Woman Dies After Late-Term Abortion, But That’s No Reason to Ban It

Heartbreaking 184

funeral lilyJennifer McKenna Morbelli was a 29-year-old, married, expecting mom. She and her husband were excited about their baby girl, who they were going to name Madison Leigh. They'd set up a gift registry. And then, Jennifer got some disappointing news: It appears Madison had some abnormalities. Jennifer and her husband, TJ, made the difficult decision to abort at 33 weeks.

What happened next has ignited the fury of anti-abortion activists: Jennifer died following her abortion. A young mother and her baby are gone. But only a heartless ideologue could get up the next day and protest an abortion clinic after her death. Jennifer's decision to abort was an act of compassion. Even if you don't understand it, you need to respect it. And her death doesn't mean we should ban late-term abortions. It means we need to make them safer and more accessible.

Very few doctors are willing to perform late-term abortions -- not so much because of personal ethics, but because it's complicated and because they don't want to take on the rabid protesters. Dr. LeRoy Carhart is one of the brave few who will perform a late-term abortion, but he and Jennifer had to travel and meet at a clinic (he from Nebraska and she from New York to a clinic in Maryland).

We know very few details about what happened. We don't know what kinds of abnormalities the baby had, how severe they were, why they were discovered at such a late date, and whether Jennifer's on health was at risk. We don't know what happened with Jennifer's surgery, except that it was a multi-day procedure. Allegedly she died from excessive bleeding from a ruptured uterus. We won't get results from her autopsy for another month or so.

What if Jennifer had been able to get an abortion at a hospital, with access to the highest-quality care possible? I suspect it wasn't the abortion that killed her -- it was the lack of adequate care and support.

The protesters who are screaming on the sidelines need to listen to Jennifer's mother-in-law, Kathy Morbelli. She says she's horribly disappointed in the protesters' insensitive response to this young woman's death, and emphasizes that this was a wanted baby. I think only extreme circumstances would have driven Jennifer to seek a late-term abortion. It might have been her own life she was trying to save. She may have been trying to save a child pain and suffering. Who are we to judge?

What do you think Jennifer's grieving family needs most right now?


Image via Dame Catoe/Flickr


abortion, death


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nonmember avatar Tammy

Karma is a bitch--

nonmember avatar Guest

So she killed her baby because of "abnormalities" and then died. Sounds like a good example of what goes around comes around. At 33 weeks the baby is more than viable, and can survive out of the womb, killing it is murder, plain and simple. And I am pro-choice for the most part. What I don't support is this crap, "oh, there's a chance my baby will be special needs, well we can just kill her and try again" ugh it makes me sick, it sounds, to me, like she got what she deserved.

turna... turnandburn04

They need their daughter, wife, mother and grandbaby back, but their selfish decision to end a perfectly viable life for fear that she may not be absolutely perfect took that away. I hope that her family is able to heal from this avoidable tragedy and that someone somewhere had learned a valuable lesson about the sanctity of human life no matter the age.

Reali... Reality_check

at 33wks they could have dilibered tje baby by csection if it was life threatening to her!!! she aborted out of selfishness because she didnt want a special needs child! THERE IS ADOPTION! Her death was Karma in my book!

Reali... Reality_check

delivered* the* (im mobile)

lobus lobus

I am prochoice but I cant imagine how forcing scissors through a fetus' head and putting the mother through a multi day procedure rather than letting it be born and die naturally if they were fatal abnormalities is a good idea. And if the child didnt have fatal abnormalities but something that wouldve been costly for the family...well Im not sure I agree with that. Having children is costly and theres a chance at any point that something could happen and you still need to take care of your child. I just dont agree wih late term abortions unless the mothers life is at risk. Very tragic.

mommy... mommytojack0524

It's interesting that the author said "a mother and her baby are gone". If it's a truly a baby, how can we sanction (by law) a procodure like this? It's barbaric. Even if this tragic situation fo the baby's "abnormalities".

Alexa... AlexaAdams

My god son was born at 26 weeks and is now an active 2 year old, my sister was born at 34 weeks and has never had a problem. That baby deserved a chance, special needs or not! If they couldn't love a special child then give it up for adoption.

nonmember avatar Palm Beach Girl

I am real interested in what abnormalities the baby had. 31 weeks is awfully late to find out the baby had any. They had a sono because they knew it was a girl. You should know by then it had problems. If it was serious deliver the baby in a hospital and hold her and let her go peacefully.

kelti... kelticmom

And why, if the child had abnormalities that would prove fatal, could they not either induce or do a c-section and allow the child to pass normally? Unless the child would have lived with the abnormalities. In that case, they chose to kill a perfectly viable baby (at 33 weeks, it is a perfectly able to survive on it's own BABY. My son was born at 35 weeks.) They chose to have it delivered up until it's head, let the body dangle outside the mother, force scissors into the back of it's skull, suck out the brain with a vacuum, let the skull collapse, then pull the rest of it out. Just because it wasn't going to be "perfect". I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for the mother or father in this case.

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