Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ann Furedi defends abortion at 38 weeks gestation

Ann Furedi:
However, whether these two kinds of abortion are morally different is a separate and contentious matter. It depends on whether you are prepared to accord the early embryo the same moral status as a potential person as the late fetus. Personally, I believe early and late abortions carry the same moral burden because I believe that all abortions end a potential human life. And further to that, I believe that the moral responsibility of decision-making, whatever the gestation, should rest with women and their doctors, because they most understand their circumstances and the results of their actions.

And if a fetus has to suffer and die because of the irrational thinking of the women or doctors, well tough luck fetus!

And gotta love this passage:

All the abortions were carried out on grounds of fetal abnormality - abortions for other reasons are not permitted after 24 weeks in the UK (except to save the life of the woman). The range of abnormalities read like a litany of human misery. Twenty-eight late abortions involved fetuses affected by severe brain malformations, 19 had chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome. The rest had malformations of the skeleton, urinary system, heart and lungs, blood disorders or a congenital infectious disease.

I balked on seeing the lateness of the gestation at which some of these pregnancies were terminated: six at 35 weeks or later. The one that really jolted me was the abortion at 38 weeks, because my own son had been born just months before at 38 weeks - just two weeks before he was due and not even early enough to be called ‘premature’. So, what to think about this anonymous woman?

You may see this woman as somebody who needed to be constrained by law and forced to complete the rest of her pregnancy. You may think that she did not realise the enormity of the decision she was making, or that she and her doctors thought no more of her pregnancy than she had in its earliest weeks. You may think that she is less capable of ethical reasoning than you are, and therefore needs you to intercede against her amorality. You may feel that, regardless of her circumstances, she is a problem because she is helping to erode the pro-choice ‘brand’.

Alternatively, you can wonder at the awfulness of the situation that made this woman, with her doctors’ approval, decide that it was better that the pregnancy ended without a live birth, even so close to term. In which case, you might conclude that she must have been the most desperate woman in the world, and the most deserving of all the help she could be given.

Again: if the 38-week fetus has to suffer and die because of a woman's lack of moral thinking, well tough luck fetus! The woman's ability to decide is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than your suffering and death.

Sure she was desperate. Here's a thought: induce labour, put the baby up for adoption or give the baby palliative care.

But no, we're supposed to "trust women" as infallible in moral thinking. Even when it's blatantly obvious that abortion is wrong.

If you're having an abortion at 38 weeks, no sorry, you are not worthy of trust.