Some thoughts on abortion

“The phrase “late-term abortion” is medically inaccurate and has no clinical meaning. In science and medicine, it’s essential to use language precisely. In pregnancy, to be “late term” means to be past 41 weeks gestation, or past a patient’s due date. Abortions do not occur in this time period, so the phrase is contradictory.” — Barbara Levy, Vice President of Health Policy at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from 2015 (the most recent data available, fully analyzed by late 2018), “The majority of abortions in 2015 took place early in gestation: 91.1% of abortions were performed at 13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.6%) were performed at 14-20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.3%) were performed at 21 weeks’ gestation.” Fetal viability outside of the womb is almost completely impossible prior to 21 weeks gestation.

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information, under the National Library of Medicine, in the Journal BMC Women’s Health in 2013, “As indicated by the differences we observed among women’s reasons by individual characteristics, women seek abortion for reasons related to their circumstances, including their socioeconomic status, age, health, parity and marital status.”

Women who have “late-term” abortions are women who intended to have children, full stop. Depriving them of their legal right to do so or putting countless barriers up to that access is cruel and inhumane to a woman, and it deprives her (as do all abortion barriers) of her bodily autonomy and personal sovereignty. The solutions to abortion are free and open access to birth control for women from puberty onward, equal pay for equal work across-the-board, providing women with all of the education and job training they need, regardless of socioeconomic status, and providing women better ways out of abusive relationships and violent domestic situations, to name a few.

We need smart public policy solutions to the abortion issue based in reality, not outright bans and obstacles motivated by religion and ideology.

Eric Engle