I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: in the U.S., nearly 90% of abortions are performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and less than two percent are performed after 21 weeks.
I got thinking about this when I read posts about an atheist pro-life group on Hemant’s and Libby Anne’s blogs. Now, it sounds like this group has embraced some really terrible attempt at a secular argument that a single fertilized egg cell is a person… but it did make me think about the one plausible secular argument against abortion, the “what’s so magical about birth?” argument aimed at late-term abortions.
There are a lot of things you could say about this argument, but I think the most important thing to say (in a modern U.S. context) is what I said in the first sentence. Third trimester abortions are not where the battle lines are in the current fight over abortion in the U.S., and if you think they are you’ve been duped by anti-choice propaganda. Concern for third-trimester fetuses is a terrible reason to align yourself with those who would deny women the right to control their bodies at every stage of pregnancy.
Also, with late-term abortions being so rare, you’ve got to suspect that the circumstances under which they are happening are pretty damn unusual and an area where the government should be careful about dinking around.