Friday, January 10, 2014

We Have to Craft an Abortion Law to Reality

Many well-intentioned pro-lifers say that when it comes to abortion, they want to apply the laws on murder to the deaths of fetuses.

They mean well because they value the unborn child, and they want to see justice done. So it's normal that they say this.

But the reality of pregnancy and abortion makes that wish practically impossible (which is not to say I oppose an abortion law).

This article underscores my point.
 John Allen Welden plead guilty to slipping his girl an abortion drug to force her to miscarry at 6 weeks gestation.

That drug was 200 mg of Cytotec.

Hearings are underway to determine his sentence. Drug researcher Beverly Winikoff, an expert on the drug, testifed for the defense.
[...] Winikoff said it’s not possible to say whether the drug caused the miscarriage or if happened because of some other problem, such as a chromosomal defect in the embryo. “You have two possibilities, neither of which is really strong,” she said, “and if you want to say which did it, you can’t. The law is asking a question that medicine can’t answer.”

If I were the lawyer for the accused, that is exactly the defense I would use.

The Cytotec may have killed the embryo, or it might not.

For all we know, the embryo may have already been dead by the time the drug acted on the pregnancy.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 pregnancies naturally miscarry, most of the time in the first trimester.

If we want an abortion law that produces convictions, we cannot prosecute first trimester abortion per se because we can never really be sure if the baby died as a result of the act, unless there was already an ultrasound already done, eg, during a first trimester surgical abortion.
This case was very unusual because it involved the son of an obstetrician, the latter whom confirmed the pregnancy with ultrasound.

So the doubt is lessened.

 In the age of criminal abortion, I doubt that surgical abortion will be the common method of ending pregnancy. There's so much risk involved that on balance, it's better to hand out pills to begin miscarriage and then get checked out at a hospital. That's how many abortions are done in countries where abortion is illegal.

We cannot know whether these pills actually do cause demise in every case. So the act of causing death cannot be prosecuted-- the evidence is open to doubt.

So what an abortion law needs to prosecute is the act of procuring an abortion with intent of ending a pregnancy. Now there may be cases where it's clear fetal demise was clearly brought about by an abortive act and that needs to be on the books, too. But that cannot be the main legislation protecting the unborn otherwise few abortionists will ever be convicted.