Illuminating the extent to which the fight against the legislation could be waged beyond the District’s borders, representatives from the National Abortion Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Federation of America also attended the news conference.
On hand to bridge both sides of the two-pronged push against the legislation was D.C. resident Christy Zink. In 2009 Zink and her husband had to make what she called “the most difficult decision of our lives,” to have an abortion at almost 22 weeks after an MRI detected a severe abnormality in the fetus she carried that, in effect, resulted in the absence of one side of the brain.
Zink said the condition could not have been discovered any earlier in her pregnancy.
“I am here today to speak out against the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Its very premise — that it prevents pain — is a lie,” Zink said. “If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby who the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain.”
Though activists who support abortion rights would argue that everyone should be able to receive the procedure in their home cities and states, under the circumstances Zink describes she could have obtained an abortion by going to Maryland or another jurisdiction where the procedure is legal.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.