Doctors and scientists across the country are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to correct its grievous error from 50 years ago when it refused to acknowledge unborn babies as valuable human beings in Roe v. Wade.
Speaking with the Catholic News Service, Dr. Kathleen Raviele, an OB-GYN, pointed to the many medical advances since 1973 that have made it even more clear that abortion is wrong.
At just six weeks of pregnancy, she said doctors and parents already can hear the unborn baby’s heartbeat and, by 20 weeks, know the unborn baby’s sex – something unheard of just a few decades ago.
“So those involved in abortion cannot say this is a ‘blob of tissue.’ They know this is a baby, and that abortion takes the life of an unborn child,” said Raviele, a past president of the Catholic Medical Association.
Since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe in 1973, about 63 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions. The Catholic Medical Association was one of several professional groups that wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court earlier this year, urging it to overturn Roe through a Mississippi case that the justices heard in December.
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Currently, under Roe and later abortion rulings, states are prohibited from banning abortions before viability. Raviele and other doctors with the association said this viability line should be thrown out because babies in the womb deserve to be protected at all stages.
“The viability standard for protecting human life is arbitrary,” said Dr. Marie Hilliard, who leads the association ethics committee.
Hilliard told CNS that viability currently is about 22 weeks of pregnancy, but it used to be higher.
“These facts are irrefutable, indicating that even earlier that 22 weeks’ gestation there is the presence of ‘potential’ human life,” she said. “… Science now clearly demonstrates that from the moment of conception the unborn baby is a human being, not a ‘potential’ human being.”
Hilliard continued: “Current technology available to diagnose prenatal conditions, and treat the most complex neonatal conditions, were unimagined in 1973, easily moving viability to as early as 22 weeks’ gestation.”
A few babies are being born even earlier, meaning viability could become even lower still in the coming years. In November, Guinness World Records recognized an Alabama boy who was born at 21 weeks gestation as the youngest premature baby to survive.
Other advances such as fetal surgeries and 3D and 4D ultrasounds that show vivid details about the baby long before birth also prove the humanity of the unborn child.
Dr. Tara Sander Lee, senior fellow and director of life sciences for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, explained more to CNS:
Fifty years ago, expectant parents could barely see their unborn child in the womb because ultrasound technology was fairly new and rudimentary, Sander Lee explained.
Now, ultrasound technology gives physicians better and faster diagnostics and new tools that can not only detect, but when appropriate, even treat malformations of the unborn.
“So, there’s this whole development of what we call the perinatal revolution, where you can actually perform surgery on the unborn while still in the womb,” she told Catholic News Service.
Raviele expressed hope that abortions will become unthinkable again someday in America.
“Our only hope for recovering our humanity as a country is to stop taking innocent unborn lives and provide the pregnant woman with the support she needs to carry her child to term,” she said.
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