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A letter to Doug Jones from a preemie mom

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Dear Mr. Jones,

I read your comments on abortion and your belief that women should be able to have abortions well into their pregnancies and it shook me to my core. The tears that streamed down my face as I read and reread your statements were not a result of my political beliefs but as a result of my experience as a mother of a very special three year old boy who didn’t get the benefit of a typical birth. Mr. Jones, I hope that you won’t stop reading at this point. I hope that you will have the courage to read on and face the truth about your stance on babies in Alabama and throughout this country.

My son was born severely premature. When I was being wheeled into an operating room for an emergency cesarean section, I was told he was not ready to be born. I was told he might be blind or deaf or learning disabled. I was told he might not make it at all. I was told not to expect to hear him cry and to prepare myself for the fact that he may not breathe outside of the womb. I was told all of these things because my son, Jax, wasn’t ready to be born and medical science could not determine his viability as a, to use your words, “person.” Immediately after he was born, he was rushed to the neonatal intensive care where he and I lived for weeks and weeks while he received the medical care he needed to survive outside of the womb. Some of it was basic care and some of it was lifesaving procedures that we prayed would work but that we weren’t sure would be successful.

That NICU was filled with babies who were fighting to survive after being born too early. Many were born long before medical science believed that they had much of a chance at survival. Yet, those babies fought and their parents fought for them and the doctors and nurses believed what you apparently don’t believe – that those babies deserved every chance at life. The overwhelming majority of those children are happy, healthy, active toddlers today.

Mr. Jones, I know that you believe that children who are not yet born are not people. I know that you believe they don’t deserve the right to breathe and grow and live if someone else decides their life would be too much of a burden or inconvenience. I hope that you will rethink that stance because those unborn children are the same gestational age as children who are born in NICU units everyday across the state and go on to live happy, healthy lives. They are the same gestational age as babies who beat all of the odds of medical science and lived when you and others said that was impossible. These babies prove that your view of what makes a person a person is inherently flawed. Correction. Your view isn’t just flawed. It’s 100 percent wrong.

I doubt that you will change your mind on the basis of what a Republican writes to you but I will challenge you to walk the halls of a neonatal intensive care unit anywhere in this state and look into the faces of those precious babies and tell them that other babies of their gestational age are not really humans. I challenge you to touch the tiny hands of a baby that is fighting for its life in an incubator and convince yourself that aborting an unborn baby conceived on the same date is not murder. If that doesn’t convince you that these “fetuses” are people, I invite you to my house any morning between 2am and 4 am to entertain my toddler whose medical viability was questionable at birth. After a few middle of the night games of ninja turtles, hide and seek and power rangers with Jax, you just might change your mind on what makes a person a viable human.

Angi Horn Stalnaker
Better Known as Jax’s Mom

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