I was recently talking to a friend of mine named Joe who works in health care and is an intelligent, well-educated person. The subject of abortion came up and Joe told me he was pro-choice, but...
Joe: "I just don't think women should be allowed to have abortions at 37 or 38 weeks pregnant. That's just wrong."
I think I gasped audibly and said, "Oh no!" I didn't understand how a smart guy in healthcare could believe women were having abortions two weeks before delivery. Or putting it another way, that there are doctors out there who are effectively willing to murder full term fetuses.
Donald Trump said it during a debate though. And while people did point out that this ridiculous, I always felt like a big enough deal wasn't made out of this. Our presidential candidate believed women are allowed to have abortions at full term. How can we brush that off?
I calmly tried to explain to Joe why this logic made no sense, and he quickly said, "I don't want to talk about it anymore." And.... that was the end of the discussion.
Now I am someone who sympathizes with people who are genuinely pro-life. I have female friends who believe life starts at conception, and can talk intelligently on the subject. I am willing to listen to anyone who does not just want to ban abortion as a way to punish women for having sex. But the issue of late term abortion is one that I think is confusing to a lot of people, and I genuinely believe that very few of the politicians, especially the ones trying to ban abortion after 20 weeks, really understand anything about it.
This is an incredible article by an OB/GYN about late term abortions. Here are the highlights:
1) Late term abortions make up about 1% of all abortions, so banning them does not really reduce abortion rates much.
2) 80% of late term abortions are for serious birth defects, many of which are incompatible with life. Should politicians really get to decide if women have to spend four months with a baby with no brain in her uterus? Why is that even a political issue???
3) Most of the remaining 20% are for serious maternal health reasons.
4) After 24 weeks, abortion is NEVER performed. Delivery is always attempted.
Essentially, these politicians want to keep women with the most heartbreaking situations (tragic birth defects, life-threatening conditions) from getting medical treatment. I can't figure out any way to justify it other than ignorance about late-term abortions.