About Those “Baby Killers” – Reasons for Late Term Abortions

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June 12, 2009 by D Stack

[Doctor George R. Tiller] was a mass murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.

-Randall Terry on the Murder of George Tiller

To be honest I’m far from an abortion fan. While I believe it must stay legal I also believe it is the taking of an innocent life. I’ve covered my reasons in earlier postings, but essentially they come down to:

  1. Overturning Roe v. Wade would not end abortion anywhere.
  2. Enough people want abortion to be legal. If you want to end it, you have to change minds.
  3. There are lots of non-trivial cases where abortion is done for medical reasons, either for the mother or unborn child.

It is this last issue I’d like to discuss. When people think of the late-term abortions that Doctor Tiller performed they tend to picture the termination of a healthy baby which the mother had decided she did not want.

Some thought though indicates that is unlikely in most cases. A pregnancy which has progressed that far is quite likely to be a wanted one. Then why would a mother choose to do such a thing. To be honest, research in this area is quite difficult, given the passion felt on both sides of the issue. What I have learned is about 1% of abortions are what are considered to be late-term abortions. And why are they performed? In such cases it seems there is often a great or certain risk to the mother and/or child. I’ve read cases where the child had neurological disorders that prevented any movement. A case where the child’s brain formed outside the skull, where the kicks the mother felt were actually the result of seizures. A case of a child who formed without internal organs. And in many of these cases carrying the child to term either carried a risk to the life of the mother or made it unlikely the mother could ever conceive another child.

These cases are not instances of callous mothers concerned with what affect the child will have on their social life. They are mothers who want, desperately want, the child growing inside of them. Mothers who have already named that life. These are abortions performed to end suffering. Is it the right thing to do? Never having been in such a situation it is difficult for me to say. But I suspect there are cases where I would advocate that choice for my wife. I don’t think I’d feel particularly good about it. And very few people who undergo them seem all that overjoyed – indeed it seems to be a heartbreaking experience. For which they face crowds calling them baby killers as they see doctors that risk murder.

I mentioned I did some research in this. To be honest, a lot of the statistics were repeated. But there were two sites that were particularly useful. The first was at the Life and Libery for Women website in a position paper called So-called “Partial Birth Abortion” Bans and Third Trimester Abortions. The other was a website called A Heartbreaking Choice, featuring stories from grieving families that chose to have an abortion due to medical reasons. Its home page states:

Pregnancy does not end happily for everyone. Sadly, some parents receive grim prenatal news that something is seriously or fatally wrong with their loved and wanted unborn baby. They have to make a decision about continuing or ending pregnancy. We realize that all parents make a loving choice, one they feel is better for their baby. Regardless of the fetal anomaly found, the decision to end a pregnancy is always a difficult one.

Although it is estimated that between 80 and 95 percent of parents receiving a severe prenatal diagnosis choose to end the pregnancy, those who face this nightmare often feel alone. There is very little in the way of support programs for them. With this site and the dedication of courageous parents willing to reach out, we hope to create a safe haven of encouragement, validation, hope and healing.

If you think of these people as “baby killers” I’d suggest you go to their Memorial Rose Garden and read the memorials from the families who have gone through this.


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June 2009
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