Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Third Trimester Abortions and the Law

First, I recommend that you bookmark the Abortion Law Homepage for future reference.

In a nutshell:

1. Roe vs. Wade, the most famous abortion case, allowed no "restrictions" on abortion in the first two trimesters. For the third trimester, the states were allowed to make some restrictions -- as long as they allowed abortions for "health" reasons. The companion decision, Doe vs. Bolton, then defined health so broadly that really, anything could suffice:

[M]edical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.


I must point out at this point that prior to Roe and Doe, there was no such thing as a third trimester abortion. Abortion was, by definition, killing the fetus prior to viability. So post-viability abortions were not only invented but enshrined as a supposed Constitutional right.

And unless you define "health" so broadly as to include family concerns (which no doubt would include financial considerations), the whole idea of a post-viability "health" abortion is nonsensical on its face. If a pregnancy is endangering the mother's life or health, the standard of care has been to induce labor or perform a c-section, based on the woman's particular needs. With a c-section, the baby can be out of the womb and in the NICU within the hour, the pregnancy is over, and the mother can be cared for by medical professionals. It's nonsensical to say that it would preserve her "health" or her life to take additional steps to ensure that the fetus emerges dead.

The only logical reason to perform a post-viability abortion -- to stop during delivery to kill the baby -- is to achieve the death of the fetus, either for social reasons or because the baby has a disability of some sort.

Again, a "health" justification for a post-viability abortion is nonsensical, but because of Roe and Doe, the states must include them in order to pass Constitutional muster. Occasionally you'll see an old pre-Roe law still on the books that 's not enjoined, either because there are no abortionists in that state who want to perform late abortions, or because the law isn't being enforced so there's no point in going to court over it.

2. As the Abortion Law Homepage notes, after the Webster decidion in 1989 and the Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision in 1992, the Supreme Court allowed states to put some regulations (such as waiting periods or informed consent) into place, and allowed the states to be a bit firmer about exactly what constituted "health". Still, no state can actually ban third trimester abortions, because if this "health" requirement in Doe.

3. So now we have a hodge-podge. Public Agenda shows a map based on information from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-advocacy organization.

For specifics, I'll turn to NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion-advocacy organization co-founded by Bernard Nathanson (who later repented) and Larry Lader (who remained proud of his abortion activities up to his death). I heartily recommend browsing these pages and comparing the laws as written with abortion as practiced in those states. You'll find that the laws are routinely broken in many states. In New York, for example, a second physician is supposed to be present when abortions are done past 20 weeks. The only real effect of these laws is to make it very difficult for women injured in abortions past 20 weeks to sue, because the lack of the second physician makes the abortion illegal, and the woman therefore can't sue for damages she incurred while she was doing something illegal -- even though the woman would not know that the abortion was technically illegal. One abortionist got out of having to settle with the family of a 12-year-old girl who was left blind and sterile after her abortion because of this manipulation of the law.

Sample post-viability abortion restrictions as of this writing are as follows (verbatim from NARAL). Notice that if the state just has a "health" exception to their "restriction", then it is the Doe definition of health, which could be anything the woman wants it to be. It's only when the legislatures start to be specific that NARAL starts to object that the "restriction" is objectionable. I clicked on every 10th state, plus Utah (because I know that their post-viability restriction is enjoined by the courts and thus can't be enforced) and Kansas (where George Tiller does abortions on all comers, regardless of gestational age, all justified on "health" considerations -- thus Kansas has in effect no post-viability restriction; it's all in how the states choose to enforce the laws).

  • Florida: Florida's post-viability restriction provides that no abortion may be performed in the third trimester of pregnancy unless two physicians certify in writing that the abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or health. If an abortion is performed during viability, the physician must "use that degree of professional skill, care, and diligence" most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus except that "the woman's life and health shall constitute an overriding and superior consideration to the concern for the life and health of a fetus when such concerns are in conflict." Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111(1), (4) (Enacted 1978; Last Amended 1998; Last Renumbered 1998).

    NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions, such as Florida's, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the life and health of the woman. NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Florida's law because it is unconstitutional to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortions by defining viability at the third trimester of pregnancy. A state may not prohibit abortion prior to viability, which is that point at which a fetus is capable of "meaningful life" outside of a woman's body. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973). Because viability is a point that varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age. Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379, 388-89 (1979).

  • Kansas: Kansas' post-viability abortion restriction provides that no abortion may be performed after viability unless the attending physician and another financially and legally independent physician determine that an abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or continuation of the pregnancy would cause a "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" of the woman. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 65-6703(a) (Enacted 1992; Last Amended 1998). The Kansas Attorney General has interpreted this exception to include mental health. Op. Kan. Att'y. Gen. 2000-020.

    Holding that no case or controversy existed because no one had been prosecuted under the post-viability ban, a state court dismissed a lawsuit brought by Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, challenging its constitutionality. Tiller v. Mitchell, No. 81,285 (Kan. Sept. 30, 1998). However, the state later charged Dr. Tiller with violating the ban, and Dr. Tiller is currently challenging the ban's constitutionality in a motion to dismiss these charges. Complaint, State v. Tiller, No.07CR2112 (18th D. June 28, 2007); Motion to Dismiss, State v. Tiller, No. 07CR2112 (18th D. Jul. 2, 2007).

    In addition, Kansas bans the performance of certain post-viability abortion procedures (not including the suction curettage procedure, suction aspiration procedure, and certain dilation and evacuation procedures). Kan. Stat. Ann. § 65-6721 (Enacted 1998). This ban provides that performance of certain post-viability abortion procedures is a felony, unless the physician and another legally and financially independent physician determine that the abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or that continuation of the pregnancy would cause a "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major physical or mental function" of the woman.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the life and health of the woman. NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Kansas' post-viability restrictions because the health exceptions are dangerously narrow.

  • Maine: may be performed after viability unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or health. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1598 (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1993).

    NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions, such as Maine's, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the life and health of the woman.

  • New Hampshire: No restrictions on post-viability abortion.

  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island's post-viability abortion restriction provides that no abortion may be performed on a "quick child," defined as "an unborn child whose heart is beating, who is experiencing electronically-measurable brainwaves, who is discernibly moving, and who is so far developed and matured as to be capable of surviving the trauma of birth with the aid of usual medical care and facilities," unless necessary to preserve the woman's life. R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 11-23-5 (Enacted 1975).

    NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the life and health of the woman. NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Rhode Island's post-viability abortion restriction because it does not contain an exception to protect the health of the woman.

  • Utah: Utah has an unconstitutional and unenforceable law that provides that no abortion may be performed after 20 weeks gestational age, measured from the date of conception, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life, to prevent "grave damage" to the woman's "medical health," or to prevent the birth of a child with grave defects. Utah Code Ann. § 76-7-302(3) (Original Statute Enacted 1973; Repealed and Reenacted 1974; Last Amended 2004).

    A court held that the provision regulating abortions after 20 weeks gestational age is unconstitutional because the provision effectively defines viability at 20 weeks gestational age and ignores Supreme Court precedent that viability is a matter to be determined by an attending physician. Jane L. v. Bangerter, 102 F.3d 1112 (10th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1274 (1997).

    Utah has an additional unconstitutional and unenforceable law that provides that if the fetus is sufficiently developed to have any reasonable possibility for survival, the physician must attempt to promote, preserve, and maintain the life of the fetus, consistent with preserving the life of the woman or preventing grave damage to her medical health, and must use the medical procedure most likely to result in fetal survival in the best medical judgment of the physician. The physician may not use a medical procedure designed to kill or injure the fetus unless necessary to prevent grave damage to the woman's medical health. Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-7-307 (Original Statute Enacted 1973; Repealed and Reenacted 1974; Last Amended 1991), 76-7-308 (Original Statute Enacted 1973; Repealed and Reenacted 1974; Last Amended 1991).

    A court held that these provisions are unconstitutional because they do not adequately protect the health of the woman. Jane L. v. Bangerter, 61 F.3d 1493 (10th Cir. 1995).
    NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the life and health of the woman. NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Utah's post-viability restriction because the health exception is dangerously narrow. NARAL Pro-Choice America also opposes this law to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortions by defining viability at 20 weeks. A state may not prohibit abortion prior to viability, which is that point at which a fetus is capable of "meaningful life" outside of a woman's body. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973). Because viability is a point that varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age. Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379, 388-89 (1979).

  • Wisconsin: No abortion may be performed after viability unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or health. The physician must use the available abortion method most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus unless that method would increase the risk to the woman. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 940.15 (Enacted 1985; Last Amended 2001).

    NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortions, such as Wisconsin's, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the life and health of the woman.

    In closing, the following states have no post-viability restrictions whatsoever:
    1. Alaska
    2. Colorado
    3. Hawaii
    4. Mississippi
    5. New Hampshire
    6. New Jersey
    7. New Mexico
    8. Oregon
    9. Vermont
    10. West Virginia

    The following states allow for "physical or mental health" exceptions:
    1. Arizona
    2. Arkansas
    3. California
    4. Connecticut
    5. Delaware
    6. Florida
    7. Georgia
    8. Illinois
    9. Iowa
    10. Kansas
    11. Kentucky
    12. Louisiana
    13. Maine
    14. Maryland
    15. Massachusetts
    16. Minnesota
    17. Missouri
    18. Nebraska
    19. Nevada
    20. North Carolina
    21. North Dakota
    22. Oklahoma
    23. Rhode Island
    24. South Carolina
    25. South Dakota
    26. Tennessee
    27. Texas
    28. Virginia
    29. Washington
    30. Wisconsin
    31. Wyoming

    The following states allow post-viability abortions only for physical health exceptions:
    1. Alabama
    2. Indiana
    3. Ohio
    4. Montana
    5. Pennsylvania
    6. Utah (enjoined and unenforceable)

    The following states allow post-viability abortions only if the mother's life is in danger:
    1. Idaho (enjoined and unenforceable)
    2. Michigan
    3. New York




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  • 23 comments:

    Christina said...

    Doesn't "Fetus" mean "little one"?

    If a baby is ever going to be pre-viability, I'd say in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy when its still and "embryo".

    Heck, you could still call your baby "fetus" when its born if your given to roman latin terms of endearment =p

    Kathy said...

    So, if a woman is injured in an abortion and can't file suit against the abortionist because the abortion was technically illegal due to the lack of a 2nd physician, what happens to the doctor who performed the illegal abortion? I'm guessing nothing, but it seems like the burden of legality should be on the doctor, rather than the patient.

    GrannyGrump said...

    So much depends on enforcement and interpretation. Look at the situation in Kansas, where Tiller is doing abortions that are clearly illegal, but nobody -- not the medical board, not the courts, not the Attorney General -- is holding him accountable.

    Like Robert A. Heinlein said, an honest politician is one who stays bought. And Tiller paid top dollar for his.

    And considering how powerful the abortion lobby is in New York, a prosecutor would be a fool to go against an abortionist unless there was huge public outcry first.

    Calvin Bandini said...

    In 2002, 1.4 percent of abortions were performed on fetuses older than 20 weeks gestational age.

    "The limit of viability at which 50% of fetus/infants survive longterm is around 24 weeks, with moderate or major neurological disability dropping to 50% only by 26 weeks." The fetus has been carried to term at 37 weeks." (Wikipedia, page link on my blog)

    Of course, there's no guarantee *any* fetus will be viable, no matter when it's born.

    To the point: Given the incredibly small percentage (1.4) of abortions performed after 20 weeks gestational age, and that the CDC only gave stats for abortions post-20 weeks gest. age, it's easy to deduce that the number of viable fetuses being aborted is amazingly tiny.

    Pick a better battle and get more facts.

    Some are (shameless self-promotion) available at http://essaysaboutanything.blogspot.com. The post is "Abortion facts."

    Calvin Bandini said...

    Also, medically, all pregnancies not brought to term are deemed abortions, which includes miscarriages.

    Technically, those who miscarry are abortionists.

    GrannyGrump said...

    In 2002, 1.4 percent of abortions were performed on fetuses older than 20 weeks gestational age. .... To the point: Given the incredibly small percentage (1.4) of abortions performed after 20 weeks gestational age, and that the CDC only gave stats for abortions post-20 weeks gest. age, it's easy to deduce that the number of viable fetuses being aborted is amazingly tiny.

    1.4% of 1.2 million is still 16,800 babies aborted who could have been delivered alive. Are you saying that nearly 17,000 babies is a trivial number of babies?

    "The limit of viability at which 50% of fetus/infants survive longterm is around 24 weeks, with moderate or major neurological disability dropping to 50% only by 26 weeks." The fetus has been carried to term at 37 weeks." (Wikipedia, page link on my blog)

    Your point being? If I walk onto a cancer ward and start shooting the patients, should I get away with it on the grounds that 50% of the patients had a long-term chance of survival?

    Of course, there's no guarantee *any* fetus will be viable, no matter when it's born.

    There's no guarantee any of us will make it home from work alive. Does that mean that we should abolish laws against murder?

    Pick a better battle and get more facts.

    Develop some compassion for little children.

    Also, medically, all pregnancies not brought to term are deemed abortions, which includes miscarriages.

    Technically, those who miscarry are abortionists.


    You're a pretty callous, heartless individual, to ever imply that parents who have lost unborn children to illness or accident are just as culpable in their children's deaths as those who deliberately choose to have their children put to death. So in addition to my suggestion that you develop some compassion for children, I suggest that you develop some compassion, PERIOD. Develop the ability to give a damn about other people and their suffering.

    Calvin Bandini said...

    "1.4% of 1.2 million is still 16,800 babies aborted who could have been delivered alive. Are you saying that nearly 17,000 babies is a trivial number of babies?"

    I wrote that the number of abortions performed on fetuses older than 20 weeks gest. age is *very* small compared to the number of abortions performed when fetuses' gestational age was less.

    (Important note: The CDC reported that there were 854,122 legal abortions performed in the US in 2002. But it didn't receive data from Alaska, California, or New Hampshire, so the number is undoubtedly larger. But it certainly isn't 1.2 million.

    For there to have been 1.2 million abortions in 2002, the three states mentioned above would have had to have performed 345,878 abortions. This would have been 28.8 percent of all abortions, and a number equal to *40.5 percent of all abortions performed in all other states.*

    For a flawed, but more accurate number, I did this: 854,122 = reported aortions; AK, CA, NH = 12.6% US pop. (so all other states = 87.4%); 854,122/x = 87.4/100, therefore x = 977,256. Population stats. are from 2008, abortion stats from 2002. Therefore, I'll round the number of abortions in the US to 900,000, since the US pop. has grown since 2002.

    1.4 percent of 900,000 is 12,600. However, since a percentage of this 1.4 would not have been at 24 weeks' gest. age -- at which only *half* of fetuses survive -- and *none* of them would have been to term, maybe about 7,000 fetuses were aborted at a gest. age at which they could have been born alive.

    "Your point being? If I walk onto a cancer ward and start shooting the patients, should I get away with it on the grounds that 50% of the patients had a long-term chance of survival?"

    My point being: Fighting abortion by informing people that 7,000 viable fetuses die per year is not likely to be a winning one.

    And no, you shouldn't get away with shooting cancer patients. That would violate their rights as enumerated in the Constitution. Fetuses are not mentioned in the Constitution (saw it in person twice) and, therefore, aren't given rights by it.

    "There's no guarantee any of us will make it home from work alive. Does that mean that we should abolish laws against murder?"

    Again, murder is prohibited by the Constitution.

    "Develop some compassion for little children."

    I love little children. Nothing in my comment suggests otherwise.

    "You're a pretty callous, heartless individual, to ever imply that parents who have lost unborn children to illness or accident are just as culpable in their children's deaths as those who deliberately choose to have their children put to death. So in addition to my suggestion that you develop some compassion for children, I suggest that you develop some compassion, PERIOD. Develop the ability to give a damn about other people and their suffering."

    I wrote, and you quoted: "Also, medically, all pregnancies not brought to term are deemed abortions, which includes miscarriages."

    I was referring to the medical definition of abortion (this one from medterms.com): "In medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost.

    "A spontaneous abortion is the same as a miscarriage. The miscarriage of 3 or more consecutive pregnancies is termed habitual abortion."

    The term "miscarriage" is used today only because the term "abortion" has become so loaded.

    I simply stated that a miscarriage is an abortion. Technically, a spontaneous abortion.

    I *would never,* *have never,* and *did not* say/write that people who are forced to deal with miscarriage/spontaneous abortion bear responsibility for a pregnancy's termination. I simply suggsted the full, medical definition of abortion.

    Again: There is no evidence that I lack compassion for children, nor that I lack compassion, period.

    It seems, however, that you believe my lack of compassion derives from my correct use (as far as dictionaries are concerned) of the terms embryo, fetus, abortion, and miscarriage.

    A discussion cannot even begin until the terms are defined. Otherwise all involved talk/write past one another, using the same words for different things.

    To end this: I simply have given facts and definitions. And the suggestion that people likely are not going to turn against induced abortion on the basis of about 7,000 viable fetuses per year being lost.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Did it never occur to you that the lives of the viable babies might in and of themselves be worth saving?

    You don't have to oppose all abortions to oppose killing babies that could have survived had they been delivered alive at the time the mother decided that she wanted the PREGNANCY terminated.

    Calvin Bandini said...

    Since there isn't a medical definition of "baby," I took "baby" to mean infant, which is "A child up to 2 years (24 months) of age." (medterms.com)

    I do not support killing infants, and believe with all my being that their lives are "in and of themselves worth saving."

    Simply: I do not support killing babies (children fro birth to 2). Only the sick, twisted, and hopeless do.

    Final note: There are no statistics, and no evidence whatsoever, that suggests viable fetuses ever are aborted.

    The stats are only kept on abortions post-20 weeks gestation, not post-viability.

    Which doesn't matter because abortions cannot be performed on viable fetuses.

    GrannyGrump said...

    There are no statistics, and no evidence whatsoever, that suggests viable fetuses ever are aborted.

    Go to Abortion Clinics Online: Late Abortions Past 20 Weeks LMP. You will see ads for "2nd & 3rd trimester abortions", "Abortions to 24+ weeks", "Abortions up to 24 weeks", "Outpatient Elective Abortion through 26 Weeks", "Elective Abortion to 24 Weeks", "Abortions through 26 Weeks", etc.

    This site looks at errors in estimating gestational age. In other words, the ultrasound the doctor does prior to the abortion can be off as much as two weeks at the end of the second trimester, even more if they're in the third trimester. So an intended 20-week abortion might be targeting a 22-week baby, an intended 24-week abortion targeting a 26-week baby, etc.

    This page looks at preemie survival rates:

    22 weeks: 0-10% survival rate
    23 weeks: 10-35% survival rate
    24 weeks: 40-70% survival rate
    25 weeks: 50-80% survival rate
    26 weeks: 80-90% survival rate
    27 weeks: greater than 90% survival rate

    The stats are only kept on abortions post-20 weeks gestation, not post-viability.

    Since any abortion done at 20 weeks might inadvertently be targeting a 22-week baby with up to a 10% chance of survival, all abortions after 20 weeks are of potentially viable babies. All these clinics advertising up to 24 weeks are admittedly aborting babies with a 40-70% survival chance, and might be actually aborting 26-week babies with an 80-90% survival chance.

    And I can give you an abundance of actual examples of post viability abortions.

    The question is, will you admit this information into your brain or not?

    Calvin Bandini said...

    The fact remains that there is no data that tells us 100 percent viable fetuses have been aborted. Which was the point of my last comment.

    Also, gest. age varies greatly on whether conception is considered to be the beginning of pregnancy -- which it *isn't* by the medical community because 50 percent of fertilized eggs do not implant in the uterus (therefore, 50 percent of embryos are aborted immediately) -- but *is* by pro-llifers-anti abortionists.

    Built in to the abortion debate is an argument over when an embryo is created, which on its own results in gest. age being something pro-lifers/pro-choicers don't agree on.

    To end my comments here, because I'm about to write the same things again and again: I've never said (written) fetuses that may have been viable have been aborted. I have always mainained that guaranteed-viable fetuses never have been aborted, and no data says otherwise.

    And fighting against abortion based on about 7,000 "deaths" per year will win no one over.

    The abortion debate is can only be kept running on the continued clash of ideology vs. facts and the law.

    GrannyGrump said...

    I guess I need to make it clearer here that my goal isn't to turn people into prolifers. It's to turn them into skeptics who hold the abortion lobby accountable.

    You can demand a crackdown on aborting viable fetuses while still maintaining a tolerance of -- even enthusiasm for -- first and early second-trimester abortions, and I'd be absolutely delighted with the outcome of our exchange.

    Kathy said...

    Calvin, you said, "Also, gest. age varies greatly on whether conception is considered to be the beginning of pregnancy -- which it *isn't* by the medical community...."

    Actually, you're right that conception is not considered the beginning of the pregnancy. But you're wrong in your implication. A pregnancy "officially" begins two weeks before conception -- with the start of the woman's "LMP" (last menstrual period), not at conception or at some point thereafter, although it can take up to a week after conception before the zygote or embryo implants in the lining of the uterine wall.

    This is confusing to a lot of people, and the history of why is faintly humorous -- a German obstetrician 150 years ago just decreed that since a woman's menstrual cycle takes one lunar cycle -- every 28 days (although that varies widely from woman to woman, it works out on average), that a pregnancy takes 10 lunar cycles or 40 weeks to complete. Only problem? Dating from conception (which can be a tad tricky to know and/or remember), the average pregnancy lasts about 38 weeks; but most women can remember the last time they started their period, which is usually about two weeks before they ovulate, so the "40 weeks" was kicked back to start at the time the woman started her period.

    This obviously makes it difficult when you're talking about the age of a fetus. Some pregnancy books and other sources will use "gestational age" consistently throughout -- that is, they will start at the LMP as week 1, day 1. Others will start at conception as week 1 day 1, and continue to use that dating system until about the end of the first trimester, at which point they will skip to the other, more common, conventional dating system (and just kinda ignore the missed two weeks).

    So, when I see somebody talking about a z/e/f being at a certain age less than 13 weeks, I always wonder which dating system they're using -- the fetus's *actual* age, which starts at conception; or the more commonly used "gestational age" which starts the pregnancy two weeks before conception.

    Either way, I've never seen fetuses from 14 weeks or beyond ever dated as anything but the standard "40 weeks from LMP to due date", so a fetus that is aborted "at 20 weeks" is actually 18 weeks old -- not because we right-to-lifers insist on saying that life begins at conception, but because the medical community insists on saying that pregnancy begins two weeks before conception. Therefore, all of these numbers -- 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 27 weeks -- are gestational ages, that is, the age of the pregnancy dating from LMP, and *not* from conception, the actual beginning of life for the fetus.

    It's confusing, but you can thank the medical community, and not RTLs for that.

    elysheva said...

    Technically, those who miscarry are abortionists.
    (Calvin)

    OK, I get that the battle is a tough one. I used to believe that ALL abortions should be illegal even in the fact of rape or incest or health reasons. I didn't believe this from a vacuum. I was raped by my father when I was 13 yrs old and gave birth to his child at 14. I also married later and chose to have a baby after being told I had cancer and should abort to get treatment. Apparently, treatment could wait because the baby is fine and so am I.

    My point is this... I thought that even though a baby is produced through rape it is not the fault of the baby so I believed that it had a right to be born. My youngest daughter just turned 13. I looked at her one day and it suddenly hit me that she was the age that I was when my father impregnated me through rape. It caught my breath and I realized there was no way I could put her through that kind of pain if it wasn't her choice.

    Now, I am stuck.. I do believe in pro-abortion-choice for young people who have been the victim of rape and incest or if the women's health is seriously at risk although I think the baby should be saved if at all possible...also, I only believe in first term abortion.

    I have lost babies through miscarriage or abortion if you want to be technical like Calvin does. Calvin, what you said was mean. You can back-track all you want and claim you were just trying to be technical but to say that people who miscarry are abortionists is just cruel. First of all, abortionists are the dr.'s who perform the abortion. A person who miscarries suffers a "spontaneous abortion" they are NOT abortionists. Because of the difficulty I had I went into preterm labor with one of my children at 22 weeks and stayed in the hospital for 16 weeks on bedrest and medication to keep him inside and healthy. It was difficult. Many women go through tremendous difficulty and pain because of preterm labor and birth. Babies die and those that live often require much care and it is a terrifying process for the parents.

    Please, don't try and backtalk your way out of what you said. It just makes you look like a politician. It is ridiculous for a "fetus" to be terminated at a point in which it is possible for it to survive. Period. There are so many people in our country who cannot give birth and are just dying to adopt a baby. Instead of killing our babies or "fetus' " we should be helping families who can't have children.

    elysheva

    Jamie said...

    How disturbing. I know two completely healthy babies that were born at 23 weeks.

    I developed HELLP Syndrome at 34 weeks forcing an early delivery. Perhaps he was "aborted"...but culturally that term has been changed into something ugly.

    At the point that the fetus reaches high-functioning viability (which is getting earlier and earlier thanks to research) I think it is disgusting that there are states that let the mother decide the fate of the child. At a certain point you would have to attempt to do harm to the infant for it not to survive out of utero.

    Nickname unavailable said...

    1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in their lifetimes...just sayin'

    GrannyGrump said...

    Nu, what's your point? "Eat shit - ten billion flies can't be wrong!"? Your argument seems to be that if a lot of people do something, it must be a good idea. Well, look back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, when everybody smoked. I guess that meant it was a really good idea, right?

    Dakuro said...

    yeah sure go ahead, legalize the massive homicide, no problem, for that reason exist things like condoms, Cheap Viagra, and other anti consective methods, sorry for say the next, but if you really enjoy the sex, do it but in a safe way.

    Linda said...

    Watch this - life is precious.
    http://youtu.be/MkAsLPrnJGc

    L said...

    not to say anything about my position, but it bothered me that the constitutional law you cited at the start is a misstatement of the law as it was in the past, and is completely out of date as of now. Roe did set up a trimester system, but not the one you describe.

    The Court in Roe stated that during the first trimester, when the procedure is more safe than childbirth, the decision to abort must be left to the mother and her physician. State laws limiting abortions during the second trimester were upheld when the restrictions were for the purpose of protecting the health of the pregnant woman. Finally, during the third trimester, the state could regulate or prohibit abortion to promote its interest in the potential life of the fetus, except where abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or health.

    So, that was a little different that what you described. However, the whole trimester scheme has been tossed (see, Planned Parenthood v. Casey) and now viability is the point at which the state interest in the life of the fetus outweighs the rights of the woman and abortion may be banned entirely.

    In fact, in Gonzales v. Carhart the court approved a federal law criminalizing a type of abortion and making no exception for the health of the woman. So the government can prohibit physicians from using a medical procedure deemed necessary by the physician to benefit the patient's health because some men in congress don't like it.

    lisa said...

    I'm currently 26 weeks pregnant(LMP) and am enjoying ever minute of my pregnancy!! However, i feel it is my right to choose whether or not I have this baby.... Even this late in the game... !
    No amount of pro-life whining, guilt tripping or bible crap will ever change the fact that the choice remains with me!
    I am Canadian and at least have access to free healthcare, child allowances and 1 yr paid maternity leave. It seems to me that , if pro lifers were serious, they'd be swamping their representatives to provide more support to families! But what you mostly see are those types, opposing tax based social programs !!!
    So, what does that leave pregnant women with... If they can't keep their child, for whatever reason, and they can't have an abortion?.. Well, that leaves adoption agencies!! I get that moms can't gain financially from giving up their baby, but why are " not for profit"adoption service businesses allowed, legally to do so?? Go check out the price of babies for "adoption'(read sale) they range from 17k+ legal fees to 35k+ legal fees!!! THESE PEOPLE RUNNING baby selling/adoption businesses are the people pro lifers should be criminalizing!!

    Christina Dunigan said...

    I agree that there is a serious need for adoption reform. Though the 17k - 35k worth of fees are ridiculous, they're not all just one group of people getting all the money. Yeah, the lawyers get a cut, but a LOT goes to social workers doing home visits, etc.

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