weeks has grown into a boy named Will who loves baseball and video games. How can a child at 19 weeks be legally killed in abortion, while a child born five weeks later would receive the most advanced medical care available to preserve his or her Life?
We know that babies undeniably feel pain by 20 weeks’ gestation. This scientific evidence helped Pro-Life legislators in Texas to pass the Pro-Life protections for pain-capable preborn babies in House Bill 2. Further studies suggest that preborn babies may feel pain even in the first trimester. The same logic that demonstrates why babies should be protected at 20 weeks may also apply to very early stages of development. Thus, protecting babies starting at the fifth month of pregnancy is an important step toward protecting every preborn child.
The photo series by the Pennsylvania Family Council is a powerful reminder of the unique gift of Life. When people acknowledge the humanity of a child born prematurely, they may begin to realize the humanity of the preborn. Likewise, when people realize that preborn babies feel the unimaginable pain of abortion, they might understand why no one’s Life should be ended by abortion. Both arguments are strong reasons to support the protection of all babies beginning at 20 weeks. We hope Pennsylvania becomes the twenty-second state to expand protection for the preborn.