Monday, April 4, 2016

“Twice Born”: Fetal Medicine in PBS Special Provides a Stark Contrast to Dismemberment Abortions


By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director
Kansans for Life

Editor’s note. I am re-running this terrific post because earlier this month West Virginia passed its Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. There are now three states which have this law on the books–Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia– and Mississippi’s governor is expected to sign its version into law soon. This story was first written just before pro-life Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed his state’s Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, the first in the nation. The bill has also been introduced in Idaho, Missouri and Nebraska. It is expected it will also be introduced in several other states.

I was dog-tired last night, but I had been intrigued by the promos earlier this week for the PBS three-part special, Twice Born. The trailer starts out with this teaser:

“Thirty years ago, a group of pediatric surgeons came up with a radical idea. In the history of mankind the idea had never been proposed. At medical conferences few would take the idea seriously. The idea was this: to treat birth defects while babies were still in the womb.”

I tuned in. This “first-ever look inside the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and its unique Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit” did not disappoint.

The first installment introduces the audience to key physicians and several patients at the Center. The Center specializes in “pregnancies complicated by birth defects” with an impressive claim: “More than 1,224 patients have undergone fetal surgery at our Center, the largest number of any hospital in the world.”

Twice Born focuses on treating serious medical problems detected in the womb, including invasive tumors, spina bifida, and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. The first show was well-paced and personalized the staff, particularly one physician whose daughter has a degenerative disease.

But beyond the pathos of the medical conditions depicted, and beyond the admiration for the dedication and compassion of the medical staff, a deliberate feeling kept rising in me: THIS is what medicine naturally aspires to…how marvelous…how noble! This is what physicians SHOULD be doing!

And I got teary-eyed–but not just because of the sad stories. No, my emotion derived from all the horrific things done to marvelously developing babies in the womb that I’ve had to contemplate and explain as part of our state’s campaign to end dismemberment abortion.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act has passed both houses of the Kansas Legislature and awaits only the promised signature of pro-life Gov. Sam Brownback.

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