Sunday, April 24, 2005

Just what constitues "fetal indications?"

If you scroll down here, you'll find a chart showing the results of numerous studies of what percent of women reported that they were seeking abortions because of fetal indications. The oldest number, from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, was 3%. More recent data from states that track abortions and the reasons women cite indicate that fetal indications account for .1% (one-tenth of one percent) to 1.54% of abortions. So fetal indications are a rare reason for abortion to begin with.

This blog quotes an article in the New York Times noting that some "fetal indications" are a far cry from anencephaly or even from Down Syndrome:

Dr. Jonathan Lanzkowsky, an obstetrician affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, described one woman who had been born with an extra finger, which was surgically removed when she was a child. Her children have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the condition, but she is determined not to let that happen. Detecting the extra digit through early ultrasounds, she has terminated two pregnancies so far, despite doctors' efforts to persuade her to do otherwise, Dr. Lanzkowsky said.

Then, of course, we have the issue of women who are seeking abortions for fetal indications that don't really ail the baby. These women were either misdiagnosed, given false information, or flat-out lied to. A percentage of the "fetal indications" abortions are these women, who wouldn't be undergoing abortions at all if they were being given accurate information.

How common is this problem? I tried to estimate in Beware of Maternal and Fetal Indications.

And several women have died after seeking abortions for fetal indications, including bogus fetal indications. Here are some of them:
- Marla Cardamone, bogus indication
- Michelle Madden, unverified indication
- Margaret Smith, unverified indication
- Linda Boom, verified indication
- Allegra Roseberry, bogus indication

Fetal indications are repeatedly cited as a reason to keep abortion readily available, but clearly they account for a miniscule number of abortions in the first place. And even in many of these cases, there's either nothing wrong with the baby, or his condition is either perfectly consistent with living a fulfilling life (such as Down Syndrome), or her condition is treatable.

Should we really be maintaining unfettered abortion on the grounds that some tiny percentage of the tiny portion that are for fetal indications might spare some gravely ill or deformed baby suffering -- especially now that perinatal hospice is coming of age for families who face grave fetal diagnoses? Or are abortion advocates just using the rare and moving stories of a few stricken women to further an agenda that has nothing to do with the real needs of these women and their families?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

interesting I guess that many people are getting interested in this because the problem it's becoming a national matter specially for people who buy viagra wiithout prescription and stuff for abortions.