I have read two letters to the editor in the last two weeks offering alarmist viewpoints on late-term abortion legislation using the term “infanticide” in a completely irresponsible manner. Truly, even the phrase “late term abortion” is factually inaccurate. In researching the topic, I found that, in the world of obstetrics, there really is no such thing as a late term abortion – there are abortions that occur later in a pregnancy and they are very rare.
Nationally, less than 1 percent of all abortions are later in a pregnancy and they are considered medically necessary. This would mean that there is a very significant risk of the mother dying or there is a tragic, developmental anomaly that would result in a fetus either dying in utero or at birth. Examples include, fetuses who have no brains or ones whose organs are outside of their bodies.
A decision to terminate a later term pregnancy is not one that people make in a spontaneous, carefree fashion and to falsely portray it as such is cruel. Who are we to impose our philosophical or theological beliefs on these anguished families? Why wouldn’t we support legislation that would leave these heart-wrenching choices to the parents and their medical advisor?
If a baby is born “late term,” before the full 40-week gestation period and as early as 23 weeks, it is a premature birth and the baby’s medical care is determined by the physician and the parents. There are no “abortions” when the fetus or baby is viable. Period.
The letter writers no doubt consider themselves “pro-life.” I really dislike that terminology because it flies in the face of reality – for pro-life is strictly pro-birth. The individuals who proudly carry this label broadly vote for politicians who do not support the very domestic programs that would help families, particularly disadvantaged ones, with child care, health care, Head Start, affordable post-secondary education, and job training initiatives. They see no contradiction in supporting politicians who are against gun safety laws.
It is so easy to rally for a cause when you have no stake in the outcome or responsibility for the consequences. I support the proposed legislation that would allow Virginia residents to make the deeply painful decision to terminate a pregnancy later in gestation with the guidance of their medical professional. It is their choice to make, not mine.