This Thursday, during a congressional committee hearing to discuss a proposed measure to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, GOP congressman Louie Gohmert told a woman that she should have carried her fetus to term, even though an MRI had revealed that the fetus was missing a large part of its brain and didn’t have much chance of survival.
Christy Zink testified in opposition to H.R. 1797, a 20-week abortion ban that anti-abortion representatives of Congress are attempting to pass in Washington D.C. Abortion opponents claim that “fetal pain” is the main reason behind 20-week bans. But in her testimony, Zink pointed out it’s misleading to suggest that this abortion restriction would serve this purpose, since forcing her to carry her pregnancy to term would have actually caused her unborn son considerable pain.
At 21 weeks, Zink’s doctors discovered that the fetus had no brain function. Complicating matters, this type of fetal defect is impossible to detect earlier in pregnancy. “If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby whom the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain,” Zink said. “If he had survived the pregnancy — which was not certain — he might never have left the hospital. My daughter’s life, too, would have been irrevocably hurt by an almost always-absent parent.”
In his response, Gohmert suggested that Zink should have given birth to her son anyway. Gohmert told the story of his own child that was premature, even though the treatable medical condition of premature fetuses is worlds apart from Zink’s experience. The congressman then told a story about a different couple who decided to give birth to a fetus — with entirely different types of disabilities — suggesting that Zink should have made the same choice for her son.
Listen to Gohmert’s comments in the video below.