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.
Thank you for spelling out the statistics. I had an abortion in college. I have never wanted to be a mother and do not think it is a good thing to bring and unwanted child into the world.ReplyDelete
I have since found out that carrying the child might have disabled or killed me due to pelvic floor issues and non-plasticity of the cervix.
My decision in college may have been selfish, but then it may have also been self-preservation.
If men were the ones giving birth, you can be damn sure they'd be a whole lot more educated on the subject.ReplyDelete
It’s so true! I hope laws will get more reasonable as more women run for office.Delete
Thanks for spreading truth. People on both sides need to hear this.ReplyDelete
For me, I am in the very uncomfortable middle. I am not in favor of abortion, and would like to see women have other options acceptable to them and no blame or aspersions from society. However, I know everyone is not me, and the circumstances of every pregnancy is different. That is why I do want abortion to be safe, legal and available. Just rare. And in the circumstances of a mother discovering she has a severely malformed child, she should have every option available.
Right, and there should be more access to birth control to reduce abortion rates. That’s why the religious groups who don’t want women to get free birth control from health insurance are so frustrating!!Delete
This is a philosophical problem, not a clinical one, at first. Is the fetus a human being? From what moment? From conception?ReplyDelete
If the fetus is a human being from conception, no voluntary abortion could ever be allowed, for whatever reason (even for rape), because the fetus is innocent. Indirect abortion could be allowed, provided specific conditions, as an unwanted consequence of a treatment done to cure a disease of the mother (e.g. chemotherapy).
Emotions and identity politics should be left out in this discussion, because they are not objective nor universal.
Yes but if the fetus has birth defects incompatible with life, it shouldn’t matter when life begins. A brain dead individual doesn’t have rights, for example.Delete
Luigi, I disagree. The fetus is borrowing the mother's uterus, blood supply and body for 9 months. In no other situation in North America are people mandated to donate body parts whether they want to or not.Delete
Unfortunately, for pro-lifers such as Luigi, there are no gray areas, only black and white. No room for discussion or compromise. I feel like Ms. Donna. If we don't have safe legal abortion, we will have unsafe illegal abortion. And until I can tell you what to do with your testicles, leave my uterus alone.Delete
They're just trying to get their foot in the door. From late term (which is described as horrifically and inaccurately as possible), thence on down the line until they're all banned. As to how it all started, there's some interesting information but my guess is that when the right wants to rile up its base, it's an easy group to marginalize (because no one wants to admit needing an abortion).ReplyDelete
Most (over 90%) of abortion are due to failed birth control. If people want to decrease the number of abortions then they should focus on this with evidence and science base programs to decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies (i.e. increasing birth control options and education).ReplyDelete
Meanwhile, so many of the religious right wants to make birth control LESS accessible to women. Makes no sense if you truly care about reducing abortion rates!Delete
By describing a nonexistent thing such as late term abortion as horribly as possible they can sway uneducated people for votes. Another lie by a president who complains about "fake news" incessantly.ReplyDelete
Not taking a side on the abortion issue online, but if you want an interesting (and sickening) podcast episode, listen to http://swordandscale.com/sword-and-scale-episode-55/ about a doctor who was performing late abortions as recently as 2011 (as well as being completely reckless with his patients, killing babies continuing to breathe and move outside the womb, and being completely unsanitary). This is not the norm by any means but horribly fascinating and disconcerting nonetheless.ReplyDelete