When I first saw this tweet from Planned Parenthood, I laughed at the irony. Then I rolled my eyes. Then, as I thought about it more and read the New York Times article, I got really, really angry.
Excuse me? Don’t get me wrong; I wholeheartedly agree with the use of the term “baby” here. It’s a little perplexing to see Planned Parenthood using it, though, and in the context of celebrating the miraculous birth of a baby who, according to their dogma, should have been aborted.
The tweet from the Maryland Planned Parenthood affiliate links to a story about Baby Boy Royer and the physicians who were the conduit for a miracle. The baby, who was born Friday in Texas, had undergone experimental spina bifida surgery during the sixth month of his mother’s pregnancy. In this experimental procedure surgeons create small slits in the uterus instead of cutting it open, then insert a miniature camera and instruments to perform the operation. A major benefit of that approach is that it is less likely to result in premature birth.
Fortunately Lexi Royer, the baby’s mother, was able to carry him to term. The medical team gathered, hoping to find out that the surgery was successful.
He arrived pink and screaming on Friday at 5:35 a.m., two days before his official due date, weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces, and almost 20 inches long.
Within moments of his birth at Texas Children’s Hospital, he did what his parents and doctors had eagerly hoped to see: He moved his legs and feet, a sign that the operation may have prevented damage to the spinal nerves needed for walking.
The incision on the baby’s back “which previously had the biggest defect the surgeons had ever repaired,” was almost undetectable. Incisions on his sides had not closed completely, but were repaired within hours of his birth. Dr. Larry Hollier, surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital, said (emphasis added):
“I’ve never seen a such a big defect successfully repaired, with the child moving his feet at birth. It’s unbelievable. If this is the cost of getting that closed — just having to do a little skin operation — it’s fantastic.”
Why is Planned Parenthood tweeting out this story talking about a “baby’s” surgery in the womb and the successful surgery giving hope? According to a prior New York Times article about the surgery, Lexi Royer underwent the surgery when her baby was 24 weeks and two days gestation, well within the timelines of when Planned Parenthood wants women to be able to still have abortions – especially if tests have shown that the child has a major birth defect.
The Royers first learned that their son had a major birth defect when she was just 13 weeks along, and Lexi said she felt like the doctors were pushing abortion (or “termination” as the NYT article describes it). She and Mike, her high school sweetheart, had always wanted children, but Lexi has medical conditions which make pregnancy unlikely. She had a miscarriage before this pregnancy, and didn’t want to make a rushed, uninformed decision about abortion.
Additional testing at Texas Children’s Hospital showed the baby “kicking his legs, moving all the way down to his feet,” and other signs that he might be able to walk if surgery was performed. Doctors there also told them there was a good chance the surgery would prevent the need for a shunt. They decided to move forward with the surgery, deciding that “even if he could not walk…needing a wheelchair does not ruin a person’s quality of life.”
I give all of this background not only because it’s a fascinating and inspiring story, but because the things the Royers have said and done during their decision-making process are diametrically opposed to the position of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s literature and actions demonstrate that they would have viewed 13-weeks-gestation or 24-weeks-gestation Baby Boy Royer as, at best, a clump of cells, or, at worst, a potential gold mine of late-term baby organs to sell.
Back in Houston, the infant Planned Parenthood viewed as inventory while he was in his mother’s womb is doing well. Only time will tell how much the spina bifida will affect him, but his parents are hopeful and want to get the word out about the “little skin operation” that changed their lives and brought them their miracle child.