With recent pro-choice legislation in Virginia and New York, conservatives have been spreading inaccuracies and blatant untruths about women who have third-trimester abortions (shocking, I know).
Dr. Daniel Grossman is an OB-GYN and abortion provider who knows the subject better than most of his critics. In a piece for Rewire News, he lays out the facts.
… all Virginia’s bill would do is end the burdensome 24-hour waiting period, remove the state-mandated ultrasound law, and require one doctor — instead of three — to approve a request for third-trimester abortions. The bill also says the doctor approving the request would no longer need to certify that the harm to the patient’s health would be “substantial and irremediable.” In New York, the law simply removes abortion from the criminal code, codifies Roe v. Wade, and allows patients who need later abortions to get care in their home state rather than travel across the country.
Much of the conversation surrounding the bills, though, has been about rare late-term abortions and how, apparently, people want to kill babies after they’ve been born. (The laws don’t allow that and the pro-choice side isn’t on the infanticide train.)
One question I’ve seen repeated by conservatives on social media is, “How is ‘mother’s health’ defined? What if she isn’t terminally threatened, but just depressed?” The bill defines it clearly… at least for people who try reading it.
So why do patients seek abortions after 20 weeks? There are many, often intersecting reasons. It is the tragic reality that complications may arise as the pregnancy progresses, some of which may affect the health of the patient or the fetus. And parents may choose to end the pregnancy — a decision that is personal and should not be subject to political interference.
In some cases, it’s dangerous for the mother to wait for her body to expel a dead or nonviable fetus naturally — doing so can cause hemorrhaging. No state allows a woman to have an abortion that late into her pregnancy simply because she feels like it.
If more people were willing to read some of the stories of women who chose to abort their wanted pregnancies in the third trimester (they’re quite easy to find), perhaps they’d find some empathy for the women who faced a situation that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Instead, they’re spreading lies that will only put more women in danger.
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