Abortions at 12 Weeks Should Never Be Illegal

ultrasoundWhen it comes to abortion laws, there's absolutely no consensus on what we all as Americans feel is appropriate. But in Arkansas this week, state lawmakers have decided they know what's best -- passing a law that prohibits abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy, which is when a fetal heartbeat can typically be detected by an abdominal ultrasound. Even after Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, called it "blatantly unconstitutional" and vetoed it. Now the state has what will be by far the country's most restrictive ban on abortion.

To be fair, it's a very hazy issue on which even people who consider themselves pro-choice find themselves grappling with. When should it simply be just too late to terminate a pregnancy? I'd argue that 12 weeks is far too early. Fetal heartbeat or not, there is a need for abortions to be legal that "late in the game."

While 88 percent of all abortions are obtained within the time period Arkansas is specifying, a post-12 week abortion should not be out of the question for various reasons ...

  1. Some women may not even recognize that they are pregnant until the pregnancy is advanced beyond that time frame -- due to irregular menstruation, thinking they're in menopause, believing they cannot become pregnant for various reasons (breastfeeding, undergoing medical treatment), or having their pregnancies initially misdiagnosed by physicians (it happens!).
  2. There are also instances where there are serious medical complications -- pregnant women are susceptible to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, severe depression, addictions, and other serious health problems. Surgery, X-rays, chemotherapy, or other treatment vital to a woman's health or life may come to a halt once the pregnancy is discovered. A woman might choose abortion if a continued pregnancy would worsen her condition and/or threaten her life, or if she requires further treatments that may damage a developing fetus. 
  3. A fetus could have severe abnormalities, like an undeveloped brain, a severe metabolic disorder, or no working kidney. She may wish to end the pregnancy rather than give birth to a child who will suffer and die in infancy or who will have severe disabilities. Unfortunately, the results of amniocentesis, one of the most important prenatal diagnostic tests, are generally not available until the 15th or 16th week of pregnancy, thus delaying the abortion decision.

These are just a few of a whole slew of scenarios that could influence a woman to seek an abortion after this inane deadline that Arkansas lawmakers are setting. And these scenarios are exactly why the limit established by Supreme Court gives women a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb -- which is usually around 24 weeks into pregnancy. 

That said, it's hopeful that the Arkansas law is going to be found unconstitutional and overturned ASAP. (The ACLU is already gearing up to sue.) Because of course no one would wish any of the above on anyone, but live can take some unexpected turns, and Arkanas women deserve their constitutional right to do what's right for them and their fetus.

How do you feel about this law?



abortion, politics


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lulou lulou

If the legislature really cared about children, they would first attack improving infant mortality rates, along with healthcare and education.

wamom223 wamom223

If you are sexually active it is your responsibility to pay attention to your body.  Killing your baby because of an abnormality pretty much makes you a monster in my book.  I mean the argument that you kill the baby so it wont suffer is ridiculous and anyone that feels that way please do us a favor and stay away from our suffering veterans so you wont be tempted to 'end their suffering.'  This law does have exceptions for life of the mother and so I'm fine with it.  I am pro-life and this is the compromise I am willing to give pro-choicers.  Women need to take more responsibility for their bodies.  I mean you want us to give you the right to commit murder and then you want us to say you can do it whenever you want.  At this point the earliest they can save a baby is 18 weeks and I wouldn't be surprised if they got it down to 16 weeks.  As long as we can save the baby you shouldn't be able to kill it.

mande... manderspanders

Maressa, you are ignoring the fact that the Arkansas bill had explicit exemptions from the 12 week ban: rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and high risk for the mother.

As someone who believes that abortion has a legitimate place as a medical procedure and is generally against the government interfering with personal decisions; I think I could agree with this type of law.

@wamom:  the earliest a baby can be "saved" is about 23 weeks.  If you think otherwise, then give me the links to the current medical literature. Because it just isn't happening.

But I do generally agree with the idea that we should be aborting a 22 week baby in one room and in another attempting to save a 26 week premie... and calling one a premie and one an abortion.  That is total hypocrisy.

Fact of the matter is that abortion shouldn't be used as birth control; but if you choose it only for that reason, then it should be restricted to the first trimester.

mande... manderspanders

** we shouldn't be aborting a 22 week baby...

MaryC... MaryCimino

As someone living in Arkansas I'm ashamed of us. People are thinking we're all like the Duggers and are pro-life. And how are you a monster for letting go of a baby with a severe condition? I know someone who's baby only had half a heart and no anus. She decided to abort to spare the child a hard cruel life of pain and misery of surgery after surgery. I respected her for making that hard decision that no mother should have had to make.

wamom223 wamom223

At this point the earliest baby born is 18 weeks. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_a_baby_survive_if_it_is_born_at_18_weeks

I'm not saying they can do that every time but as long as even one baby has been saved that is enough.  My son was a NICU baby and this is a topic very near and dear to my heart.  Your just ain't happening remark was very rude and very untrue.  They have saved more than one baby at 21 weeks and babies surviving terminations around the same time. 

nonmember avatar Anonymous

wamom, the only monster here is you. Worry about your own sins and leave everyone else's reproductive rights up to them. God, I hate self-righteous people.

nonmember avatar andie

@Wamom223, are you suggesting that we should try to keep alive a baby that is born at 18 weeks? YOU are the monster!

szinna szinna

There is an article that I came across a couple months ago that explains why these strict laws that attempt to assuage the pro-choice camp with the "exceptions" for rape and incest.  It is a worthwhile read for both camps.


szinna szinna

I meant to say "that explains why these strict laws that attempt to assuage the pro-choice camp with the "exceptions" for rape and incest are more harmful than helpful."  I got distracted. 

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