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Pictures for Life

The Legislature of the State of Texas meets every two years for 140 days. It is in session this year, and among the bills that it has passed is one that requires a woman who is seeking to abort her child to have a sonogram at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion. The woman may choose not to look at her child’s image in the sonogram, but the abortionist is required to describe the image to her.

No one denies that the push for this law requiring sonograms has come from those who support life and seek to end the legalization of abortion. But sonograms are not new to Texas abortionists. Many, if not most, abortionists have been performing sonograms on their pregnant customers for many years. Clearly they don’t perform them to deter a mother from having an abortion. Rather, the sonogram is useful to abortionists in looking for complications that might arise during the abortion and create legal liabilities for them. Not least, they also use sonograms to establish the size of the baby to be killed. The bigger the baby, the bigger the price for the killing.

The abortionists and their comrades in politics are nevertheless complaining loudly about the new law, claiming that it will cost poor women too much money to kill their babies. The state senator who represents the district in which I reside, Wendy Davis, is a most fervent supporter of killing the innocent unborn, and has been well compensated by the abortion industry, having received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the pro abortion group called Annie’s List, and both money and substantial in kind political advertising and telephone work from Planned Parenthood.

The senator and her friends in the abortion industry worked themselves into a fever pitch trying to defeat the sonogram bill. In the final debate on the bill, Senator Davis charged that the bill was clearly designed to interfere with “women exercising their legal rights.” “The purpose of the bill is to traumatize women who are seeking an abortion,” she said. Of course, the “trauma” of a mother seeing the living baby in her womb on a sonogram will be negligible compared to the traumatizing guilt and remorse that will descend on that mother if she kills her child.

Coincidentally, at about the same time that the new Texas sonogram law was signed into law by the governor, the local news media carried a story about the conviction of a mother who tried to suffocate her four month old infant son while the child was hospitalized in a local children’s hospital in Senator Davis’ senate district. The nurses at the hospital had been suspicious of the mother’s intentions after watching her interact with the child, and had placed the child in a room with a hidden camera.

It was only a short time before the nursing staff had observed the mother putting first a blanket and then her hand over her son’s mouth and nose, obviously trying to suffocate the child. The staff then had rushed in, saving his life.

No word from Senator Davis on what she thinks about that mother’s attempt to “terminate” her child’s life, but likely she would not appreciate the irony of the timing of the enactment of the sonogram law and the mother’s conviction, both involving the use of video technology to save children.

The staff at the children’s hospital had set up the surveillance camera in the hospital room to allow them to observe the child, and to take action to protect him if he was in danger. It also enabled them to save the mother from completing the heinous act which she had begun. The convicted mother will be sent to prison, but whether or not she realizes it, she has been spared a terrible pain because of those nurses and what they did when they they watched that video.

The purpose of the sonogram law is not much different than that of the surveillance camera in the hospital. It is intended to protect innocent and vulnerable children. Modern technology allows the mother to see the baby in her womb, and to be reminded of what she already knows instinctively, which is that what (who) she sees on the sonogram image is indeed human life entitled to her protection and love. And as at the children’s hospital, it is also an intervention to try to prevent her from destroying the new creation living within in her, and an attempt to spare her from the awful and soul wrenching pain that comes from committing such a monstrous act.

Senator Davis is worried about traumatizing mothers with sonogram images of their children. Well, if the electronic image of a sonogram traumatizes a mother into seeing the humanity of the creation in her body and the evil of killing that profound beauty, then such trauma is a good thing. No doubt the mother at the children’s hospital was traumatized when she was arrested, tried, and convicted because of what was recorded on the surveillance video. But those nurses did not worry about traumatizing her when they they saw on the video that she was about to kill her child and rushed in to prevent her from doing so. Nor should we worry about any alleged trauma resulting from requiring a sonogram so that a mother can see or at least hear a description of the innocent life that she wants to kill.

The exasperated Senator Davis told her constituents: “It’s a terrible session for women and children.” On the contrary, it has been a very good legislative session for woman and children.

A very important after note is in order here: The very pro-abortion Wendy Davis was elected to her senate seat a few years ago when she defeated the very pro life incumbent. Her campaign treasurer was Ralph McCloud, who is now, and was during the time that he worked on her campaign, a very well compensated director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Ms. Davis would likely not have been elected without McCloud’s work. So how is it that a man who is paid with money donated by faithful Catholics to protect the weak and vulnerable is allowed to act as a double agent working at the same time to help elect a political handmaiden of the abortion industry which makes millions of dollars from killing the same weak and vulnerable human beings McCloud is paid to protect? McCloud’s involvement with the Davis campaign was no secret. It was public record, and as treasurer his name was on every piece of political advertising that was used in the campaign. And it was brought to the attention of the bishops at least by late 2008. Faithful Catholics deserve an answer to this troubling question other than to be told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


Robert J. Gieb has practiced probate law in Ft. Worth, Texas for thirty years. He is local counsel for Catholics United For Life of North Texas.
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