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Bipartisan Senate Bill to Reduce Stillbirths Contains an Irony

by | Jul 12, 2023

By Wesley J. Smith

A bipartisan Senate Bill was just announced by Senators Bill Cassidy (R., La.) and Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) aimed at reducing the number of stillbirths in the country. From the “Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act:”

A) In the United States, 1 in 175 births are affected by stillbirth each year amounting to approximately 21,000 stillbirths annually.

(B) of the 20,854 reported stillbirths in 2020, over 5,000 were experienced by Black mothers;

(C) the number of stillbirths each year is greater than the number of babies that die during the first year of life;

(D) annual stillbirths are more than ten times the number of annual deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The senators’ remedy is to increase research into prevention, including

evidence-based programs and activities and outcome research to reduce the incidence of stillbirth (including tracking and awareness of fetal movements, improvement of birth timing for pregnancies with risk factors, initiatives that encourage safe sleeping positions during pregnancy, screening and surveillance for fetal growth restriction, efforts to achieve smoking cessation during pregnancy, community-based programs that provide home visits or other types of support, and any other research or evidence-based program to prevent stillbirths).

That’s well and good. But I can’t help but wonder: If we want fewer dead babies, how can so many Democrats support abortion through the ninth month? That essentially would become the national law if Senator Merkley had his way. Merkley, a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, stated in a press release:

The freedom to be in control of your own body is an essential freedom, full stop. . . . That’s why it’s so crucial that medical decisions be made by individuals and whomever they may choose to consult—not by extremist politicians.

I guess some dead babies good and others bad?

The stillbirth-prevention bill certainly seems worthy of passage. And I hesitate to grouse, because among Democrats in national office, support for abortion trumps all, and I would not want any House member or senator to vote no on this bill to be “consistent.” But I do wish “extremist politicians” — we all have our views on who qualify for that denigration — would understand the unquantifiable value of live births and soften their zeal for “abortion on demand and without apology.

Editor’s note. Wesley spoke at National Right to Life’s 52nd annual convention. This column is posted at National Review Online and is reposted with permission.