From Ohio to Mississippi, and from Georgia to Missouri, there is a state limit on abortion. Those limitations are regarded as an attack on women’s reproductive freedom. It is also important to investigate possible outcomes of these constraints. Truth be told it is a difficult thing to talk about, but it is vital.
In case this new legislation passes the court review, women would be compelled to carry to term in spite of the fact that fetuses show defects — some of which are even fatal.
Fetal anomalies are rarely found before the 12th week of pregnancy. In some cases, they are undetectable until the 20th week or even past that time. States Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, and Ohio banned abortion for women who are beyond the sixth week of pregnancy. Abortion after the eighth week is prohibited in Missouri, while Alabama altogether prohibited women from aborting.
Thomas Clarence, who is an American judge, at the end agreed with the decision of the Supreme Court not to restore an Indiana law under which it is banned to abort fetuses diagnosed with disabilities.
We are not saying that children born with disabilities cannot have a meaningful life or make their parents happy. But bear in mind that these children have special needs, and those require emotional and material resources. It is in doubt hard to manage a child which was not planned, not to mention a child with a disability. So, the close family should be involved in the decision-making and not the state where you are from. Women with the least resources, such as money, education, or family, are most likely to carry to term. That is because they have no resources to look for a clinic out of state, which is allowed to perform an abortion.
On the other hand, the emotional toll that these anomalies have on women, or families even, can be enervating. Babies born with a chromosomal condition called Trisomy 13 don’t live for more than two weeks. There is a condition called anencephaly, which can be found on a 12-week ultrasound and not before, and babies born with this live only 24 hours. Another rather cruel one, infantile Tay-Sachs, where babies have a normal early stage of infancy, but then quickly deteriorate. Before they die in early childhood, they experience sensory loss, seizures, and paralysis.
An M.D., Cara Heuser, asserted that individually these conditions are not so common, but altogether she sees several of them on a monthly basis. Patients who are anti-abortion prior to diagnoses are thankful after she ends their pregnancies, she said. Heuser is perplexed when patients thank her, and that was odd to her, but then she realized that she gave them a small amount of control. She also stated that it is heartless to take away one thing they have.
In March, Utah, just like Arkansas, enforced an 18-week gestational limit on abortion. So far, a federal judge has issued an injunction against it, while Planned Parenthood leads the case to court. And if these limits are enforced, there could be different kinds of unexpected consequences. A gynecologist in Michigan, Lisa Harris, said that she is concerned that sometimes in the 18th week of pregnancy women hear about fetal anomalies for the first time. And sometimes, under pressure, they may opt for abortions, because they don’t have the time to consult with specialists, pastors, family, and parents who have children with a similar disability.
Harris added that families should gather and together make a decision, and that is important not to make a rushed decision.
A study from an unnamed clinic in 2008 showed that 87% of women were sure about their choice to end their pregnancies, without talking to a counselor. Whereas the ones who weren’t sure about the abortion, their fetuses have been detected to have defects.
In Harris’s opinion, the six-week gestational limit could have the same result. Namely, it could force women to terminate pregnancies instead of carrying to term due to no time to contemplate on the news. She added that when she sees the patients who are not sure about their decision, she recommends not to opt for anything right away, and to come in a week.
Those waiting periods are a bit like a barrier, full of paperwork, logistical problems, and pamphlets where they can find misinformation. Dr. Harris alludes to purposeful conversation and consultation with doctors, counselors, their families to make a collective decision, whether it is wise to have a baby or not.
There is another concern that goes through Harris’s head, and that is the fact that these limitation periods will make of counselors and doctors tactless stereotypes that their opponents say they are, and that is — providers of quick abortions.
These latest legislations about abortions are only rushing women to make a decision. It doesn’t let them google, or consider their options carefully. The only purpose of these laws is to stir fear among women.