Monday, March 24, 2008

Late-term abortion, not an issue?

I thought I'd create a separate blogpost to answer Joyce Arthur's comments that she posted here.

Haloscan keeps cutting off the responses and I'm sure the discussion will get very awkward soon.

Joyce Arthur writes:

Sorry, I should have clarified of course that I was speaking of "elective" abortions, which never happen late in pregnancy.

By "elective abotions", we're talking about what is known in the old Canadian terminology as "therapeutic abortions" or in plain English "social abortions": abortions done for reassons other than physical necessity.

Interesting that she should say that late-term elective abortions are almost never done, because the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada says otherwise:

Most women who terminate their pregnancies after 20 weeks wanted to have a child, and were forced to consider abortion for medical reasons. Other women may be in desperate social circumstances, such as an abusive relationship, or they may be very young teenagers who have delayed abortion care because they were in denial about the pregnancy.

So abortions after 20 weeks due happen due to non-physical reasons, according to the abortion lobby. I'm not saying it's an everyday occurrence, but the Abortion group says they happen.

The very rare cases you mention will have involved serious fetal deformities incompatible with life. Since 98% of abortions happen in Canada by 16 weeks of pregnancy, and 99.7% by 20 weeks, the issue of late-term abortion is a non-issue, as is the non-issue of supposedly needing late-term abortion restrictions, since obviously both women and doctors behave responsibly without the need for any regulation.

Ah yes, the infallibility of women in response to the abortion issue.

Radio-Canada broadcasted an episode of Enquete which was about late-term abortion in Quebec. (Sorry original Radio-Canada page on the subject is unavailable).

Abortionist Claude Paquin said that he sent a 31-week pregnant woman to the States because she threatened to commit suicide.

Is that responsible?

How is threatening suicide in the face of a 31-week pregnancy "acting responsibly"? How is sending a woman to the States when she's suicidal "responsible"?

If the woman was suicidal over a pregnancy, she needed a psychiatrist, not an abortion.

By the way, since third trimester abortions occur only in very desparate and compelling circumstances, any late-term abortion restriction would have to allow them anyway, so such a law would be completely useless, except as a political platform to enact more abortion restrictions.

It wouldn't be useless if you cared what happened to the unborn child. And "desperate and compelling" circumstances is subjective. I have a documented a late-term abortion of a child suffering from partial monosomy 22.

The child died at 27 weeks by feticide circa. 2005, i.e. probably a potassium chloride injection, probably to the heart.

The thesis where I got this information concluded:

Despite the haploinsufficiency of many active genes located in the distal third of the q-arm, which has an R-band-rich pattern, the fetus showed minor congenital malformations.

I'll throw in the picture for good measure:

In effect, the unborn child was killed due to what turned out to be minor congenital defects during a procedure that was exceedingly painful.

How is a malformation and genetic variant a "desperate and compelling" reason?

Joyce: do you even care about the pain suffered by these unborn children? Does it not bother in any way that an unborn child dies of a potassium chloride injection to the heart, suffering cardiac arrest for about 2 minutes? Is that not morally troublesome to you on some level?

We see this in the UK, with repeated anti-abortion attempts to lower the gestational limit from 24 to 20 weeks, even though those same attempts have led to research and evidence to conclude that abortions after 24 weeks are rare and undertaken only for sound reasons, that fetuses cannot feel pain until about 27 or 28 weeks,

That's just bunk. Fetuses are given anesthesia for surgery well before 28 weeks. Premature babies show signs of pain well before 27 weeks: ask nurses who've worked the NICU ward. And of course you're aware of the work of Sunny Anand. The biological ability to experience pain is well established well before 28 weeks.

And even so, there are abortions that occur after 28 weeks. They get potassium chloride injections to the heart, too.

and that the survival rate for fetuses born under 24 weeks is still very low and will never appreciably improve.

It's low in Britain because they don't have the sophisticated technology that is available in the US. If you compare US rates to British rates, in the US at 24-week preemie has a good chance of survival. If you look at the stats for the stats at least 40-50% of preemies born at 24 weeks survive. That's pretty good, especially when you consider that not all babies have access to a specialized unit to treat premature babies.

We can't say that the survival rate will never improve because it's plausible that we will devise special technology for just such cases.

Those findings don't even relate to the larger issue at stake - that it's a fundamental violation of women's rights to restrict abortion, just like it would be a violation of their rights to restrict childbirth.

Even if I conceded your point about abortion being a woman's rights, rights aren't absolute. People have the right to terminate animals in this country, but not any old way. In the same way, the fetus' welfare should be taken into account. No right is so absolute in this country that it isn't in some sense subject to a restriction of some kind for a higher purpose.

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