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Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015

Inventory Sheet

It seems things are out of sight, out of mind

There are not many readers who would encourage smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs while pregnant. In fact, many people become angry – and sad – when they see reports on television or read stories in the newspapers about women who abused alcohol or ingested methamphetamines, for example, during their pregnancies, and their babies suffered, as a result.

Recently, there was a story of a 22-year-old mother from Tulsa who gave birth to a premature baby while she was high on drugs, and then placed the infant on a pile of trash and did nothing while the baby turned blue. Or the heart-wrenching stories from hospitals, where often a baby’s first experience of the world is the slow withdrawal from drugs, as they suffer vomiting, diarrhea, low-grade fevers and seizures because their mom abused heroin, for example, during her pregnancy (heroin use by women alone incidentally is up 100 percent since 2009).

Even the unapologetically, prochoice magazine, Cosmopolitan, recently tweeted out that it was “really disturbing” to see how unborn babies react when their mothers smoke and that “nicotine is terrible for unborn children.”

On one hand, then, there are those whose hearts hurt for the babies in the neonatal intensive care units, or the addicted babies whose pain can be viewed through the monitor during an ultrasound scan.

And on the other hand, many of these same people remain silent on – or even promote – the matter of abortion or the selling of fetal body parts for science, which are harvested from those abortions.

The trouble for those whose hearts cry out for the newborn child suffering in NICU with tremors and sweating, and not for the unborn child killed in a way that would best preserve its body parts for sale, is that – for too long – out of sight has been also out of mind.

But as technology continues to make more visible the life of the unborn (and no longer out of sight) remaining silent is becoming more difficult to reconcile with one’s conscience.

After all, for many, abortion is a private decision only between a woman and her doctor, as part of a Constitutional right to privacy. If that’s true, then none of us have any standing to object to how many drugs or how much alcohol a pregnant woman ingests, which may be slowly killing her unborn child, since none of us have any standing, in the first place, to object to her killing the unborn child altogether, all at once.

It’s insincere and inconsistent to express disapproval to a pregnant woman who is abusing drugs or alcohol, while at the same time we are condoning the killing of their unborn child.

And until we reconcile this contradiction, the problem will only get worse.

In fact, Louisiana already performs worse than nearly every other state in the nation for infant mortality rates, preterm births, low birth weights, etc.

And that is saying a lot, because nationally the number of addicted babies admitted to neonatal intensive care units has nearly quadrupled – with a new addicted baby being born every 25 minutes.

There are some people that say the dangers of alcohol or cocaine to the unborn child, for example, are exaggerated, and that calls for concern are merely the invention of pro-life supporters who are wanting to find ways to criminalize abortion, and interfere with the relationship between a woman and her doctor.

The problem with that is the federal government’s own studies, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicate that the suffering to both the mother and unborn child are real. They concluded that smoking during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain, and babies whose mothers smoked are about three times more likely to die from SIDS.

They found mothers who drink alcohol can cause the baby to develop issues in learning and remembering, understanding and following directions, controlling emotions, communicating and socializing. And their statistics show that taking drugs during pregnancy also increases the likelihood of birth defects and stillborn births.

But all of this is only important if you end giving birth to the child in the first place.

Otherwise, if the unborn child is killed and its body parts are sorted for sale, it’s just another day at the abortion clinic.

For the pro-choice crowd, however, that seems more desirable, since for them it is more painful to see a child suffering on life-support, than after an abortion and on the inventory sheet.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman and attorney. He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by email at louisavallone@mac.com.

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