Jaime Herrera Beutler Is Undaunted


Ms. Herrera Beutler’s parents, a white mother and a Mexican-American father, made politics part of her life from the start.

Raising her in southwest Washington with her two siblings and three cousins, they home-schooled Ms. Herrera Beutler through ninth grade, in part to keep her close to her Christian faith. As part of the curriculum, the children had to go to the State Capitol every year and march for candidates in local parades.

By the time she was a teenager, she knew she wanted to go into politics.

She graduated from the University of Washington in 2004 and became a legislative aide to Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and in six years, had been elected to Congress herself, a rise described in the local news media as meteoric. When Ms. Herrera Beutler was first elected in 2010 along with a slew of other Republican women, she was 31, and she became the first Hispanic person to represent Washington in Congress.

Before her strong stance against Mr. Trump this year, Ms. Herrera Beutler’s biggest moment in the national news media came in 2013, when she announced that the baby she was expecting, her first, had been diagnosed with Potter Syndrome, a rare — and, at the time, fatal — condition that can develop during pregnancy when there is too little amniotic fluid in the uterus.

The day she received the diagnosis, including an anatomy scan showing that the baby had no kidneys, was “the worst 24 hours of my life,” Ms. Herrera Beutler recalled, adding that she felt “like a tomb.” She went public to share the burden and try to find some kind of treatment, deliberately giving interviews to outlets like People Magazine in hopes of reaching the widest and most apolitical audience possible.

Ms. Herrera Beutler got responses from parents all over the world, and found a doctor at Johns Hopkins University who injected saline into her amniotic cavity. It worked. Abigail, named for Abigail Adams, was born at 29 weeks, had a monthslong stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and then received dialysis for two years, before she was able to receive a kidney transplant from her father, Daniel Beutler.

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