Why add to the physical, psychological and emotional trauma of the mother and take away from the child a chance to be adopted by a loving family who cannot have children of their own. And, even if they are not adopted as such, why take away their chance to live, especially if the procedure itself endangers the life of the mother even further and ends in nothing but losses for the two most important parties involved, the mother and child?
By Georgiana Constantin l November 8, 2016
Europe’s attitude toward abortion will surprise most Americans.
Perhaps one of the most heated debates in U.S. politics is the one revolving around the pro-choice, pro-life arguments. Europe, in general, has a system of restricting abortions after the first trimester, with the exception of when the life or mental or physical health of the mother is involved. The U.S. debate seems to be revolving not around first or second trimester abortions within the restrictions of health or life necessities but rather late term abortions and lack of such restrictions.
Medically, one cannot deny that there simply are cases in which it is recommended for a pregnant woman to no longer carry her fetus which leads to it having to be taken out of her body in whichever way is safer for the woman’s life. There is no doubt, in this respect, as history has shown us, that even though abortions may be deemed illegal by the state, a woman who does not want a child will simply find someone to unofficially perform such procedures, or even find ways to perform them herself. Efforts should be made to never allow for such situations to occur, since they carry so many physical and mental dangers. These are usually traumas over which women can seldom get over during the course of their lives.
Views of Progressives in the United States
It must also be understood, however, that an on demand, zero restriction system would be dangerous as well. And this is something that isn’t always taken into account by state legislatures. In the United States, for example, “seven states and Washington, D.C. have no age restriction on abortion at all. Abortion can literally be performed up until the moment of birth, on the final day, in these states. And, many of the 43 states that do restrict abortion still have exceptions for things like rape, disability of the child, or health conditions of the mother.”
A particular controversial procedure in late term abortions is the one entitled partial birth abortion, or, as it is medically known, dilation and extraction. “The term `partial-birth abortion’ means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.”
This procedure has been banned in the U.S. in 2003. “However, even though federal law bans most partial-birth abortions (PBA), only 19 states have actually banned the procedure themselves. The federal law bans PBA when it is committed on federal property – such as military bases – or when it involves interstate commerce.” This leaves 31 states which have not specifically banned the practice. Now some of these states ban late term abortions themselves, but not all of them do this, which translates into the fact that partial birth abortion is still legally able to be performed in the U.S.
Of course, in terms of abortions performed in the third trimester, perhaps one of the biggest concerns one can face is with respect to the life of the mother. And this is an understandable fear, especially because life threatening situations usually only arise in the later weeks of pregnancy.
In part, the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare reads, “As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.”
Dr. Anthony Levatino, former abortionist, as well as more than 1000 health experts, including neonatologists, ob/gyns and others, claim that the procedure of abortion is not necessary to save a woman’s life. In the case of late term-abortions, Dr. Levatino claims, “nothing could be further from the truth,” as he has saved hundreds of women from life threatening pregnancies in his career, and he did it by ending their pregnancies through delivery, either through caesarian section or induced labor and the number of babies that he had to deliberately kill in the process was zero.
He notes, “the key point about late term abortions that so many people miss is that it takes days to prepare the cervix, […] anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.” That is, when a life threatening situation arises, it is apparently quicker and safer to do a C-section for example, to save the mother. Or, if labor is to be induced for an abortion, why not simply deliver the baby, with less trauma to the mother than would have occurred during late term abortion? Many couples trying to adopt children would benefit from getting the chance to take such previously unwanted children into their families.
Dr. Levatino, a signatory of the Dublin Declaration observes, “You never need late term abortions to save a woman’s life. If necessary, you accomplish the delivery.” Obviously, this does not guarantee that the baby will survive a pre term birth, but as he states: “they all had a chance and most of them did make it.”
Western Europe’s Surprising Attitude Toward Abortion
Some of the things progressive Americans find unacceptable in terms of health advice for pregnant women are simply a matter of procedure in Europe. And the right of the woman to her own body is not restricted, but rather her health is protected.
Where some would expect secular, progressive Europe to have gone past the whole abortion debate, after having concluded that no restrictions are necessary in terms of the time when such procedures are performed, one actually finds out that there are regulations and restrictions on such procedures to ensure physical and mental health of the mother first, and, if possible, the fetus.
As Emily Matchar of The Atlantic writes, “In Germany, women seeking first-trimester abortions are subject to a mandatory three-day waiting period and a counseling session. Abortions after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are forbidden except in cases of grave threat to the mother’s physical or mental health.” Also, “The Netherlands mandates a five-day waiting period between initial consultation and abortion; clinics must provide women with information about abortion alternatives. Abortion is then legal until viability (legally defined as 24 weeks, usually interpreted as 22 weeks).” And, “In Belgium, where abortion was illegal until 1990, there’s a six-day waiting period and the woman must claim to be in ‘a state of distress’ before receiving a first-trimester abortion.”
Apparently though, in the U.S., “in 2012, the CDC reported that 1.3 percent of abortions were committed at 21 weeks’ gestation and later. With nearly one million abortions annually in the U.S., roughly 13,000 children every year are killed in very late-term procedures.”
Most likely no woman would ever want to go through such trauma as abortion and so the situation is not a happy one no matter how we look at it. Why add to the physical, psychological and emotional trauma of the mother and take away from the child a chance to be adopted by a loving family who cannot have children of their own. And, even if they are not adopted as such, why take away their chance to live, especially if the procedure itself endangers the life of the mother even further and ends in nothing but losses for the two most important parties involved, the mother and child? Would anyone have anything to lose if they at least entertained the thought of such possibilities?
Georgiana Constantin is a law graduate who has studied International, European and Romanian law at the Romanian-American University in Bucharest and is presently a political science doctoral candidate at the University of Bucharest. Ms. Constantin, who is based in Romania, is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis of the conservative-online-journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.