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January 14, 2011

Commentary: ‘My Preborn Baby is a Living, Breathing Human Being’

Nebraska broke new ground on the pro-life front when its fetal-pain law went into effect in October. The law protects babies after 20 weeks unless the mom's life is in danger. And it has been successful in forcing notorious late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart to leave the state.

Lawmakers in Kansas, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky are drafting bills similar to Nebraska's to keep Carhart from moving in. Most states ban abortions after 24 weeks, with narrow exceptions.

At the center of the debate is the issue of when a preborn baby begins to feel pain.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it has no evidence that preborn babies experience pain at 20 weeks.

Dr. Paul Ranalli, a neurologist at the University of Toronto, disagrees.

"At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood," he says, "ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded."

Baby Schleicher at 19 weeks.
Baby Schleicher at 19 weeks.

Monica Schleicher, director of media and public relations for CitizenLink, knows firsthand how preborn babies react to stimuli: She is 25 weeks pregnant.

My husband and I have marveled at the miracle of life unfolding before our eyes. No longer do I theoretically talk about a child developing in the womb; I now feel life quicken and move inside of me. This new dimension of reality is one that has had far-reaching implications for me as a Christian, a voter and an advocate of life.

As I fall deeper and deeper in love with our preborn daughter, the tragedy of abortion has also been made more real. To think that, at 25 weeks along, I would still be able to get an abortion breaks my heart — after all, she is not just "a clump of cells" or "pregnancy tissue."

No, my preborn baby is a living, breathing human being who I know and love. She helps her "not-a-morning-person" momma wake up at 6 a.m. by doing a little dance. She naps while I sit at my computer during the work day, but loves to deliver well-placed kicks and punches during management staff meetings.

Monica at 20 weeks.
Monica at 20 weeks.

Baby Schleicher made me laugh over Christmas break when she got the hiccups after experiencing her daddy's spicy gumbo, and she's been entertaining us by making my belly twitch with her increasingly strong movements.

Science and technology bear out what I know to be true: My daughter can react to and interact with the outside world. If I drink a cold beverage, I can expect her to wake up and move about. She's been able to sense light since 15 weeks, moving away from a flashlight shining at mom's tummy. Some research suggests she's been hearing my voice since about 19 weeks. While loud noises have been startling her since about 17 weeks, once she's born she shouldn't be fazed by sounds she hears regularly, like a vacuum cleaner.

I have chronicled some of these developments on Facebook:

Oct. 1 (10 weeks): The baby was super active during the ultrasound, wiggling around and "dancing." Also, during the first part of the ultrasound, the baby had the hiccups so it was cute to see his/her whole little body "jump" up.

Nov. 1: All pants should have elastic waistbands.

Nov. 4 (15 weeks): We had an ultrasound today … and the technician was more than 90 percent sure IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!

Nov. 22: (18 weeks): OK, so more and more I am believing that what I feel is the baby moving!! Such delicate little "flutters" made me second-guess myself numerous times, but it is happening too much for it not to be her. I'm completely in love! ♥

Nov. 30: Confirmed — it's most definitely a girl! Bill and I praise the Lord for a wonderful, perfect 20-week ultrasound with everything going as it should be.

Dec. 6: Our sweet baby girl is starting to get so active! More and more, I feel her moving around.

Dec. 13: 21 weeks this Wednesday, and (she) is making her presence more and more obvious with stronger kicking movements that are happening more and more often a day.

The iPad application "Hello, Baby" 
provides a window to the womb at 21 weeks.

Dec. 15: A 21-week-old preborn baby moves about 50 times an hour, even when s/he is asleep! Awwww…

Dec. 20: Bill felt the baby kick for the first time a few minutes ago!!! She totally bonded with her daddy :-)

Dec. 30: Apparently, leftover gumbo gives the baby hiccups …

Jan. 3: Bill and I SAW the baby move for the first time!!!!!! How awesome to SEE my belly "twitch" and to know it's our little baby girl!!!! Every day I fall more and more in love with her.

Jan. 5: 24 weeks today! Baby Schleicher continues to grow, and all the books say my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball. Niiiiiice.

Jan. 9: Washing Baby's clothes, blankets and bed linens and putting them in storage. I love preparing for her!

Source: CitizenLink
Publish Date: January 13, 2011