Monday, June 08, 2009

Why are women having third trimester abortions?

We really don't know the breakdown of what proportion of late abortions are for social reasons and what proportion are for "fetal indications". (The idea that they're necessary to protect the mother's life or health is nonsensical -- any obstetrician worth his diploma can induce labor or do a c-section if a pregnancy past the point of fetal viability is endangering the mother; and no obstetrician worth his diploma would prescribe three days in a motel room with your mom while your recently lethally-injected baby rots inside you.)

Of the proportion done due to "fetal indications", there is also no breakdown of whether the diagnosis was verified, or indeed if the mother had been given any diagnosis by a medical professional at all. "Fetal indications" counts come purely from surveys, and can include anything from lethal conditions such as anencephaly, to minor and correctable conditions such as an extra finger, to merely the suspicion that something about the baby might be less than perfect.

But I'd like to look at the most sympathetic lot of late-abortion patients: Women who have been given a serious prenatal diagnosis.

And I'd like to address something that's rarely brought up: Are these women really aborting because they've been given accurate information by an unbiased medical professional? Were they given a chance to get a second opinion? Were they given information about carrying to term? Were they given a chance to get past the shock of the diagnosis before making the irreversible decision to abort?

Nobody is collecting information on this. So all I can give is a few anecdotes of the pressure women are placed under to abort after an unfavorable diagnosis.

  • Elizabeth was given nothing but grim tales to try to convince her to abort her baby with anencephaly. She resisted, and had seven precious minutes to lavish love on her son.

  • Jennifer's doctors kept insisting that her unborn baby was doomed, and repeatedly pushed her to abort and get it over with. She rejected their advice, and though her son had health problems they were not lethal.

  • Dawn's doctor repeatedly urged her to abort. Her daughter was born with health problems, but none that were fatal.

  • Lori was repeatedly encouraged by multiple doctors to abort her baby. Her child is alive and in the process of three steps of surgery to correct his heart defect.

  • Kelly was told that her baby was "like a doorknob" and that she should just abort to get out of the "bad situation". Another doctor likewise pushed her to just abortion and be done with it. But she resisted, and had a year to love her baby.

  • Lori faced so many doctors insisting that she abort, that she had to threaten to simply show up in the emergency room when she was in labor in order to get care. Her daughter has some problems, but none incompatible with life.

  • Michael and his wife were urged strongly to abort by both the doctor and the genetic counselor. Though their son does have health problems, they are not at all incompatible with life.

  • Shellie had to change doctors to find somebody who would support her in carrying her baby to term.

  • Michele's treatment team asked her again every week if she really didn't want to abort her baby. She treasured her chance to hold her daughter before she died.

  • Every doctor Donna consulted urged her to abort her baby. The first doctor even told her flat out, "You must terminate." She resisted, and is grateful for the hour she had with her son.

  • A genetic counselor tried to simply schedule Stephanie for an abortion, without even giving her a chance to consider her options. Even after tests came back showing fewer problems than doctors originally believed, they still kept pushing for abortion. While her child did indeed have problems, they were nowhere near as severe as she'd been led to believe by those pushing for an abortion.

  • Nancy's doctor pushed hard for an abortion, as soon as possible. It turned out that Nancy's baby was perfectly healthy.

  • Sandi's doctor refused to treat her when she refused an abortion. Her child turned out to have far less severe health problems than the doctor believed.

  • Carolyn's doctor offered to do an abortion the day she got the diagnosis, with no time taken to weigh options. Her daughter turned out to be perfectly healthy.

  • Michelle was given repeated grim prognoses by different doctors, all urging her to abort. Though her daughter has problems, they're not incompatible with life.

  • Erin's doctor gave her a grim prognosis and strongly urged her to abort. Doctors, family, friends, and even a Mormon bishop chimed in, favoring abortion. A last-ditch religious consult resulted in a decision to continue the pregnancy -- resulting in the birth of a little girl with problems, but none of them deadly.

  • Irene was browbeaten with a grim picture of what her baby's life would be if she didn't abort. Though their daughter has many problems, they feel blessed with her.

  • Everybody JoAnn consulted agreed -- her baby was doomed, and she should spare him suffering by just aborting him. When she resisted, her doctor said she should speak with a counselor -- a counselor at an abortion clinic. She finally had to switch doctors. She treasures the hour and a half she got to spend with her son.

  • A perinatologist gave Cheryl a litany of the horrors that he said would face her child if she didn't abort. She braved it out, and has a beautiful daughter whose condition is not nearly as severe as she'd been led to believe.

  • Everybody was urging Jessica to abort, from medical professionals to family and friends. Though her daughter was later stillborn, Jessica was grateful that she let her life out her natural life.

  • Laurie was urged to "induce and get it over with", but she resisted, and was able to spend precious time with her child.

  • Amy and Rob's perinatologist told them that they had no choice but to abort their baby. They refused, and treasured the short time they were able to spend with their daughter.

  • Terry and Courtney's doctor was stunned when they rejected abortion. The parents faced pressure until the pregnancy had passed the cut-off for abortion in their state. Once she was born, they cherished the 52 minutes they got to spend lavishing her with love.

  • A geneticist told Alessandra that her baby was just "a miscarriage that should have happened" and pressed for abortion. Alessandra refused, and her daughter spent her short life being showered with love.

  • Medical professionals dehumanized Christine's unborn baby, treating her just as "a fetus with a defect". When she and her husband rejected abortion, they were gaped at "as if we were from another planet". Everybody was pushing abortion, as if they were daft to pass up the opportunity. They were even referred for a religious consult with somebody urging abortion. But they persevered, and got to take their daughter home and have precious weeks with her.

  • Cat had to switch medical teams to escape the pressure to abort. Her daughter has health problems but is a lively child.

  • Anissa was given a dismal prognosis and pressure to abort. She resisted, and has a cherished son with only minor delays and a few health issues.

    I think that prolife and prochoice have common ground on this: Parents ought not to be emotionally beaten up by medical professionals trying to get them to abort, and they especially ought not to be subjected to attempts to get them to abort immediately after getting a diagnosis, before they even have time to absorb the information.

    Here is a story from George Tiller's patients who did end up going through with an abortion after a fetal diagnosis:

  • LaDonna was rushed by her local doctor into aborting, and later reflected, "I am no longer grateful for Dr tiller 'helping me' he didn't help me at all. I wish now I would of had the courage to deliver my little girl and let her get even just one breath of air before she passed... to let her see my face just once before she passed. I will never have that chance now and I will always have to live with the decision I made and the nightmares of what happened to me in Kansas."

    How many of Tiller's "fetal indications" patients were only there because they'd been frightened, browbeaten, or misled by doctors? We'll never know. The parents for whom the prognosis was wrong will never know themselves, since they killed all hope when they allowed Tiller to perform the lethal injection.

    Choosing abortion after a prenatal diagnosis is choosing the way of despair. It guarantees that there will be a tragic outcome, removing forever any hope that the diagnosis or prognosis might not have been as grim as doctors originally believed.

    Consider this: When a doctor is making a prognosis, he is doing what the TV weatherman does every day -- predicting the future. Would you stake your child's life on a weather forecast? Probably not. Then what sense does it make to stake your child's life on any other professional's best guess?

    Perinatal hospice is a better way: it offers support for the family of a baby diagnosed with a serious problem before birth, while leaving open the door of hope.


    Anonymous said...

    I have never heard of Perinatal hospice before. Thanks for the information. This is something that should be spread around.

    Christina Dunigan said...

    Now that Tiller's murder has drawn attention to the say abortionists are preying on these women during a period of shock and anguish, we can really put the word out about REAL help.

    Tonal Bliss said...

    Indeed, the proper way for the medical establishment to handle trouble prenatal diagnosis is to allow for true palliative care. Abortion is not palliative care since it does not allow for the possibility of life nor does it allow for a proper grieving process.

    Anonymous said...

    The problem is the lack of knowledge. People don't know much about it and it makes harder that they can find out ealier and avoid any of this problems. You can bet that people know more about viagra online than pregnacy.

    saf-85 said...

    Almost all of these stories involve children who died shortly after birth, or will live a shortened life with serious health problems.
    I personally have some very serious, sometimes life-threatening health problems, and I can tell you it's a tough life to live. Even when I'm not particularly sick, every day is a struggle. I'd never support killing an ill person who's already born, but why deliberately bring a child into the world knowing that they will endure so much pain? It seems rather selfish to me.

    Christina Dunigan said...


    1. When somebody's considering an abortion, they're considering killing a baby that already exists.

    2. Clearly your life isn't so horrible that it's not worth living, or you'd have killed yourself long ago. If your life is wort living, in spite of the struggles, why wouldn't somebody else's life still be worth living in spite of struggles.

    3. Should somebody's mom have veto power over their life?