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My gynecologist made a wise and compelling remark the other day.  She said that rather than being banned, late term abortion is THE most important kind to keep legal.  

What many people fail to understand, my doctor said, is that a late term abortion is actually the least likely kind of abortion to be used electively - when it is used, it is nearly always medically necessary.  In her experience, women who have late term abortions have typically learned late in their prenancy that the fetus has a horrendous condition (e.g., hydrocephalus, or a serious neural tube defect, or serious genetic disorder) where the infant probably will not survive, or may survive but with terrible suffering.  Moreover, in some cases (e.g., when the fetus has hydrocephalus), the mother is likely to die in childbirth (and even a ceasarian is highly risky in such cases).  

Yes, the details of the procedure itself are gruesome to envision.  But so are many life-preserving medical procedures.  And more gruesome still are the consequences if such a procedure is withheld from a woman who needs it.  For personal stories of women in this dire situation, see this link.

My point (and it is a very simple one) is that so-called pro-choice people (such as Rudy Guliani) who draw the line at late-term abortion appear to be ignorant about this (rare) procedure and the circumstances under which it is most likely to be used.  

Originally posted to Patience is Not a Virtue on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 07:32 PM PDT.


Are you "pro-choice" but against late-term abortion?

1%3 votes
9%18 votes
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76%140 votes
6%11 votes

| 182 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Amen. (11+ / 0-)

    I call them Mercy Abortions.

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 07:30:48 PM PDT

  •  Yeah. (7+ / 0-)

    It's done for kicks and jollies.

    Who the f**k are these asshole that think this procedure is done in the same way one would have a manicure? Like it's optional for reasons of vanity??

    Sorry. This really makes me crazy.

    •  Never kicks and jollies (6+ / 0-)

      No abortion is ever done for "kicks and jollies" as you know,be it an early term or late term abortion.  It is always a very sad and serious choice that a woman must make,and it must be her choice and her choice alone -- it is her body.  

      I do not know what weapons World War III will be fought with. World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -- Albert Einstein

      by elveta on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 07:39:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just can't understand why the damn (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        latts, elveta, debedb

        government thinks it needs to intrude in the most difficult decision a woman has to make at the worst possible time.

        When did the government get ownership of women's bodies?? When did women revert to being chattel whose lives are controlled by others?

        •  I don't know (9+ / 0-)

          I remember being  a 16 year old girl impregnated by a 32 year old man.  I remember my policeman repub father giving him a free pass. I was obviously the evil 16 year old that seduced this 32 year old man.   These kind of things are very hard to get over.  Especially hard to get over when the father who betrayed you died 3 months after he returned from Vietnam.  There was never any healing.  

          I do not know what weapons World War III will be fought with. World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -- Albert Einstein

          by elveta on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:05:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've watched my wife give birth twice. (18+ / 0-)

    I was on the fence about abortion then I watched my wife give birth twice with three miscarriages in between: two healthy sons , Yea!

    After witnessing this incredibly significant biological event, I completely understand why women have to control their own reproductive rights.

    My hat is of to the women, three cheers and all that!!!

    Fight, Ladies, Fight  I've got your back.

    Never Give Up On Peace!!!

    by Gator on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 07:36:24 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (8+ / 0-)

    This diary really puts this absurdity into perspective.

    How in the hell can one ban a medical procedure on a consenting adult or when it's a medical emergency?


  •  My Sister-In-Law... (14+ / 0-)

    ...was carrying their second child, when the doctor
    found that it had a serious defect that had an even
    chance of the baby being stillborn, and almost as
    bad chance of being born severely disabled. She
    and her husband had no other choice. They had the
    pregnancy terminated.

    A couple of years later, they tried again, and
    our niece, a wonderful, intelligent beautiful
    young lady was born.

    The 5 "justices" should rot in a special part of
    Hell for what they did today...

    •  Wait until the law suits (6+ / 0-)

      start when women are forced to full-term pregnancies in similar situations to this. They're going to shove this back down the Supreme Courts' throat. Or women who die because they're forced to deliver in spite of the health consequences to the mother. This is a black day for women and our control of our reproductive rights, but on a more positive note, now women know what they're up against. The next justice won't get an easy ride.

  •  Thanks for pointing out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, debedb, Albatross

    The importance of this.

  •  Good Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb, Albatross

    Give yourself a tip jar.  

  •  I am generally pro-choice (0+ / 0-)

    but don't know much about the specifics of late term abortions to have an informed opinion. I am not, though, a proponent of having no limits to abortion rights but am not sure how they would apply here.

    •  Thanks for your comment - (0+ / 0-)

      I'm interested in understanding your point of view.  (I imagine that people have different reasons for favoring restrictions.)

      I'm hoping that all who favor restricting only late-term abortions will read this transcript:
      ( and then comment on whether they still feel that way.  

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

      by Patience is Not a Virtue on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:11:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Late term abortions can be regulated by the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      states. the way Roe works is this - first trimester abortions cannot be regulated. Second trimester abortions can have some limitations and third trimester abortions can be banned by the state completely except for situations where the mothers health is at risk. The turning point is viability. Regardless of age, if a baby is born alive, the physician must take all steps to preserve it's life. And while anti-choice folks make the case that viability is moving downward, it really isn't. There is no viability until the lungs can process air - a function we have not figured out how to medically recreate. The vast majority of 3rd term abortions (some years, virtually all of them) and a majority of abortions in the latter half of the second trimester are performed on fetuses which have died in utero. It's the exact same procedure whether the fetus is dead or alive so abortion statistics don't differentiate between the two. Lastly, the single biggest reason given for 2nd term abortions is that the woman could not get the money together during the first trimester to have the abortion done then.

      •  There are no third trimester abortions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        londonbear, kath25

        Third trimester begins at week 28. Late abortions don't go past week 26 in the MOST EXTREME EMERGENCIES. Any procedure performed later than that is almost invariably an issue of the fetus having died in the womb. That's not an abortion by my definition.

        •  It is as far as the medical community is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrblifil, debedb, kath25

          concerned. The procedure is identical whether the fetus is dead or alive. And those abortions of dead fetuses, are where the anti-choice lobby gets their sensational numbers.

          •  Well as far as the medical community is concerned (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            what we call a miscarriage is a "spontaneous abortion." I'm sure the 30 percent of pregnancies that end in miscarriage don't deserve to be included in the abortion numbers either.

          •  This is sad. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            This reminds me of the fiance of a very close friend. With four weeks until the due date, she knew something was wrong. She went to the doctor -- the otherwise perfect child was suddenly dead. She had to immediately be dilated and force out the stillborn baby.

            I wondered today, what would happen to her now? Would she have to wait until her body was ready to push it out? What harm to her might come because of an already stillborn child?

            •  This happened to my mom (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              pre-Roe; her first died in utero at 7+ months' gestation.  Back then they had to use x-rays (!) to check the fetus, and when she was sent to radiology she managed to decipher the doctor's scribbled "potential fetal demise."  I don't know exactly how long she had to wait for the induction-- both parents are now dead & no one alive really has a clear memory of that time now-- but it was over a week, I think, before the hospital had obtained all the necessary permissions that ensured they wouldn't be accused of baby-killing.  Back then they didn't let parents see the body, either... her OB told her (while she was sedated) that he didn't look good, but told my dad that it wasn't that bad.  Still, I wonder if what I grew up thinking of as crude and unenlightened treatment wasn't still a lot better than what we're facing in the near future.

              Anyway, I was born 10.5 months later, so part of my attitude toward reproductive issues is informed by the sheer randomness of it all.  It's usually only significant when I'm debating adoptees born prior to Roe, because the what-if game is both pointless and endless.

              "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

              by latts on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 09:57:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Opinion (11+ / 0-)

    I have to tell you, as a gay man I never really gave much thought to the abortion debate since, for obvious reasons, it would never be an issue for me. But after reading many diaries and opinions today, it is obvious that this is just the right-wing's first step to making medical decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor. Just like Terry Schaivo, they want to impose their views on everyone. I guess I do have an opinion.

    That's the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on a ball. ~Bill Veeck

    by MikeBaseball on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:00:37 PM PDT

    •  Please do, and thank you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MikeBaseball, debedb, kath25

      I, as a straight woman, sure do enjoy going to bat for you.

      And thanks again.


    •  This is how it relates to you. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coigue, debedb, kath25

      Abortion is legal because if it isn't legal, it means that we can demand an individual subordinate their physical well being to the physical well-being of another. Wrap your brain around that.

      And it gets more complicated from there - basically, if we are going to allow someone to demand the resources of someone else's body, we cannot limit that privilege to fetuses. Sure, the fetus the mom's body to live. But what about the three year old who needs a kidney to live down the street from you? If you're a matching donor, why can't the child demand you turn your kidney over to him? He needs it to live, just like the fetus needs the mom's body to live? What's the difference between the two situations? Do we discriminate against people once their born? Does a three year old have less right to live than a fetus?

      You can see where this could get ugly fast.....

    •  It's all about controlling sex. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      latts, MikeBaseball, debedb

      It's all a part of the religious right-conservative-neocon agenda to force sex into the strict definition of one-man, one-woman, under-marriage, for-babys-only.

      I can think of a few points of conflict you might have there. :-)

  •  MSM getting it wrong (as usual) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb, txdemfem

    It is too bad that the MSM is describing this as a defeat for pro-abortion forces. This is a defeat for humanity. This is a defeat for medicine. Most of the people who need these abortions would not have "chosen" to have an abortion; they are forced into it by circumstances, in order to stay alive or to go through the horror of spending months bearing a fetus that they know will die or be hideously deformed. I could easily imagine that an informed person who was not pro-choice would support this type of abortion under most circumstances. This is another example where the right wing has redefined words to mislead people about what is really going on.

    I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

    by lesliet on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:04:47 PM PDT

  •  You left out an option... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thereisnospoon, elie, mnc

    Why didn't you have an option like "I'm against late-term abortion unless it's to protect the life or health of the mother?" You said repeatedly that most of the time it's done under these circumstance, but are those the only circumstances under which they are done?

    •  I talked to the CDC about this a few years ago. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debedb, kath25

      They had done a study and could find no evidence of third trimester abortions being done for any reason except for the health of the mother.  Obviously, during the third trimester, it's induced labor and delivery unless that's physically impossible (which it occasionally it is).

      But what they said was that the vast majority of third trimester abortions were performed on fetuses than had died in utero. The procedures are identical, of course, so abortion statistics do not differentiate between the two. That's where the sensational numbers come from.

    •  I honestly don't know (0+ / 0-)

      but as a data addict, I'm curious.  I'll check with my doctor and a few other sources.

      As for my survey options, I was presuming that the life/health exemption was subsumed under the 4th alternative (health decisions to be made by doctors and patients, not politicians).  But I see your distinction; my alternative was vaguer than yours.  The difference between "All decisions regarding health and pregnancy should be up to doctors and patients, not politicians" and "I'm against late-term abortion unless it's to protect the life or health of the mother" is illustrated by this ranked set of statements

      1. Late-term abortion ok if it saves the woman's life.
      1. Late-term abortion ok if it saves the woman's health.  (Maybe we're both in agreement thus far?)
      1. Late-term abortion is not ok if the woman's health or life is not at stake; the woman should be required to give birth against her will.  

      (This is where I imagine we disagree, as I don't favor restrictions.  I presume people who feel this way may have a variety of reasons, including applying religious values broadly, wanting more children to be born in order to adopt them, wanting to control/punish/etc. etc.)

      Anyway, if we were to leave aside late-term abortions, what kinds of abortion-rights restrictions do you favor?

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

      by Patience is Not a Virtue on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:44:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, I am (0+ / 0-)

    Like most Americans, I am pro-life (I don't think an abortion at any stage is a good thing) and I'm pro-choice (I think a woman should be able to make informed choices about anything that affects her body).  And, like most Americans, I recognize that there is no perfect solution to this quandary.

    The fact that I'm "against late-term abortions" does not mean that I support legally preventing a late-term abortion if the life of the woman is at stake.  I do support legally preventing a woman from having abortion once the fetus is viable, just because she wants one.

    Like most Americans, I don't feel the need to pass a law to prevent everything that I'm against, nor to protect everything that I support.  I am aiming for a democracy, not a country shaped in my own image. I accept the fact that, in a democracy, people are...and should to do things I wish they wouldn't do and to not do things I wish they would.

    The Senate is the last bastion of white supremacy. --Andrew Gumbel

    by Free Spirit on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:09:00 PM PDT

    •  Believe me (5+ / 0-)

      If you were told at week 16 you were carrying a fetus whose brain was growing outside it's skull, you'd weigh your options, no matter your preconceived notions regarding moral quandaries. And you'd want a pretty damn good doctor to be available to you, one that hadn't been hounded out of the field by strict interference from the agents of the state.

      •  Moral quandaries (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not much given to moral quandaries or preconceived notions.  Certainly not to preconceived notions that every quandary is a moral one.

        The Senate is the last bastion of white supremacy. --Andrew Gumbel

        by Free Spirit on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:47:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can only work (0+ / 0-)

          Like most Americans, I am pro-life (I don't think an abortion at any stage is a good thing) and I'm pro-choice (I think a woman should be able to make informed choices about anything that affects her body).  And, like most Americans, I recognize that there is no perfect solution to this quandary.

          with what I'm given.

          •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

            "Quandary" does not equal "moral quandary."  I did not use the term, so if you have it, I didn't give it to you. Someone else did that...probably a long, long time ago.

            The Senate is the last bastion of white supremacy. --Andrew Gumbel

            by Free Spirit on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 09:37:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yikes, sententious much? (0+ / 0-)

              OK so you're quandary is not a moral quandary. So sue me. You don't view holding simultaneous dichotomous views of the abortion issue as a moral stance? You say you're pro-choice and pro-life at the same time. But that's not a moral position? OK fine. Feel free to square that circle any time the urge hits you.

              Are you personally invested in this issue in any way? Have you ever had or caused an abortion? BTW, can you name any examples of people who DO think that abortion at any stage is a "good thing?" I don't know of anyone who thinks having an abortion is much of a fun time. If you care to, please amplify.

              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                I see it as more of a Catch-22-type quandary than a moral one.

                The issue has affected me personally, but I'm not that personally invested in it at this point. Just keeping an easy eye on RvW and the polls, trying to ignore all the rhetoric.

                Fun time.  Reminds me of a conversation with a young male Dem, which started with him informing me earnestly that "No woman wants to have an abortion!" (duh) and ended with him asking me in exasperation, "Well then, what do women want?" (heh)

                Me, personally, I would happily settle for not ever having to hear one more word on the topic from any man, anywhere, any time.

                The Senate is the last bastion of white supremacy. --Andrew Gumbel

                by Free Spirit on Thu Apr 19, 2007 at 07:19:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Choice Statistics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In 2004, 52 percent of voters identified themselves as pro-choice, 41 percent pro-life, according to Gallup Poll trend data. Although the margins have fluctuated slightly, the pro-choice position has remained dominant since 1996, and in the past four years there has been very little change in public opinion. Ms Magazine

      Your comment made me want to dredge up the statistics.

      My take is that I want to STOP all of the things that cause voluntary abortions to occur -- rape, incest, pressure to have sex, lack of access to birth control. But to me, who at age 25 has already known many, many women who have exercised their right to choose (and some who could not, for several reasons), I will say this. The fact that a woman is raped is a tragedy. The fact that she can have an abortion if she gets pregnant is a cause for celebration.

    •  Problem, though... (0+ / 0-)

      I do support legally preventing a woman from having abortion once the fetus is viable, just because she wants one.

      There are no reasonable means of enforcement, really.  Roe already allows states to outlaw most late-stage abortions, with maternal/life health exceptions stated but not fully defined.  Few physicians do these procedures, and while I won't categorically state that all are due to serious medical issues, I doubt that most of these doctors really have the time or the inclination to indulge these trivial-minded straw women anyway.  If there is any real evidence of a particular doctor flouting the usual standards, then an investigation should be done, in basically the same way that law enforcement goes after drug-supplying docs-- checking records, observing referral patterns, building a case.  But any means of ensuring that all later abortions are justified before they happen would be unnecessarily burdensome for women who are really suffering... we shouldn't be setting up abortion tribunals and forcing women to go through some sort of hostile bureaucratic nightmare either.  Basically, the state should set the standards for maternal safety and step out of it unless they have reason to think there's a criminal operation going on.

      "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

      by latts on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 10:07:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Genetic Testing: Nobody does the math (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    markymarx, Fruitcake, kath25, Chacounne

    If you do amniotic fluid testing at the recommended 16-18 weeks (as opposed to the much better CVS testing at 8-10 weeks), news of a genetic anomoly won't be made available to you until week 18-20 AT THE EARLIEST. Then there will be a week of confirming the results, and then scheduling a procedure. It doesn't take a Princeton math major to figure that it is very easy to find oneself in such a position requiring a late abortion past week 20. 90% of bad results from genetic testing result in late abortion, of one kind or another (this is an anecdotal figure told me by a genetic counselor).

    It's rare to get bad news, but it does happen to TONS of people, even if they are a microscopic percentage overall. It happened to my wife and I, and trust me, that was a very wanted pregnancy.

    All that can be done is to amplify our majorities in the House and Senate and repeal this stupid fucking "ban." Perhaps it could be replaced by a ban on sententious armchair diagnostics from warped frustrated old men who are not medical professionals.

  •  i'm against ELECTIVE late-term abortions (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrometheusSpeaks, IM, elie, kath25

    most are non-elective--but as long as we are using "choice" to defend late-term abortions, we are by necessity defending elective late-term abortions, whether we like it or not.

    It's an impossible position, and we'll lose that argument every time.  As we should, because it's dishonest: "We must protect a woman's right to choose in this case, because most of the time there is no choice!"  Huh?

    If it's self-defense, it's self-defense.  Otherwise, it's indefensible.

    •  Name me an example of an elective late procedure (6+ / 0-)

      My wife and I faced a "choice." We could carry to term a baby with a fatal genetic anomoly hoping against hope that we wouldn't be bankrupted in the process. So our decision was elective. Why should the state have any say in whether we MUST carry the fetus to term, knowing what we came to know. Why do you think so many women test for Down's Syndrome? To pick the color of the drapes in the nursery? No, they want the chance to terminate if they don't feel up to the challenge. Should the state REQUIRE them to make that sacrifice?

      See upthread for my analysis of genetic testing scheduling. If Congress made CVS testing mandatory for all women, late procedures would be eradicated.

      •  there are about 1,000 of them a year (0+ / 0-)

        certainly at least a few are elective.  but my point is that calling it an issue of choice, we are essentially defending the ability to have these procedures electively--even if no such are being conducted.

        •  But consider the opposite (5+ / 0-)

          We can't seriously consider siding with people who would force by the power of law a women to carry to term a Down's Syndrome child or a child with Cystic Fibrosis. It's an issue of choice to decide whether to carry to term, it's not the business of the state to require a woman to carry to term for any reason. Santorum's wife decided to carry to term a seriously challenged child who died shortly thereafter. That's fine for them, if that's what they want. The SCOTUS decision takes us one step closer to REQUIRING that ALL women must take that path, be they rich, poor, young or old. That is the inadequacy of the "life of the mother" position. The state should never be in the position of requiring a woman to carry to term, especially this minescule pool of tragically unlucky people.

          •  well, there you get into legal gray area (0+ / 0-)

            i'm not ashamed to admit that I don't really know what my position is on a severely developmentally disabled fetus.

            My only point is that no one should be able to terminate a viable (relatively normal?) fetus in the late stage of pregnancy simply because they "chose" to change their mind.

            And that's the problem with using "choice" to talk about this issue.  Americans want to make sure that these decisions aren't being made flippantly.

            And they are at least occasionally being made flippantly: a relative of mine had an abortion in mid- to late second term simply because she changed her mind and figured it would be too much of a financial hardship.

            That's just wrong, and I oppose that vehemently.

            •  Right and Wrong (0+ / 0-)

              Well mid to late is not really "late" is it? You may choose to apply the judgement of "flippant" but you aren't the one carrying the fetus. Occasionally women in relationships, abusive or non-abusive, are abandoned in the middle of pregnancy and find themselves forced to confront single motherhood.

              We, as her neighbors, are allowed to sit in moral judgement I suppose, but is it really the role of the state to require that she carry to term against her will? It's not a choice many would make, but do we want judges sanctioning doctors who attempt to help her?

              The simple fact is that every late abortion is a pregnancy that advances to late second term is generally a wanted pregnancy gone horribly wrong. It's a right wing canard that women in advanced stages of pregnancy decide "flippantly" to terminate. And frankly, if flippancy is found to be just cause for the state to intervene, what's to prevent state intervention earlier in the pregnancy on the same grounds?

        •  please respond to mrblifil's (0+ / 0-)

          specific situation

        •  Those are mostly the abortions performed on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          fetuses which are dead. The procedure is identical, and the statistics do not reflect whether the festus is dead or alive. The CDC study that I talked to the staffer about was performed to ascertain what specifically was happening there. What they said is that all of the third term abortions that they could track down were performed on dead fetuses. All of them. That was their phrase.

          They were not willing to say that there were never any exceptions to the rule but simply that they could not find them.

    •  What if they are electing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thereisnospoon, debedb

      not to carruy a severely disabled fetus to term. Should they be denied that right?

    •  It is indeed a valid choice. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I know, in my heart of hearts, that I could not have a child with serious abnormalities that would make it impossible for the person to have any real chance at life or legit degree of autonomy. I simply could not. I bless the people that can, but after watching my mother work in a pre-school for children with serious, serious disabilities, I know I do not have it in me. I would adopt a dozen children sooner than I would raise one with serious, serious developmental disabilities.

      Every day I marvel at the people who can handle it. I am amazed. But I know that if at week 22 I found out my child had a disease that might end his or her life extremely early, or would cause undue pain and suffering, I would hesitate only slightly. I do not have it in me, and for the sake of the child I would never want their suffering to be compounded because of it.

      I know it's harsh, but I feel this deeply enough that I must be honest about it.

  •  I (heart) ABORTION! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, coigue, txdemfem, kath25

    I love all types of abortion. It's the best $475 I ever spent.


    by Intercaust on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:20:59 PM PDT

  •  Well (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, coigue, jj32, kath25

    Even though I am not that keen on abortion, I understand why partial birth abortion has to be legal. No credible OB/GYN will perform an elective abortion past 24 weeks, mainly because it is much more intensive; the traditional D&C method, used for miscarriages, which occur in the first few months of pregnancy, is not available. The woman has to undergo two or three days of painful procedures. Unlike first and early second trimester abortions, these late-term procedures are much more labor--no pun intended--intensive. As you indicated the overwhelming majority of these abortions are done when something horrendous has happened. Most likely either the mother will die or the baby has birth defects so severe that death is going to happen anyway. The baby in question is either going to die at childbirth or die soon after. These babies have severe birth defects, like having no brain or heart. So this decision is bad. For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:22:32 PM PDT

  •  Back in the early sixties (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    njgoldfinch, kath25, JeffW

    my aunt had a late term abortion. I believe she was six or even seven months along in her pregnancy. She had a serious heart condition and a team of doctors determined she would not survive the pregnancy. It was not an easy decision to make, for the doctors or my aunt, who desperately wanted the baby. And by every indication the fetus was healthy.

    •  My aunt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My aunt was told she could not survive another pregnancy. They adopted my wonderful cousin instead! What a wonderful addition to the family he is. And I do not doubt that if she accidentally became pregnant (hmm, did she get a tubal ligation? I don't know her well enough to ask) that she would have sorrowfully terminated it.

  •  Term limits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One problem a lot of people have difficulty with is the concept that in one part of a hospital heroic efforts can be made to save the life of a very premature baby but in another there can be an abortion of a foetus at the same gestation age.

    This is particularly the case in the UK where the limit for the normal abortion approval procedure is 24 weeks. What this fails to recognise is that under 2% of abortions here are carried out after 20 weeks. Virtually no babies survive if under 22 weeks and between then and 24 weeks there are very severe risks that a baby will have mental or physical problems if they survive.

    The independent Nuffield Council on Bioethics issued the guidelines Wednesday and set the 22 week cut-off, saying babies between 22 and 23 weeks should not normally be resuscitated unless parents ask for it and doctors agree.

    Such extremely premature births are rare and only about one per cent survive to leave hospital. The babies often develop severe disabilities, since those born before 25 weeks are very susceptible to breathing problems and cerebral hemorrhage because they are physiologically so immature.

    Given this, a good rule of thumb is I feel to have no objection to the free availability of abortions up to this time. I actually believe that unlike the current position here, abortion should be available on demand up to around 20 weeks. Beyond that we get into a grey area where the foetus starts to acquire its own right to life. We therefore need an arbiter to determine the relative risk to the mother and child of continuing the pregnancy to a live birth and the viability and likely quality of life of the foetus. Again, I have no problem if a doctor determines that there is a risk to the life of the mother if it continues.

    No woman treats these decisions lightly and anyone who believes so is eithr a fool or a knave. I can understand the objections of those, especially in the disabled community, who have objections to the abortion of foetuses with handicapping medical conditions but decisions over the quality of life must be left to the potential mother.

    Kneejerk reactions do not come from knees.

    by londonbear on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 08:37:49 PM PDT

  •  A medical decision (0+ / 0-)

    Any sort of decision of this kind is medical, and should be left to the physician and the patient in confidence, not up to the State.  Fascism in here, I fear.

    Warmest regards, Doc.

    •  if I want to sell my kidney for money, should (0+ / 0-)

      that just be a decision between myself and my doctor?  Or should the state intervene?

      What about suicide?  Should that, too, be a decision between myself and my doctor?  Or should there be limits on that?

      What about drugs?  If I want heroin to ease suffering, should the state step in, or should that be up to me and my doctor?

      You see, we put limits on these types of decisions all the time for moral reasons.

  •  Missing poll answer ... (0+ / 0-)

    ..."I pretend to be pro-choice while backing all kinds of exceptions because I really don't think women and their doctors should take that choice thing quite so literally."

    •  ouch, MB, that's undeservedly harsh (0+ / 0-)

      where do you draw the line?

      I think that women should have the choice to do whatever the hell they want to with a first trimester fetus.

      I also think they should be tried for murder if they kill a nine-month old fetus for any reason other than direct threat to the life of the mother.

      I think that late-term abortions are a moral gray area, and that they should only be performed if there's a DAMN good reason for them.  The key question is what constitutes an acceptable reason.

      •  in other words, the realm of "choice" (0+ / 0-)

        should indeed get increasingly restricted as the fetus ages.

        In my perfect world, we would stop being afraid to set a legal standard on when personhood begins.

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