Politicians are, in most cases, some of the most eloquent speakers. They are wordsmiths; having the right things to say at the right time. No matter if you like or agree with them, it seems they almost always speak with confidence, intellect and persuasiveness.
Most of the time.
Last Tuesday, the world witnessed an exception to that rule. In a debate over House Bill 1890 in Pennsylvania, Rep. Wendy Ullman said one of the most disrespectful and insensitive statements to any mother, no matter political party affiliation. The bill in question, should it become law, would require all medical personnel to treat the remains of the baby lost in miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion with respect and dignity. You see, for many generations it has been the habit for many in the medical field to label said remains as "medical waste" and treat it as such- meaning many a baby lost that early found its final resting place in a landfill or sewer; swept away before the mother or father even know what has happened, and assured that there was nothing to see.
But we parents aren't concerned about if the doctors and nurses think there is something to see. We want the remains of our children, so that we may bury or cremate them, however we see fit. They are OUR children, and we demand respect for them.
Enter Rep. Ullman... In a moment one can only hope was an utterance of frustration, she argued against the bill. And she took her stand on the backs of mothers who have suffered loss through miscarriage. In outrage, she claimed the bill as bad because as she put it, "an early miscarriage is JUST some mess on a napkin"...
Just "some mess on a napkin"? Rep. Ullman's statement shows EXACTLY why we in the miscarriage community need to continue to raise our voice for the awareness and honor of the lives of our children. Maybe to her, that is all she sees. Maybe to her, our children have no value. But she is not the judge on the worth of our children. Her words echo the ignorance that has plagued our culture for too long. Every child is a precious life created in the Image of God- EVEN those lost in early miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant death... and every child should be treated with dignity and respect. And every parent should have the right to the care of their child's remains, no matter how young they were when they passed away.
Rep. Ullman, I hope that you think about what you have said. I understand the polarity of the issue. But that does not excuse the complete insensitivity to so many parents that now have yet another knife in the heart from your words; words that sting, and attempt to cut away the beauty of our little ones lost too soon.
For us, it is clear that we, as parents of children lost too soon, still have work to do. We must commit that our children's lives are not forgotten and tossed by someone "just doing their job". Let us continue to raise our voice, so that the imprint their tiny feet have made on our hearts can be felt in the world.