Late-term abortions have made news lately as activists attempt to solidify state-level protections for abortion access. Playing on misplaced public sympathy, they generally frame the question around exceptional circumstances like serious birth defects, despite evidence many women commit late-term abortions for the same financial or social reasons as they do first and second-trimester abortions.
By presenting legislation that uses disabled or terminally ill children to expand abortion access, the pro-choice lobby exhibits how disturbing its goals are. Laws about late-term abortion often determine how we care for the most fragile children after they’re born, not just the terminally ill but also those who have a reasonable chance of survival with proper medical treatment.
These laws can also have unintended consequences because they may alter how “health of the mother” criteria are applied: standards can be lowered when a baby is known to have a poor diagnosis because the risk-to-benefit ratio of continuing a pregnancy changes. In addition, “fetal anomalies” can sometimes mean relatively minor complications like a cleft lip or palate.
Abortions for Disability Are No Better than Euthanasia
Often, even pro-life legislators insist on carving out room for post-viability abortions based on anomalies. Many pro-life individuals believe these losses are negligible enough to be acceptable in the larger abortion battle, or that women should be able to kill their unborn children to mitigate suffering.
At the same time, these pro-life activists and legislators speak out against physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. While we don’t always associate the abortions of disabled children with euthanasia, the root purpose is the same. Both reflect what we believe about suffering and end-of-life care for terminally ill or seriously disabled human beings.
Just as assisted suicide laws can harm the vulnerable, abortions based on suspected or confirmed fetal anomalies directly affect every single child diagnosed in the womb — including those whose parents choose not to have an abortion and those who have not received a terminal diagnosis.
In a world where it is becoming more acceptable to end a born person’s life due to disease or infirmity, it has become preferable to end an
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