There are a lot of intense and controversial questions about abortion. Let’s address the elephant in the room and answer these questions in detail.
Q: I’m pro-choice, but why would anyone wait until the 2nd trimester to have an abortion?
Every person has a reason as to when and why they’re choosing an abortion.
For example, a person may not know they’re pregnant right away, but finds out in the 2nd trimester. They could be using birth control and didn’t think they could be pregnant, or they may have irregular menstrual cycles and not realize they’re pregnant until the 2nd trimester.
They could find out they’re pregnant in the 1st trimester, but may live in a state with access problems to safe and legal abortion. Another reason could be a financial barrier: A patient may not have insurance, or may not have insurance that covers an abortion, so they might be asking family members for funds to try to get a safe 1st trimester abortion. By the time they save enough money, they may already be in her 2nd trimester.
Finally, it’s very possible that it’s a highly desired pregnancy, but they find out at their 18- or 20-week ultrasound that the baby has a lethal anomaly or a significant problem that’s not compatible with a healthy life. They then make the difficult decision in the 2nd trimester to end the pregnancy.
I totally support the right to abortion, but I can’t believe that some people know they don’t want to get pregnant, yet refuse to use birth control. Why would they do this?
People’s lives are complicated. There are many reasons a person may not be using birth control. They might not have access. They may not have a local health center they can go to, or they might not have safe and reliable transportation to get there. Costs can be an issue; their insurance may not cover their birth control method or it might be too expensive. There may also be issues within their relationship; a person might live in an abusive home with no birth control. Or they may have a partner that’s trying to force a pregnancy or abortion (reproductive coercion). Additionally, some people can’t take hormonal birth control — it could be detrimental to their health. The bottom line is that we need to trust people to make the right decisions for their bodies.
What’s the big deal with the “6-week abortion bill”?
Iowa and many other states have been passing these very restrictive laws. And a 6-week restriction is essentially a ban on abortion altogether. Six weeks of pregnancy is defined as 6 weeks from the 1st day of your last menstrual period; many people don’t realize they’re pregnant in this timeframe. They could have irregular periods, or their method of hormonal birth control failed. These states are pushing these dangerous restrictions with the hope that a case will go in front of the Supreme Court, so that those who oppose abortion may have a chance to get Roe v. Wade overturned. A 6-week ban on abortion is unconstitutional, and people will face undue burdens trying to obtain an abortion — either going out of state, or taking matters into their own hands and trying a self-administered abortion due to lack of access. Restrictive laws like this one just make abortion less safe.
Is it true that some states are changing their laws to allow abortion right up until the day before the baby is born, or even that the doctor can kill the baby after it’s born?
No. What states like New York are doing are cleaning up their state laws that were written prior to Roe v. Wade so that they’re consistent with the current Roe v. Wade protections. Now that states are bringing their laws up-to-date, the opponents of abortion have flooded social media and the airways with claims that doctors are performing abortions up to the day a baby is born, or even more ridiculous, killing babies after they’re born. These opponents to abortion are purposefully trying to induce a moral panic in our country in order to gain more support for their desire to eliminate all abortion.
When a pregnancy is ended at 39 weeks, it’s to save the life of the mother, or to make sure we’re delivering a healthy baby. At 39 weeks, what abortion opponents are purporting is an “abortion” is actually an induction of labor, or a Cesarean delivery. Doctors do these procedures to save the baby.
There are legitimate reasons a person might need an abortion over what is generally considered the gestational age of viability. They may have a life-threatening condition that can be worsened by their continued pregnancy. Or they may find out after 24 weeks that her baby has a lethal condition. No one is killing a baby after it’s born because the mother “wanted an abortion” and didn’t get one in time.
I can’t believe abortion is being taught to 8th graders in some of their health classes. Isn’t that too young to be talking about something so controversial?
Abortion isn’t controversial. Seven in ten people support abortion. And abortion is common: 1 in 4 people will have an abortion in their life. Many youth, including 8th graders, are talking about sex. But what they’re talking about is usually inaccurate information that can be very dangerous for them and for their futures. It’s our responsibility as adults to provide medically accurate information so that young people will be prepared to make healthy and respectful decisions later in their lives, when they are ready.
Why would anyone oppose common sense regulations on abortion — such as waiting periods, or ensuring doctors who perform abortion have admitting privileges at local hospitals?
There’s nothing common-sensical about these regulations. We already have common sense regulations on abortion with several cases tried before the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade and a subsequent case — Casey v. Planned Parenthood — made three things clear:
- Women have the right to abortion, pre-viability, without undue interference from the state.
- The state may restrict abortion post-viability.
- The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the woman’s health and the life of the fetus.
These decisions are made between the pregnant person and their physician. The opponents of abortion are trying to sell the idea that waiting periods “help people” by allowing them to think about their desired abortion just a little bit longer. All this does is delay the procedure, and allow the opposition to pressure or bully a person into changing their minds.
Forcing abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital puts a burden on providers, and allows hospitals that may be anti-choice to block providers from the ability to provide care. This can drive abortion providers out of state. An abortion done at a clinic is a very safe procedure with a very low complication rate.
None of these regulations are common sense. They’re purposefully designed to be barriers to abortion access, and they make a very safe procedure less safe. These regulations get in the way of people and families making the right decisions for themselves.
Trusting people is key. Planned Parenthood trusts people to make their own medical decisions.