Debunking Bigotry And Stupidity By Asking The Right Questions
Today, I'd like to talk about something that has been bugging me for a while. I've been seeing a bunch of hysteria from the anti-choice misogynists out there about some recently passed and proposed abortion legislation. And, honestly, just anti-women propaganda, in general. There was one video that was being passed around that particularly irritated me. It showed a doctor describing a specific kind of abortion procedure sometimes used in late second trimester abortions, a D&E at 22 weeks, and if all you knew about abortions was in that video, you would have absolutely no useful knowledge on the subject. And that kind of propaganda is dangerous because it spreads misinformation about a medical procedure and makes it more likely that people will have to risk their lives to get the treatment they need.
So, I decided to point out a few things that I think people should take into consideration when discussing this topic. And I'll start with a few facts (link to CDC website reference below). Approximately 91% of abortions are performed before 14 weeks. About 8% are performed between 14 and 20 weeks. Only about 1% are performed at 21 weeks or later. Again, the procedure described in the video was at 22 weeks. So, very few abortions are performed that late.
But, okay, let's say we're talking about one of those very few abortions. We need to ask some questions before we decide if this is a procedure that should be outlawed. Chiefly among those questions is, "Why?" Because if you watch the video, it's clear this isn't a simple, or painless, procedure for the pregnant person.
So, why would someone decide to wait that long? Well, maybe they wanted the baby and only now found out there's some catastrophic defect in the fetus that will make it impossible to survive once born. Or that will turn the baby's very short existence into a living nightmare for it. So rather than let the child suffer, the pregnant person decides to end the pregnancy.
Or maybe the fetus is dead and needs to be removed from the pregnant person's body before it starts to rot inside them. Or maybe the pregnant person will die from a complication of the pregnancy if it isn't terminated. Or maybe the pregnant person experienced a horrific trauma associated with the conception that made them psychologically incapable of coming to terms with a pregnancy until now.
The point is, there will be a reason someone waited that long to get an abortion, and it almost certainly won't be a trivial reason. Because it would have been far easier on the pregnant person -- physically, mentally, emotionally, financially -- to have had the procedure sooner.
So, the next question is, should a difficult and important decision like that be made by the individual who is pregnant in consultation with a dedicated medical expert who has full knowledge and understanding of their particular medical needs and situation to determine the best course of action for them? Or should the decision be left to uninformed politicians with a political ax to grind and no concern for or understanding of the medical realities any given person might be facing?
As we've already established, the medical procedure in question is complex and painful for the pregnant person. And, as with any medical procedure, carries an element of risk, even when performed under ideal conditions by trained experts. So, for anyone to make the decision to undergo this procedure, they would have to be very sure it was what they wanted to do and fairly determined that they needed to terminate that pregnancy.
So, one final question everyone should ask themselves before deciding if they think this procedure should be illegal. If the pregnant person in question was someone you knew and loved and they were that sure and determined that their pregnancy needed to end, regardless of whether or not you agreed with their reasoning or decision, would you want them to be able to go to a trained, licensed doctor with the proper sterile instrumentation and facility who would be focused on protecting your loved one's health and safety and who would have the knowledge and resources on hand to help your loved one should anything go wrong? Or, knowing that any person that sure and determined to end a pregnancy is unlikely to be swayed by any law passed by people who don't know them or understand what they're going through, would you rather your loved one get do-it-yourself instructions off the internet or go to a person who may have no training at all? Because that's really the decision we're talking about.
CDC reference link