Thoughts on late-term abortion

I don’t think anybody ever wants to have a late-term abortion, which is abortion before viability but after some specified number of weeks (in Texas, that number is currently 20).

People on the internet and on the radio and so on who have late term abortions are generally in one kind of situation.

They desperately wanted the baby.  Or maybe the baby was a late-life surprise, but they came to want it.

Sometime after 20 weeks they found that the fetus had no brain.  Or its organs were outside of its body.  Or it had some other horrible birth defect which would cause it to be in horrible pain for its short existence should it be born.*

Recently the news has been making a big deal about some survey that was done asking people their thoughts on late-term abortion.  “Women disagree with Wendy Davis,” the headlines shout.

1.  As with any abortion, some of those surveyed (and indeed, many people) strongly believe that *they* would never have an abortion, or that kind of abortion, but at the same time, they believe they should not enforce their beliefs on others.  Some people with that set of beliefs call themselves pro-life, not realizing that means they are actually pro-choice.  (See, for example, Bristol Palin. Yes, a subset of people really does believe that there are large numbers of pro-abortion people out there.  They’re living in a scary world.)  It is difficult to separate the question of, “Would you do X” from “Should everyone be prevented from doing X”, and in these surveys people sometimes answer one question meaning the other, especially when the question is vague, “Do you support a woman doing X?”

2.  People give very different answers to the question, “Should late-term abortions be illegal?” and “Stacy and Harry were so excited to finally have a new baby on the way.  Unfortunately, at 21 weeks they found out that the child they’d hoped and dreamed of had a birth defect in which it was missing several internal organs and that would cause the baby to die a few hours to a few days after birth.  The baby would be in excruciating pain during that time.  After painful reflection and discussion, Stacy and Harry decide that the humane thing to do would be to end the pregnancy.  Should Stacy be allowed to have an abortion?”

People actually give different answers to all abortion questions, often saying no abortions to the general question but yes to any specific example.

3.  Pro-life people often make exceptions in real life when the question is if they should get an abortion or if their daughter should get an abortion.  As always, the wealthy will be able to hop on a plane to get a legal abortion elsewhere, or pay to get a safe hospital abortion using whatever quasi-legal avenue is available to them.  As for everyone else, read The Search for an Abortionist by Nancy Howell Lee.

States are rapidly taking away women’s right to choose.  They’re doing it in places where people are least able to get around the laws to find safe abortions, suggesting a return of dangerous back-alley abortions.  In the 1970s, I am told that even some pro-life people were pro-legal abortion because they knew someone who had died at the hands of an illegal abortionist, and they thought a safe and legal abortion was the lesser evil.  Women will always have abortions, my mother’s generation says, the only question is if they are safe and legal or unsafe and illegal.

I don’t know what to do about all of this.  My mother says there will eventually be a backlash and a revolt, but I don’t know.  It seems to me that there’s money fueling the war on women at the state level, but nobody with money fighting in the opposite direction.

What can be done?  What are you doing?

*Some late term abortions are also abortions that should have been early-term but because of red tape and credit constraints, time passed before the abortion could happen.  The solution to that problem is to stop making it difficult for women to get early abortions!

Update:  Planned Parenthood donation page.

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40 Responses to “Thoughts on late-term abortion”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I’ve only known one woman who had a late term abortion. She was on fertility treatments. She was desperate to have a baby. She found out some horrific news about the baby’s birth defects and chances of survival after birth. Even with the facts in hand, it still was a tough decision because she wanted the baby so badly. The whole thing from start to finish was devastating and hard on the body and spirit. She is a mom now, but that was a dark time in her life. To have laws restricting your choices on top of it all just seems like salting the wound.

  2. Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

    There’s a broader point here on surveys, and how by asking questions different ways you can get entirely different answers. I see this a lot with surveys about how people spend their time. There’s a narrative that we are overworked and sleep deprived and hence people tend to answer surveys in such ways. We have a narrative that good parents have family dinners with their kids, and so when you ask people if they always eat dinner with their families, they’re highly likely to say yes. A study that had video cameras in houses found this was definitely not the case.

  3. Cloud Says:

    Unfortunately, I think it will take women dying for a backlash to happen. I am trying to help by giving money to Planned Parenthood, but that hardly feels sufficient.

    I do worry that the backlash will not happen until a lot of women have died, because there are so many people who have divorced themselves from facts, and there is an entire “news” network dedicated to letting them feel informed without ever forcing them to confront facts that contradict their opinions or even the very existence of nice, reasonable people who hold different opinions. I have NO idea what to do about that. The problem of Fox “News” and people like Glenn Beck and their toxic effect on our public discourse depresses me an makes me feel helpless.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      What happened in the late 19th and early 20th century is that Margaret Sanger and Mary Ware Dennett organized wealthy philanthropists to push back against the YMCA and folks like Comstock.

      There’s also narratives that the judicial system didn’t enforce laws and that public sentiment changed based on widespread coverage, but I’m getting cynical in my old age that we can trust anything but money when everything is set-up such that the wealthy and powerful are in charge. That system of the wealthy controlling everything lessened under Nixon and Johnson, and the women’s rights movement really did blossom, but we’re moving back to that 1% control everything system.

      I sound paranoid, but I am currently living in Ground Zero and both of the Planned Parenthood clinics within a two hour drive of my town just got shut down last month. My state has low levels of any health insurance coverage, and the legislature is *still* fighting as hard as it can against the ACA.

  4. Historiann Says:

    Pro-life people often make exceptions in real life when the question is if they should get an abortion or if their daughter should get an abortion. Right on. I had a friend in the previous decade in my small town who used to drive to a bigger city to perform abortions once a week. She told me that at least 30% of her patients there had on their charts (from extensive pre-procedure counseling) that they had moral or religious objections to the procedure they themselves were seeking. In these cases, the women sought abortions for the reasons that everyone seeks abortions: enough children already, birth control failure, not the right time, not the right partner, etc. (IOW, this was a clinic that performed terminations only up to 16 or 20 weeks.)

    Do they go back home and be honest with their families and communities about their choices and experiences with legal, safe abortion? I’m betting no way, which is what permits the forced-birth crowd their illusions of moral superiority: “WE would never do THAT! WE LOVE OUR BABIES, unlike you slutty-slutty-slut-sluts.”

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Right, in their case they believe, “but I have a valid *reason*”… All women have valid reasons. Some people are living in a scary world if they believe women have abortions for fun.

      (And yes, we still believe that women should have the right to decide what to do with their bodies, but that argument is relatively subtle and can get uncomfortable compared to actual truths about why people get abortions.)

  5. bogart Says:

    Agree on the survey/statistics problem(s).

    I’m pro choice, period, end of conversation. I’m sure someone who sought to could come up with examples where I’d say a woman was terminating for unethical reasons, but I don’t see this as something effectively dealt with through legislation, if at all (and maybe a woman who wants to terminate because of e.g. the developing child’s sex should be allowed to, even if the thought horrifies me. The argument that a developing child has no inherent right to use my body, independent of my permission, is one that holds some weight for me.). The women I “know” — not IRL with one exception — who have sought/had late-term abortions did so in dire, tragic, very much unwanted circumstances.

    As for what I’m doing, clearly not enough, though I do vote and direct my political activism in ways that should mitigate/reduce the current trend. But not tremendously effectively, obviously, and it’s not something that is a key motivator in my activism (i.e. I’m as likely to get riled over gun violence protection, voting rights, immigration reform, or teacher pay, just to name a few. But people/groups who support my views on those issues tend to be more pro-choice than those who don’t.).

  6. Chelsea Says:

    What frustrates me most about the whole (early term) abortion issue is that women who vote for political candidates who are “pro life” are often voting for candidates who against teaching people how to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place and every sort of help (welfare, food stamps, good subsidized childcare, just plain being kind and compassionate and not branding women with a scarlet A, etc.) that would enable women to feel more able to keep unexpected pregnancies. I feel very ambiguous about early term abortions (both because of the whole “when exactly does life begin” issue and because, as a woman, I can’t believe the decision is ever an easy one that has NO emotional/psychological effects even when the pregnancy was really unexpected/unwanted to begin with) but I think that it’s a “society” problem and not a “we need to make abortions more restricted” problem. As far as late term abortions go, I think it borders on cruel to force a woman to carry an non-viable pregnancy for months… What am I actually doing? Sadly not much, although I do donate to an organization that helps new moms with needs.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      There’s actually a ton of research on the emotional/psychological effects of abortion. Its findings? Unexpected/unwanted pregnancy has strong emotional and psychological effects. Abortion itself, not so much. (The Search for an Abortionist covers some of this research back in the day, but there’s been much more since then with more modern methods.)

      Delagar has a recent post tying in the combination of restricting abortion and restricting birth control. The more I live where I’m living now (where the state government is trying to prevent access to *all* family planning) and the more I hear the same arguments that were made in the 19th century when men were more overt about controlling women who were not doing their God-given duty to stay at home producing male offspring (see: Horatio Storer), the more I agree with the idea that there really is a war on women to keep women down.

      • Donna Freedman Says:

        I think some of those candidates believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.
        They sure don’t seem to want to help the moms feed and clothe the postfetuses.
        Do I wish abortion weren’t necessary? Well, yeah. But I live in the real world, where sometimes it’s a painful choice — one that women should be allowed to make. To bring out that tired old chestnut, if we can’t decide when/whether to procreate then we do not have control over our own lives.

  7. Ana Says:

    I am pro-choice. End of story. Your body, your choice, your reasons are your business. Availability of late-term abortion actually factored into our discussions on planning our own family. Forcing a woman to carry to term a non-viable fetus, having to field happy questions and congratulations from unsuspecting strangers is, in my mind, a form of torture. Forcing a women to carry any unwanted pregnancy comes pretty close.
    Agree with those noting that restricted access to abortion seems to correlate with restricted access to birth control, sex education, and any sort of social support for the mother & baby once born, not to mention significant shaming of single, poor, or uneducated mothers (parents). It has absolutely nothing to do with respect for life and everything to do with disrespect for women.

  8. chacha1 Says:

    I am not doing nearly as much as I could. I used to give regularly to Planned Parenthood, and I think you’ve just shamed me into doing that again. For a long time, I was so sick of people in general that I restricted my charitable giving to conservation, but things are getting extreme.

    I do not know why young women are so wilfully ignorant on these issues. When I was a teenager I knew exactly what my rights were, where to get birth control, how to use birth control, and where/how to get an abortion if I ever needed one (I didn’t). If you know this stuff as a teen you are unlikely to forget it as an adult. You are also unlikely to be cavalier about what’s going on now with the blatant campaign to roll back women’s rights.

    I know three women who got pregnant in their late teens/early 20s due to birth-control failure. All three had no money, and little to no family support. Two were with men who they later married. One married her boyfriend and had the child, and the family was relatively content for about a dozen years. They have since divorced, and they had no other children. The other two had (early-term) abortions, neither has had children, and neither has ever regretted the decision. It is worth noting that even at that time (circa 1983), one of my friends had to travel to a different state for the procedure (I went with her).

    Aside from giving money, I am conflicted about what I could or should do. I can and do write to my congresspersons from time to time, but with most of the war on women happening at the state level (and not in *my* state) I expect that giving to PP, with its nationwide network of lobbyists, speakers, and writers, is probably the most effective avenue.

    I think the entire question of “late-term” abortions (exceedingly rare events that they are) is merely a very successful bread-and-circuses strategy by reactionary/religious social conservatives who know that the ick factor is extremely high with these, and therefore framing the entire debate around them makes people forget that most abortions are not late-term. Getting people to agree to ANY abortion restrictions increases the odds that people will (being for the most part lazy and uncritical thinkers) then accept further restrictions, even if the arguments made in favor of said restrictions are mendacious at best and openly discriminatory at worst.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You can give to PP in red states directly too. States are also attacking PP through Medicaid and SCHIP restrictions, thus defunding the organization.

      And agreed on all points. This specific post is directly addressing those stupid articles about how women don’t stand with Wendy Davis based on a poorly understood (by reporters) survey. They’re dangerous for precisely the reasons you discuss.

  9. gwinne Says:

    Yes, yes, yes.

    I believe in reproductive choice. End of story.

  10. delagar Says:

    Some of y’all have heard this before, but I taught a Women’s Lit class this past Spring, and a pro-life student presented on why abortion was wrong (and contraception, too, since it was just another form of abortion). Well, during the Q&A section of her lecture, some of the women in the class who had *gotten* abortions started telling her about their abortions.

    (It had not, apparently, occurred to her that women who had gotten abortions would be in the class, which I have to say amused me in a very wicked way. I mean, 1/3 of all women in America get abortions, but she didn’t stop to think that some of those women would be in our class?)

    Anyway, so they’re telling her about their abortions, and she’s staring at them with huge eyes — one of them had to get an abortion because she was a diabetic and would have died otherwise, another had a terribly malformed fetus — they’re crying and she’s about to cry and she says, get this, “Those abortions don’t count!”

    Yeah. Only Slutty McSlut Abortions are evil, see.

    More here: http://delagar.blogspot.com/2013/04/yall-pro-abortion-feminists-do-it-like.html

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      And that’s exactly what happens… in the abstract there’s one thing, but in the specific, every case is an exception.

    • Dr. Koshary Says:

      That’s a jaw-dropper of a story, Delagar. I’m glad your students challenged their classmate’s cruelly narrow thinking. I’m also glad it was you and not I teaching that class, since my brain might have shorted out trying to think of something tactful and useful to say. Here’s hoping that incident sticks with her.

      • Dr. Koshary Says:

        P.S. I live in fear of having to facilitate or mediate just such a discussion someday, and I would love to have good resources to prepare myself. Could you please point me to whatever sources you rely on for good analysis of who gets abortions, the context thereof, etc.? (Tried to email Delagar privately, but couldn’t figure out the address.)

    • Historiann Says:

      That was a great post. I’m surprised but incredibly moved and impressed by your students’ willingness to share stories for which they risked judgment and social opprobrium. (They were brave, but it sounds like they were also very angry too.)

  11. AnonymousW Says:

    Everyone keeps saying “it must be a difficult choice.” It is. Early or late, it is. However, I’m tired of the “women must feel relief” after from some in the pro choice camp. There’s no info for those who didn’t feel relief, who struggle with it, and the orgs like exhale don’t help at all. If a woman had an abortion because of lack of support, then she doesnt always feel better after. Because the research doesn’t get at this, if you say you had one and regret it, you’re treated poorly by both camps. So in thinking about being supportive, think beyond PP (where yes I felt safe but also annoyed that some practitioners there acted like it was MY fault for bc failure and how stupid I must be). There’s a bunch of us, sitting in silence because we don’t want to be poster children, because we are pro choice but the choice we made remains painful on a personal level. I don’t talk about my experience because even though I understand the political fight, it’s hard to watch others make your personal life a fighting ground.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My apologies for lack of clarity– I did not mean to say that women must feel relief (many do, according to surveys, but many is not all), or that they must feel better after. The research I was referring to does not say that having an unplanned pregnancy followed by an abortion makes everything better, just that the abortion doesn’t usually make it worse than the initial unplanned pregnancy did. People would not be feeling better if they were forced to go through with the pregnancy against their will. We hear that a lot in this state, that women need to be protected from their own choices that they will regret later. Yes, there are women who say they regret having abortions and would have made a different choice, but they are not the majority by any means. That’s the narrative that the research is against. I definitely did not mean to imply that abortion fixes everything for everyone.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and for the reminder. It would be nice if there were more funding for safe legal abortion and abortion rights (not to mention birth control and education) and also for high quality counseling before and after.

      • AnonymousW Says:

        “they are not the majority by any means”–this, sadly means that there is little out there for them (me). I know you didn’t mean to imply anything in particular, it’s a trigger for me. I just wanted to present the reminder. Women who fair less after an abortion (or after a birth for that matter) lack support from mates, family and friends. Or women who felt forced into an abortion because their mate didn’t want it/was useless during that time (that’s my case). Again, I’m pro-choice, even more so since I’ve made the choice myself and understand the process. I personally wonder if women report feeling relief (more than the accurate mix of emotions) because of 1) survey design flaw (maybe we need a post just on that?) but also because EVERY single piece of literature I read before hand said that women feel better, that things get better after. When a lot of people talk about this issue it’s about birth control (with the impression among some that bc always works so therefore less abortions), and about how women need choice. Both are important but no matter what, women need support, no matter what their choice is.

        Separately, I regularly teach a course where sex ed comes up. The lack of information men and women have about their bodies is astounding and depressing. Many of them don’t understand how bc, abortions, or anything biological works. I’ve had students like the above mentioned, where abortion is just “wrong” until we start to really pick the issue apart. (Some buy into the whole, bc pill means there’s a ton of dead babies in a woman’s body.) I frequently go “off topic” to cover it, or allow a group project for those who want to research it more. I just read an article about how we also need to be sure that MEN take charge of bc too.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It’s been a while since I was in this literature (pre-mandatory u/s), but the main point is not that women feel better after getting an abortion, but that it was the unwanted pregnancy, and the factors surrounding the unwanted pregnancy, that caused the trauma, not the abortion itself. In that case, taking away the right to have an abortion is not going to make anything better. But that’s the argument coming from pro-life people here– that abortion doesn’t help because people are still in bad situations after the abortion. Ignoring that they would be in worse situations with their ability to choose taken away from them.

  12. Miriam Says:

    Another organization for you to promote is the National Network of Abortion Funds (http://www.fundabortionnow.org/). Planned Parenthood is great, but fairly well known. I think NNAF is less well known, but the work that they do is critical as more and more women are stranded in TRAP states. NNAF works to get women funds for abortions, travel to clinics, overnight stays, and other associated costs.

    I hope there will be a backlash, but it’s definitely a funding war at the state level. The Democrats have to retake governorships and state congresses, and the Republicans are being very effective so far at playing dirty to keep that from happening. I think a lot will come down to whether we can get a progressive majority in the Supreme Court again. I want crisis centers defunded and TRAP laws pushed back, but I also don’t want the current Supreme Court to have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade or set precedent on TRAP laws.

    I do think women need to speak out more about the varieties of reasons people have abortions and experiences. I think a big mistake advocates made was accepting the Hyde Amendment and framing of safe and rare that implicitly accepts abortions as a special category of medical treatment and something to be regretted and ashamed of. I disagree with the poster upthread who said that no one tells the stories of women who struggle post abortion. I think that’s been the dominant narrative even as study after study says that those experiences are not the statistical norm. I think it’s the stories of couples who never questioned the choice who are missing from mainstream discourse. Very recently, I remember reading a whole string of “progressive woman gets pregnant and questions her pro-choice values” stories. Sure, they all ended in the woman maintaining her pro-choice views, but they reinforced the idea of a shared spiritual bond between mother and fetus. There weren’t any stories like mine where pregnancy made me much more strongly pro-choice because the experience of seeing my fetus on ultrasound reinforced for me how much the fetus was not a living being equivalent to a birthed baby. I also realized how much even the smoothest pregnancy sucks and how morally bankrupt and horrible it is to force anyone to endure one unwillingly.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Thank you for the link! That sounds like a great and necessary organization.

      I haven’t seen academic research or surveys post-mandatory u/s, but your experience is what academic surveys find for the majority.

      And, as we note in #1, a woman can still be pro-choice and choose not to have an abortion! That’s the whole point of choice. Pro-choice women have babies all the time, both planned and as surprises. They can question whether or not to have a baby, but they should never question the right for another woman to make her own decision.

    • AnonymousW Says:

      I’m not talking about those stories the pro-life people push, because they just are full of shit. I’m talking about real people who struggle and aren’t pro-life. Every major organization website I visited when making my decision was about how easy it was. (Except Exhale. When I called them they pushed adoption exclusively which is disturbing.) But again, I’m not talking about the media-ized stories that capture that spiritualized link you mentioned, as I’ve seen that too. Completely unhelpful to the rest of us. That doesn’t do anything to push real discourse.

      Thank you for also acknowledging that “even the smoothest pregnancy sucks.” Too many people are appalled if you say you don’t enjoy being pregnant, or say “well you just need to keep your eye on the prize.” um…ugh. And you’re right, the fetus is nothing like a baby. Even in my state, a blue state, they did a u/s to “confirm” pregnancy, which was annoying.

      Thanks for the link. I’ve never heard of them before.

  13. Linda Says:

    I don’t think I can add anything that others haven’t already. I make giving to Planned Parenthood a priority. I’m interested in that other organization posted so I’ll have to evaluate adding it to my annual charitable giving.

    I’ve also become trained as a clinic escort and have spent some Saturday mornings escorting women (and men) who are visiting the local family planning clinic, which performs abortions as well as providing other women’s health services. People who have brought in family members or friends have sometimes come out to the parking lot and talked with the clinic escorts about why they are there. As an escort, we’re there to just be supportive and listen, but some of their stories about how devastating the harassment is to them is very moving. One woman started yelling back at the protesters about how they need to leave her and her family alone. Fat lot of good it did, but maybe it made her feel better. Another guy who looked like a tough gangster was thanking us profusely for being there because he said he was so intimidated by the protesters on the day we weren’t there he turned around and left. And then there was the guy who had parked in the wrong lot, walked his female companion in through all the hateful screamers, came back out to move his car and had tears streaming down his face as a grandmotherly-type yelled at him to “be a man!” I think the women expect to get yelled at and you can see how they have braced themselves for it in how they walk and keep their heads down.

    This clinic is literally one block from my house and in the 12 years I’ve lived here I’ve watched the horrid anti-choice protesters outside harass any one who tries to enter the clinic. I’m really tired of their prayer vigils and ugly posters and generally hateful attitude towards anyone who looks like they may even be entering the clinic. Years ago I was approached by one of the protesters as I was walking from the bus towards my house and passed in front of the clinic. I was just walking home! Give me a break!!

    In Illinois, abortion is still available with only a few restrictions (the damn parental notification law has withstood a court challenge) and we see license plates on cars from surrounding states such as Wisconsin and Indiana where there are more restrictions. Because I am living so close to this facility and I have a large guest room I’ve been wondering if there is a way for me to offer it as free accommodation to women and their families who are coming to town for an abortion in the hopes that it helps them with the financial burden. I’m not sure how to do this, though.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You are a true hero.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Social workers might know how you can offer your home. Perhaps your clinic escort trainer would have a lead?

      • First Gen American Says:

        There used to be an abortion clinic in the high rise where my dentist was located. I went to Catholic school and our priest used to protest there and reach out to any woman of childbearing years to try to keep her from entering the building. No..I’m not getting an abortion, I’m just here for my routine cleaning…REALLY. He got arrested a bunch of times. He also showed us abortion videos during our religion class. I can’t say it swayed my opinion in his direction, if anything, it alienated me from religion even more.

  14. Contingent Cassandra Says:

    I wonder whether demographic factors play a role in who is more likely to know a woman who has had a late(r)-term abortion? I know one woman who had an early second-trimester (post-amniocentesis) abortion because the fetus had a genetic condition incompatible with anything but a very short, very sick life outside the womb (serious heart defects, missing parts of brain), as well as several women who had abortions in college because they weren’t yet ready to start families. The chances of birth defects (genetic or otherwise) go up with age, and the chances of pregnant women having medical procedures that detect such problems before birth (or miscarriage) go up with socioeconomic status. Given that most American women these days do limit their childbearing to some extent at some point, I wonder whether populations where most women have most of their children before 30 or 35, then use some sort of permanent or semi-permanent birth control (sterilization, IUD, etc.) contain a smaller percentage of women who have had late-term abortions than those in which a significant number of women start thinking seriously about childbearing when they’re between 30 and 40. One could even argue that there’s a self-perpetuating cycle: in communities where there is strong opposition to abortion, not only are women less likely to talk about the abortions they do have, but they’re also more likely to have children early, and stop childbearing early, which means fewer age-related birth defects, and fewer late-term abortions related to those defects.

    There’s also the fact that “letting nature take its course” in at least some of these cases results not in full- or nearly-full term stillbirth or (briefly) live birth, but in an event that is considered a miscarriage (the friend who had the middle-trimester abortion was told that this was, in fact, the most likely outcome for her pregnancy, but opted not to deal with the psychological trauma and physical risks of continuing the pregnancy, especially since the fetus was significantly behind the growth curve, and could, at the time she got the news, still be removed using safer procedures more common for earlier-term abortions). If one started asking “do you know anyone who had a late-term abortion *or* a miscarriage in the second or third trimester?” one might get somewhat different answers, even though the events may be two sides of the same coin (also, family members who are opposed to abortion may simply have been told “we lost the pregnancy in the 4th month”; that was what my friend and her husband told relatives, a few of whom are devout anti-abortion Catholics).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Interesting questions. I don’t know the answers.

      There are many non-abortion reasons that people lose babies later on (incompetent cervix, problems with the placenta, prolapsed umbilical cord, etc.), so it’s difficult to separate.

      Abortion is definitely something we don’t talk about. I know a lot of women IRL who have had miscarriages, because I had one and other people opened up once they heard, but I don’t know who I know that has had an abortion IRL, although given the wide prevalence of abortions, I really must know people who have had them.

  15. becca Says:

    A fair amount of people who talk about having a late term abortion are also in the category of “I would have died if I’d tried to have this child. I carried it as long as I could and then, in a medical emergency, a termination procedure was performed”. If I remember right this is Karen Santorum’s approximate story.

    My aunt, who has been a nurse for many decades, suggests that virtually ALL late term abortions are heroic (probably incredibly expensive) last-ditch attempts to save the mother’s life, which are often futile. Granted, she wasn’t an OB/GYN nurse, but an ER nurse, so her idea of “majority”, if based on personal data, is quite possibly skewed. Nonetheless, when I hear any opposition to “late term abortion” it scans for me as opposition to “saving the life of the mother”. That’s my default association, even though I know it’s not what people mean and it causes my hackles to rise super fast.

  16. Love Lynx | Femme Frugality Says:

    […] and Maggie give you something to think about before you picket outside of Planned Parenthood.  (Seriously, don’t do this.  People are […]

  17. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Turning off comments because we’re starting to attract really bizarre spam on this post.


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