Third Trimester Abortion

I’ve posted before about my views on abortion, and responded to an argument against the act. All month, I’ve been trying to tackle a much harder section of the topic: late term abortions.

While I think Matt Walsh is full of shit, I really sympathize with his views on this subject. I do think late term abortion is morally wrong if the child and mother are both healthy – that is, if carrying the child for a few more weeks will not endanger the life or seriously endanger the health of the mother, and the fetus is likely to have a life that is more than a few hours or days of suffering.

Having said that, before you continue reading my thoughts, please watch this documentary. (Link goes to PBS site, where After Tiller, the documentary Matt mentions, is available for viewing through the end of the month. I know, I really should have posted this sooner. It’s been a dark month.)

Have you watched it? I’ll wait. It’s only about an hour and a half long. I suggest not eating anything while watching.

In that documentary, we hear the story of a woman whose baby has bones so weak they are breaking in the womb. Heartbroken, grief-stricken, she cries about how she just wants what is best, and she doesn’t believe letting her child suffer like that is right. Like a compassionate dog owner, she chooses to let go of someone dear to her to prevent their suffering. Other mothers have similar stories. Only one of the mothers in the video, that I remember, was certainly not in a similar situation.

These are less than 1% of abortions, and many of these are mothers who want children, but their child is sick – often too sick to have any quality of life (and I don’t mean down syndrome or autism, I mean literally missing part of their brain). This is why abortion, even at such a late point in pregnancy, can be seen as morally right, or at least morally preferable.

You can tell one of the doctors doesn’t like late term abortion. This is a hard thing for her to do, but she wants to help women, and sees this as a necessary service to offer. Who could possibly like late term abortion? It is the last resort when the situation has become all bad options.

No post on the matter would be complete without reminding my readers that the most convincing argument I see for abortion being legal is bodily autonomy. I accept the idea of legal bodily autonomy that is implied by laws that do not allow the taking of organs from a dead body without the person’s permission. Therefore, I think the mother, as the person closest to the situation and the citizen involved (the fetus does not become a citizen until after birth), is the only one with the right to make that final decision, although I also think the father has a right to express his opinion (with exception of cases like rape). Unless those legal implications are changed, any legal restriction on abortion, even late term abortion, is an inconsistent law, and giving dead people more rights to their bodies than living women. That’s why this is a women’s rights issue.

It’s really pretty simple.

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