The Truth about Abortions
So conservatives are resuming their dishonest attacks on both abortions and all contraceptive methods in hopes of rallying their voters for 2020. Most recently, Trump and his clone mouthpieces have created hideous fictional scenarios about “late term abortions,” in which abortions might occur “up until the time of delivery.”
The customary period of pregnancy gestation (time in the womb) is around 40 weeks. 92 percent of all abortions occur before 14 weeks gestation. 6 percent of abortions occur before 20 weeks. Only 96 pregnancies were terminated after 20 weeks in the total area of the United States in 2016. Of those 96 pregnancies, 53 were associated with multiple severe, life threatening fetal malformations, and the remaining abortions were due to severe illness in the pregnant woman herself. Since normal pregnancy gestation is 40 weeks, the abortions occurring after 14 weeks are properly labeled “second trimester abortions,” not “late term abortions.” “Late term abortion” conjures up a live fetus that would be salvageable if not for the pregnant woman’s cruelty or dimwittedness. But at 23 or 24 weeks gestation, even a normally developed fetus may well not survive, even with enormous medical support, and the fetuses who are aborted generally have multiple, severe birth defects. Additionally, the woman needs to be heavily sedated to allow the muscle relaxation necessary to avoid permanent damage to her uterus. As expected, the fetus is also sedated.
Women and their families must make heart wrenching decisions when found to be expecting a fetus with extensive and severe life threatening abnormalities. Or the woman herself may lose her life when diagnosed with heart failure, eclampsia, highly malignant cancer, kidney failure, or other severe illness as the pregnancy develops. No one outside the immediate family has the right to make judgments about whose life is most worthy.
And these new verbal attacks and rallies against abortion providers by religious zealots are extremely dangerous. Four American physicians have already been murdered and a dozen other abortion clinic employees have been killed during 1993, 1994, 2007, and 2015.
Everyone is welcome to their own beliefs. But our Constitution is supposed to protect us all from being forced to comply with other persons’ religious dictates. The lies that the right wing are screaming about second trimester abortions may help get out their votes for 2020, but more medical personnel and patients may die as well.
Recommended reading: Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, by Dr. Willie Parker. Now also a YouTube video of the same name.
–Karen J. Pataky, Chair, Health Policy Task Force