An excellent article in the Times about the push to ban abortion after 20 weeks, and how bans are based on mostly made-up “facts” about fetal pain but pro-choice groups can’t fight them because the current Supreme Court is fairly hostile to abortion rights. As a result, women aren’t able to get abortions when they need them:
Last fall, Danielle and Robb Deaver of Grand Island, Neb., found that their state’s new law intruded in a wrenching personal decision. Ms. Deaver, 35, a registered nurse, was pregnant with a daughter in a wanted pregnancy, she said. She and her husband were devastated when her water broke at 22 weeks and her amniotic fluid did not rebuild.
Her doctors said that the lung and limb development of the fetus had stopped, that it had a remote chance of being born alive or able to breathe, and that she faced a chance of serious infection.
In what might have been a routine if painful choice in the past, Ms. Deaver and her husband decided to seek induced labor rather than wait for the fetus to die or emerge. But inducing labor, if it is not to save the life of the fetus, is legally defined as abortion, and doctors and hospital lawyers concluded that the procedure would be illegal under Nebraska’s new law.
After 10 days of frustration and anguish, Ms. Deaver went into labor naturally; the baby died within 15 minutes and Ms. Deaver had to be treated with intravenous antibiotics for an infection that developed.
Very few abortions occur after 20 weeks — only 1.5% of all abortions performed in the United States. Most of them are for medical emergencies. But the drafters of the anti-abortion bills are careful to outlaw any abortions other than those to avert death or “serious physical impairment of a major bodily function” of the pregnant woman. Physical impairments that are not “serious” enough, or that don’t impair a major bodily function? Not good enough. Infections that can damage your fertility or your kidneys apparently may not qualify as “serious physical impairments.” The psychological anguish of being forced to carry a pregnancy where the fetus has no hope for survival and the lasting trauma of being legally compelled to give birth to a dead or dying baby definitely doesn’t qualify.
These regulations aren’t saving fetal lives. But they certainly are injuring women.