Anti-Abortion Argument #5: No Abortion after Fetal Viability

This post is part of a series of posts addressing arguments made against abortion. The format here is simple: I list a common argument against abortion and then open the floor for my readers to discuss. Without further ado, here’s today’s argument:

No Abortion after Fetal Viability

Abortion in the early stages is ok, but abortion after viability should be restricted because the fetus can live outside the uterus and therefore delivery makes more sense as an option since it ends the pregnancy without harming the fetus.

Please be civil and direct. Remember that I would like the comments section of this post to serve as a resource in the future. You are encouraged to link to articles elsewhere that help address this argument, or to studies or documentation. And don’t be afraid to respond to each other, to play the devil’s advocate, or to simply ask questions.

After a week I will close the comments sections on this post, and will choose the comments I consider clearest and most interesting and add them to the end of the OP (with full credit, of course).

So. Discuss!

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Jason Dick

    This is a more sensible position to take than most of the anti-abortion positions. However:

    1. This absolutely should never be used as an excuse to place any limits on abortions before about 30 weeks or so. If somebody wants to limit abortions based upon fetal viability, and yet still wants to stop abortions sooner than that, they are just playing a game of bait-and-switch.
    2. Having an abortion is still less risky for the woman than carrying the fetus to term. We do not require people to risk their lives for others in any other situation in life. Why require it here?
    3. The vast majority of late-term abortions are done for rather serious reasons anyway. Why would a woman carry a pregnancy for that long, with all of the morning sickness, back pain, cravings, health risks, etc. that that entails, without having an abortion if they never intended to carry the fetus to term? Placing additional barriers for people who seek such emergency abortions is just plain cruel.

  • Rilian

    If it doesn’t pose any extra danger to the woman, I guess….

  • jose

    Fetal viability is achieved at 24 weeks, so by most definitions, the argument refers only to late term abortions, which are already performed only when the fetus can’t live or the life of the mother is threatened. I’m not sure this even qualifies as an argument against abortion.

    • Tracey

      Actually, it’s a crap-shoot whether the fetus will survive at 24 weeks, and if it does, there’s a huge chance it will be profoundly mentally and physically disabled. When I was pregnant, the wisdom was that you could stop worrying at 32 weeks; after that point, there was a 95% chance of a good outcome.

    • Tracey

      Actually, it’s a crap-shoot whether the fetus will survive at 24 weeks, and if it does, there’s a huge chance it will be profoundly mentally and physically disabled. When I was pregnant, the wisdom was that you could stop worrying at 32 weeks; after that point, there was a 95% chance of a good outcome. My oldest was born at 34.5 weeks because of life-threatening HELLP Syndrome and things were touch-and-go for several weeks.

  • Jaynie

    Almost no elective abortions occur at this point anyway (in fact, the vast majority of elective abortions occur before 10 weeks). If a pregnancy reaches 24 weeks in a society where abortions are readily available, we can generally assume it is a wanted pregnancy. If elective abortions are happening at this time, it tends to meant that either a) the fetus has a congenital defect; b) the mother is suddenly financially unable to care for a child, or c) the mother could not access abortion services earlier. C) is quite easily solved, but not in the way pro-lifers would suggest. B) is a serious concern, but might be reduced with better social support for mothers, especially poor mothers (which, oddly enough, many pro-lifers are against).

    A) is a very serious concern for two reasons. It may be that the fetus has a congenital defect that will cause the future child to live a life of pain and suffering, possibly with no hope of a cure or even reasonable good health. This fetus is still technically viable, so would not fall under the common exceptions, but abortion may still be the kindest option. In this case, people who favour quality of life over quantity of life will tend to favour abortion.

    The other possibility is that the fetus has a defect that is manageable, but that would require a degree of parental care the parent(s) cannot provide. Again, this is partly linked to finances, but other factors are at play. Some people do not have the emotional or mental capacity to care properly for a special-needs child. In this case, too, abortion may be kinder than bringing a child into a world where its unique needs will not be met.

    Please don’t imagine I’m suggesting we abort all special-needs children. Many people make wonderful parents to special needs children and can provide them with environments they excel in. But some people will not, and I believe it is cruel, both to parents and to child, to force them upon each other, so that the parents will be unable to cope and the child will be under-nurtured.

    Adoption in case A would be extremely difficult, so please don’t pretend it would be as simply as giving birth to a trisomy 18 child and giving her up for adoption.

    • Zme

      Don’t forget:
      (d) The pregnant woman’s* life/long term health is threatened by allowing the fetus to develop.

      BUT, I am of the opinion that the woman can choose to evict the fetus at any time for any reason or for none. The doctor performing the procedure can make it an abortion or a birth. If he chooses the latter then the state/facility is responsible for the post natal care.

      *I say “pregnant woman” because, until she has a live birth, she is NOT a mother.

      • Jaynie

        I hadn’t forgotten that but I wasn’t counting that as an “elective” abortion. I kind of figured that anyone making the above argument would be OK with abortion in the life-of-mother scenario, though that might have been an unwarranted assumption.

        I agree that a woman can do what she wants with her body, for whatever reason. I just hoped it might be helpful to someone to consider what those reasons might be, since so many prolifers seem to assume that ALL late-term abortions are used as birth control just for funsies. Perhaps if they can see it isn’t so simple, some might be inclined to give women the benefit of the doubt. #wishfulthinking

    • chris buchholz

      I think since people aren’t getting “elective” abortions, then this is a law in search of lawbreakers. So before enforcing it, we really should do a cost/benefit analysis. Will the costs to women and society outweigh the benefits?

      I think your case C is where it really comes into play. Any sort of test or analysis to determine viability will mean extra time needed. If the says no elective abortions at a certain point, then you couldn’t just trust the woman who says her fetus is younger than that, you’d need to verify (just because she hasn’t gained weight isn’t enough since we’ve all known exceptions). That means extra time waiting for your abortions, which means delayed abortions, which means more abortions later in time rather than sooner, and the number of late elective abortions will actually go up, not down.

  • Niemand

    Two immediate problems I have with this argument:
    One, what do you mean by “viability”? If you mean the earliest age any fetus anywhere has been alleged to survive outside the uterus for more than a few seconds, no matter how bad the long term outcome, that’s a very different thing from if you mean the age at which a reasonably good outcome is probable. There are case reports of 21 week old fetuses surviving, but with horrific damage. And, of course, the age varies depending on other factors. To give a simple example, a small for gestational age 25 week fetus might have a worse chance than a normal 23 weeker. For a real life example, look up Angela Carder: an example where predictions of fetal viability were used against the will and interests of the mother and where the fetus had absolutely no chance of surviving, despite being in the “viable” age range.

    Two, if a third trimester pregnancy is being ended early by any means other than induction of labor, which gives the fetus at least a shot at survival, all else being equal, it is likely that something has gone badly wrong and either the mother’s life is at much higher risk from inducing labor than from an alternate method or the fetus is so grossly deformed that a labor and delivery is flat out impossible. For example, severe hydrocephalus with anencephaly. Don’t google image that term. Just don’t. (Note that milder cases of hydrocephalus can be treated, survive, and live normal or near normal lives. But not every case.) The only alternative to a D and X or D and E abortion might be c-section delivery through such a large incision that future fertility is compromised or even simply gone.

    If not restricting abortion in the third trimester means if the infamous woman who wants an abortion at 39 weeks because she doesn’t like the weight gain does get her abortion, well, that’s better than hundreds of women losing their lives or fertility I’m ok with that compromise.

    • piny

      You know, I agree with most of what you’re saying, but I don’t agree that the final stages of pregnancy are just about a little extra pregnancy. You have to give birth. Even in this day and age: labor is pretty agonizing and exhausting. Even a perfect delivery still involves pushing a baby out of your body headfirst. And if that isn’t an option, you’re having major surgery that may complicate every subsequent delivery. That’s a hell of a lot worse than a few extra pounds, isn’t it?

      I don’t think we have the right to force that on women. I think it’s dehumanizing to tell a woman that there is a point beyond which she can be forced to give birth; I think it’s a terrible burden to place on fertility, and I think it sabotages a patient’s relationship with her physician. And I think that, as many posters have pointed out, this is essentially moot: no one carries an unwanted pregnancy around any longer than they have to, and women seeking abortion have zero incentive to delay abortion until late in the pregnancy.

      • Cluisanna

        I don’t really see where Niemand said that it’s only about a little extra pregnancy?

  • http://thewordsonwhat.wordpress.com/ Rob F

    As mentioned in Dan Boonin’s book “A Defence of Abortion” (an undoubtedly zillions of other documents) using viability as the cutoff point leads to a serious problem. If viability is when a fetus gets a right to life, then in certain countries, medical technology is available that allows a fetus to survive earlier than one of the same gestational age that is born in other countries. Therefore, the viability point is different in different countries. This leads to the serious problem: If viability is when a fetus acquires a right to life, then since viability is at different times in certain countries, it means that, all else equal, a fetus past viability in one country but before it in another country would have a right to life in the first country but not the second. But it is strange and counter-intuitive to suppose that a fetus right to life is dependent on where it is.

    • Monimonika

      Then again, there are already age restrictions for certain activities that differ from country to country (and even state to state within the USA). Marriage, consent to sex, driving, smoking, drinking, running for office, etc. are just a few examples. Yes, right to life is on the extreme end of the spectrum of rights, but it’s murky how far this spectrum goes and how it is ordered.

  • Gordon

    This, again, is less an argument against abortion than against waiting periods.

  • rookieatheist

    In my opinion, this is an important argument because this is where anti-abortionists find a way to end a conversation/debate on abortion rights. As soon as a pro-choice person argues that a “viable” (read “late term”) fetus can be aborted, even the most moderate anti-abortionist will think “baby killer” and walk away. Moreover, about three fifths of the pro-choice population are not in favor of allowing abortions in all cases (inferred from Pew 2012 study). When asked specifically about the last three months of pregnancy, it looks as if only about one fifth to a quarter of those who identify as been pro-choice think it should be generally legal. (inferred from a Gallup poll). This means that a large proportion of pro-choice voters appear to believe that a late term fetus is probably too human to be aborted. (although many of those people would not be against abortion in cases of risks to the woman’s health).
    So I think the argument on viability is important because it’s where the pro-choice movement no longer speaks as a whole and is probably very divided. This will probably not be obvious in everyday situations, because the issues are often more about the threats against Roe Vs Wade, access to morning after pills, and insurance, etc., which are all issues where the pro-choice movement is united.
    Of course, the argument about viability is itself more of a red herring. Defining “viability” is fundamentally a medical and scientific act, and yet those who are anti-abortion will be the first to disregard any medical or scientific evidence that contradicts their position. However, it’s a red herring that is probably capable of packing a heavy punch for the reasons I tried to point out above.
    (I’ve just realized that part of the main argument posted by Libby was that delivery could be an alternative to abortion, which makes a lot of my post redundant).

    Disclaimer: I’m a guy, don’t live in the US (live in France), and am writing this from my armchair late at night. That’s how the Internet works.

    • Rilian

      Humans are 100% human from the moment of their conception. Saying it’s “too human” to be aborted doesn’t make any sense. I think if someone tries to argue this, they probably really mean “it looks too much like me, so I feel irrational empathy for it”, or maybe maybe they mean “it probably has a will to live and can experience pain,” which is not a crazy point, but not the trump card either.

      • Saraquill

        How can something that doesn’t have a head or internal organs be 100% human?

      • Cluisanna

        @Saraquill – the same way that someone who is missing legs is also human. Of course a fetus isn’t a human adult or human child, but it is a human being. (Which doesn’t mean it’s a person.)

  • Niemand

    I have an analogy of why banning third trimester abortion is a bad idea, even if third trimester abortion is “baby killing”, but I’m not sure it works entirely, so if anyone has feedback…

    Start with a pretty undeniable premise: Waking up in the middle of surgery is a bad thing. Everyone understands this, right? No arguments? Let me add a little additional horror: There are two parts of surgical anesthesia: the sedative, which puts you to sleep and the paralytic, which keeps your muscles from reacting in ways that could be dangerous. It is possible that only the sedative would be off, leaving the person paralyzed and feeling everything that the surgeons did. Horrified yet?

    So, waking up during surgery is bad. Surely no one disputes that. Then why not make a law against it? If no sane person would do it anyway, what’s the harm? Surely we’d want any evil anesthesiologist who might be out there and doing this punished, right?

    Except that there are circumstances where you want someone awake during surgery. Yes, I know I just spent a paragraph establishing how horrible that thought is, but stay with me a minute. The example I have in mind is epilepsy surgery. The surgeons put the patient to sleep for the painful part of the surgery (removing the skull) then wake the patient so that s/he can respond as the surgeon stimulates different parts of the brain. When the right part is stimulated, the patient will experience their seizure aura and the surgeon can ablate only that part of the brain, minimizing the damage and the chances that the patient will experience clinical effects. Without the awake patient, a much larger part of the brain would have to be removed and the patient would experience more symptoms due to brain damage. So banning waking patients up during surgery would mean banning a safer surgery in favor of a less safe one (“partial abortion ban” anyone?)

    Depending on how the law was written, it might also ban-accidentally or purposely-surgery in which general anesthesia is not used, i.e. surgery under epidural anesthesia or even under local (i.e. mole removal with lidocaine.) This would mean that people would have fewer options when faced with a need for surgery and that their (often) safest option would be removed.

    Oh, and the anesthesiologist who was waking patients up for fun? Sued for malpractice and fired long ago. There are general purpose laws to prevent medical abuse and therefore little or no need to outlaw every possible abuse.

  • Saraquill

    Being a premature baby is no walk in the park, and who is going to pay for the treatment of the child? If the child was unwanted as a fetus, it makes little sense that the woman the fetus/child came from should foot the bill.

    • Rilian

      It would have to be at someone else’s expense definitely. With the current system, it’d be the government, using money they take from anyone who ever has a job or buys things; or it would be private adoption. Idk how common each kind is.

    • Lizzy

      Adoption is often bandied about as the cure all to abortion. Interestingly enough, many adoptive parents back out of adoptions if they learn that the infant is ill, sometimes even for minor sickness, or has a birth defect. These babies are then either cared for by mothers who don’t want them or are thrust into a system that is already over burdened that thousands of children available for adoption. I have a hard time imagining that potential adoptive parents who want a perfect family are going to line up to take on the expense and risk of caring for an extremely premature infant who may or may not survive and if so may face life-long impairments.

      • ABaker

        Another point as relates to adoption is that the American adoption system is broken. Not only do the vast majority of children offered for adoption never get adopted and end up in orphanages or the foster care system, even the ones who are adopted aren’t protected. Meaning that once the adoption is finalized, there’s nothing that can be done if the adoptive parent turns out to be abusive. And there aren’t even home visits for the first several years (like there would be in a foster care situation) to verify the welfare of the child.

  • Lizzy

    I will admit that I feel uncomfortable with idea of aborting a health pregnancy in the later stages. Once a fetus is viable, I feel like it has crossed a line towards personhood. That said, I don’t favor restrictions on abortion because the reality of late-term abortion is often grim. People do not willingly wait until the week before their due date and then decide that the whole parenthood gig seems like too much work. Most of the pregnancies terminated at that point have something horribly wrong, either with the mother or with the fetus and I cannot stomach telling another person what to do in what must be a gut wrenching situation, nor do I want to make it harder for those women to obtain the care they need. Though they are rare, I’m sure that there will be some late-term abortions that I would feel are not justified. I would prefer that some people game the system than to punish the majority who need help and who may face unnecessary challenges as a result of restrictions. Who am I to judge another woman’s decision? I don’t think that any woman has ever aborted a healthy pregnancy at 39 weeks to give herself more time to trim down for her beach vacation that would be spoiled by a baby. I trust women to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families, even if occasionally that trust is misplaced.

    • Tracey

      It’s very much an anti-choice meme where I live that, “Women abort ONE MINUTE BEFORE BIRTH, and they do it ALL THE TIME!!!!Eleventy-one!!!” Facts don’t dissuage them.

      • Nea

        On another blog, a guy kept wanting to have an “academic” discussion of precisely when a baby could be considered “born” and would we pro-choicers be okay with aborting it when labor started/it was “only” crowning/before the cord was cut/blah. He was so vested in trying to get one of us to say something that he could yell “Gotcha!” over that he ignored all the women repeatedly telling him that no one would abort during labor and birth.

  • Uly

    I’m actually fine with that… with a very strict definition of “viability”.

    If the fetus/infant would require extreme help to survive outside the womb, it does not count as “viable” to me for the purpose of limits on abortion. It might count as viable for the purpose of “this is a wanted baby, let’s do what we can to keep our baby alive”, but as our technology gets better and our abilities get better, that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to put the cut-off for elective abortions earlier and earlier.

    Also, obviously, a fetus that can not survive outside the womb anyway – say, one that’s already dead or that has such severe disabilities that survival really isn’t an option – should not be counted as “viable”. It’s an unfortunate thing for the parents, of course, because if it comes to that so late term we can generally assume somebody wanted the baby, but there it is. Those aren’t elective abortions at any rate.

  • Rookie Atheist

    This is just to say that I really liked Lizzy’s comment (#15) above. I’m slowly starting to realize that the whole issue of late term abortions and fetus viability is a strawman tactic by anti-abortionists. Unfortunately it’s all too easy for those on the pro-choice side to fall for it. PZ Myers recently went so far to say that even if the fetus was writing poetry in the womb, that birth should still be the dividing line for a woman’s right to choose. That to me is an absurd statement to make and just goes to show how easily it is for the “debate” to degenerate into silliness.

    • LeftSidePositive

      What’s wrong with what PZ said? He made a strong argument for bodily autonomy. All you did was call it “absurd.” Well, doesn’t that contribute to the philosophical weight of the discussion!? He is NOT falling for the anti-abortion strawman–he’s saying that it doesn’t MATTER, because no one is obligated to donate their body to another person, no matter how sentient. What about that is “silliness”? Which poetry-writing persons do you generally allow to use other people’s organs against their will?

  • thalwen

    I don’t know any doctor that would perform an abortion on a viable pregnancy that was purely elective for fear of lawsuits and insurance risks alone. No sane woman goes through months of pregnancy to decide that she suddenly doesn’t want it there are reasons and good ones – like the life and health of the mother. Of course, to the antis, the life and health of a mother, the health of the baby once its born, the life of the baby once its born are all “distractions” and “excuses” from women trying to get out of their punishment for having sex.

    The problem with viability is when do we define viability. Foetuses develop at different rates, when once foetus might be viable at 25 weeks, another might not be. That is a medical decision, as is the question to deliver, or abort the pregnancy. Also, what foetus is viable? Is one that will live only minutes outside the womb viable? Is one that will live five years, regressing daily until its inevitable death viable? When antis talk about disabilities, they always show the cute Down Syndrome kids who grow up to have semi-independent lives, not the child that will live in pain until an early death, not the child that has so little brain function or such severe impairment that they will need 24 care for the rest of their lives.

    This is why we have doctors, legislatures are ill equipped to make such decisions because a law requires the kind of specificity that the human body cannot accommodate. Especially when those laws are made based on the basis of anti choicers’ fantasies of women choosing to abort healthy babies right before they’re due than on the basis of the reality of late term abortions.

    • Tracey

      I am the cousin to a profoundly disabled adult; she’s got the mental age of about 9 months old, but she’s mobile. She can’t be toilet-trained, can’t be reasoned with, and nobody’s sure if she even knows her own name. She is violent and has no problem lashing out and causing injury when unhappy–and she’s unhappy most of the time because she can’t communicate. My uncle bailed as soon as they got the medical diagnosis (which is usually what happens), and my aunt was left a single parent to raise this child and two normal ones.

      Not once, NOT EVEN ONE SECOND, has any anti-choice group stepped in to offer a hand–a casserole dinner, homework help for the other two children, or even a hour’s babysitting so my aunt could take a shower or go to the grocery store alone. Once special-needs children are born, the supposed “pro-lifers” lose all interest.

  • Ariel

    The only special thing about viability as a date that I can see, as opposed to (say) higher brain function, is that after viability a woman can choose to stop being pregnant without an abortion. A post-viability ban can still somewhat respect the right to bodily autonomy if it takes the form, “After N weeks you must, if medically possible, end the pregnancy by labor induction rather than abortion”. The other interesting thing is, the end of the second trimester is also about when an elective abortion becomes more dangerous than childbirth, and there’s an obvious argument why that point is a good point to start banning abortions. Post-viability bans are still telling women what they have to do to their bodies, but mandating one medical procedure instead of another is less odious than months of forced pregnancy.

    The main reasons I think post-viability bans are bad ideas, though, are reasons of practicality. As Niemand says, medical complications are many and varied, and it’s always possible that there might be some reason the legislators haven’t thought of why this particular woman should have an abortion rather than an induction. As Eamon mentioned, one such situation is severe hydrocephalus with anencephaly, where (if I recall correctly) the options are maternal death, abortion of some form (of which intact dilation and extraction is probably the safest), and a C-section (more dangerous than an abortion) followed within a week or so by the baby dying. Safe natural childbirth isn’t possible.

    The point is, some pregnant women do find themselves in a situation where an abortion is their safest option, even late in pregnancy. Once you start banning these procedures, you put physicians in a position where they make medical decisions not on the basis of “what is best for my patient”, but “what is least likely to get me arrested by an overzealous policeman who happens to be pro-life”. And even if a post-viability ban is designed to have maternal life and health exceptions, laws do get used in ways the legislature never intended–many of the laws used to prosecute women for having miscarriages weren’t intended to be used that way. So while I can see the argument that women shouldn’t have abortions after viability, the problem with the argument that post-viability abortions should be illegal is that it is likely to inadvertently prevent some procedures that really are in everyone’s best interest.

    • Ariel

      Also any American post-viability abortion ban has one of two problems: it was drafted by pro-lifers, and therefore has as few maternal health exceptions (which they view as loopholes that women can wrongly exploit) as the courts will let them get away with, or it was drafted by pro-choicers, and therefore doesn’t exist. A law that banned any abortions at all but that still had adequate protections for people in bad individual situations would necessarily be a compromise between pro-lifers and pro-choicers, and compromises are hard to achieve in the current American political situation.

  • Emma

    I think we can all agree (at a bare minimum) that, if a late-term abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother, it should be allowed.

    But here’s a relevant question: how often is that the case? What I mean is, if a life- or health-threatening condition arises at a point in pregnancy when the fetus is viable, is there a medical reason why the doctors would have to abort the pregnancy, instead of, for example, inducing early labor or performing a c-section, and treating the fetus like a premature baby? I do not know how a late term abortion would work, so there may be some medical reason why that would make more sense for the mother that I don’t know about.

  • Kelly

    I used to feel strongly against late term abortions except in the case of health of mother. Then I learned that even if your fetus is dead, the *medical* procedure is still the one that *antis* call an abortion. Then the shooting of one of the few late term abortion doctors happened and someone linked to the site a Heartbreaking Choice. http://www.aheartbreakingchoice.com/Default.aspx It changed me. Are there instances where I cringed and wished there was a different outcome — yep. But I don’t want to take these women’s options away. Then there was a very popular youtube of a couple that took a child to term who had very severe birth defects — knowing he may live days or months. The whole time, he was sick and dying. While I wish the little one did not have to suffer, I do not want to take that *choice* away from his parents.

    It is hard for me sometimes. I am a baby that many would have aborted had they known. I was born with my intestinal sack outside of my body and my intestines had not flipped into position (omphalacele with malrotated gut). The survival rates for these issues is *much* higher than it was in 1968. At that point, no one like me had survived in our metropolitan area (this was pre sufficient iv nutrition) My father was given the *choice* to proceed with surgery or not.

  • http://quinesqueue.blogspot.com Quine

    The comment I made on argument #4 about picking a point on a development process also applies here to argument #5. We will not find a bright line moment for application of law. There was a great article written long ago by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan that still applies directly to this discussion.

  • http://thechurchproject.yeahmyfoot.com Tracey

    ABaker, I feel like I have to correct you. Of course there’s not “nothing they can do” if a parent- adoptive or not -is abusing a child. The foster system is meant to take kids out of situations involving abuse. It’s important for people who notice this to report it so it can be followed up. Also want to point out my husband and I are pursuing adoption and the training and paperwork are extensive. The agency is putting us through the wringer trying to make sure we would be great parents. A good agency doesn’t hand out babies willy nilly. Most adoptive parents face a waiting period of several years and expenses to finalize in the tens of thousands of dollars, so adoptive parents aren’t taking babies willy nilly either. Most of these “vast majority” of waiting children you speak of are older children and/or severely disabled. Babies generally don’t wait because there are too many infertile couples wanting children.

    BTW, I am a Tracey with a link. It is nice to see another Tracey here with my same spelling.

  • Staceyjw

    I don’t know if this fits here, as it was 2nd trimester, at the edge if viability. However, I think it needs to be widely shared, because too many people demonize moms that make choices to end pregnancies later term. This fetus had defects, but would have lived, so technically it was elective.
    Please read:
    http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/what-late-term-abortion-looks-like/

  • lawstudent

    Doctors get arrested for late terms all the time. A quick google search shows it.

    The idea that “no one would do it” is a weak argument since some do, and one dosn’t have to punish all to stop the ones that do it for non-medical reasons, just write it into law to only be allowed for those reasons.

    Those who want unlimited abortions will repeat “its not needed, and those who want it will find a way anyways”, but by that excuse nothing should be illegal ever.

    • Amyc

      If you really are a law student, then you would know that statutory law is not always written perfectly and is not always used in the way it was intended. You would also know that there are a myriad of laws being used today, right now, to investigate and criminalize miscarriages and deaths of infants following birth. There is no way to write the perfect exception for medical reasons, because as somebody else put it earlier “medical problems do not conform to the specificity required by law.” Who would decide which abortions were legal and which weren’t? Hospital staff? A committee? Would every woman’s heart-wrenching decision to end a pregnancy late term be investigated, their grief compounded further, to make sure they were in compliance with the law?


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