In a week filled with political high drama, especially on bills of great concern to people of faith, one of the big stand-outs was Senate Bill 282 by Senator Olszewski from the Flathead. Senator Olszewski, an orthopedic surgeon by trade, is quickly becoming a star in the pro-life community, and Senate Bill 282 would ban abortions after 24 weeks of gestation.
As predicted, the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing room was filled with people on both sides of the abortion issue. On the pro-life side were pastors and clergy, lobbyists for pro-life organizations, and passionate citizens from across the state. On the pro-abortion side were the usual suspects from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Montana Human Rights Network and a myriad of other left-leaning pro-abortion groups.
The bill itself was fairly simple. If the child is 24 weeks or more in gestation, it bans feticide, which is the killing of the unborn child, and is required before an abortion, AND it limits the delivery options to either a vaginal birth or a C-section. The beauty of the bill, besides banning late-term abortions, is that it uses hard science and statistics against the abortion industry, while providing for maximum safety for the mother. As Dr. Olszewski explained, the risk of complications skyrockets as abortions are performed later in pregnancy. At 24 weeks, the number of deaths of women during a normal vaginal delivery is 3.6 per 100,000. With a C-section, that number rises to 13.6 deaths per 100,000. And having an abortion at 24 weeks raises that number to over 70 deaths per 100,000. At 24 weeks of gestation, the risk of death is nearly 20 times higher when having an abortion than by having a normal vaginal delivery.
Another plus for this bill is that 24 weeks is considered the acceptable age of viability. Pre-term babies have survived as young as 19 weeks, but it’s rare and presents a host of complications. Children born at 24 weeks routinely survive, and the number of complications are far fewer.
The high point of the hearing came when a freshman member of the committee who also happens to be an employee of Planned Parenthood tried to take on Senator Olszewski during questioning. She did her best for her employer, but in the end, she was no match for an experienced legislator who also happens to be a surgeon. Olszewski was unflappable, and for good reason: He’s got truth on his side, he’s got science on his side; and he’s got God on his side. It makes for a much stronger position than Planned Parenthood standing up with nothing but a Supreme Court decision on their side.
Another thing for those who haven’t noticed is a change in Planned Parenthood’s mantra. Until recently, they said that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Now they just say abortion should be safe and legal. It’s sad really. But the good news is that we’re winning. With the millions of families desperate to adopt and advancements in science and neonatal care, abortion providers are finding it hard to justify the indiscriminate killing of viable babies. Of course, we believe that life begins at conception, so abortion at any age is wrong, but if we can stop all abortions after 24 weeks, we’ll take it as a great first step.