The events of this week in our nation has provided yet another reason for our national blood pressure to go sky high. The State of New York passed a law that helped to secure access to abortions for women in New York as well as removed the 24-week restriction that had been in place since 1970. Syracuse.com gives what I believe is a comprehensive look at the new law. New York is not the only state that allows for abortions after 24 weeks so the uproar and demonization of New York over the past few days may seem a little unfair to New Yorkers. Guttmacher.org provides a very clear picture of abortion laws in all fifty states (they have not updated NY’s information) and is tremendously enlightening.
If you are waiting for me to speak out against abortion or make the demand that Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will not be doing that in this blog post. I do have firm convictions about abortion and protecting the mother, and the baby is equally important to me. I believe people that know me understand that my heart belongs to the marginalized souls that God places on my path and I desire to love and to help people no matter their circumstances and that is why I feel compelled to share my thoughts on abortions after 24 weeks.
The mantra this week has been “if the mother’s life is in danger” or “if the fetus is not viable” we must protect the right of the mother to have the baby aborted even after 24-weeks. At face value those two statements seem almost valiant and compassionate but let’s take a closer look, use some deductive reasoning, and you might agree with me afterward that there may be ulterior motives attached to the legalization of abortions after 24-weeks.
First, I must state the obvious there is absolutely no reason to abort a baby after 24-weeks to save the life of the mother. If the mother can no longer safely sustain the pregnancy, then yes, by all means, deliver the baby. However, injecting the mother or the baby with a medication that stops the baby’s heart before delivery provides no health benefit for the mother (it is much easier and less expensive just to induce labor or perform a c-section). The mother will have to deliver the baby by c-section or vaginally whether the baby is alive or dead. It is possible to save the mother’s life without killing the baby.
I am not naïve I do realize that a baby born before 32 weeks has enormous obstacles to overcome in order to survive. Baby Center is a helpful website that clearly explains those obstacles. I am also aware that providing medical care for a premature baby is extremely expensive. March of Dimes estimates the average cost of medical care for a premature baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to be $3000.00 a day. It is also important to note that there is a strong probability that a premature baby that survives has a high probability of life long health issues (March of Dimes) and will be eligible for social security benefits (SSI Benefits).
There is a common thread that runs through the decision to deliver a live pre-term baby instead of aborting it to save the mother’s life, and it is money. It is expensive; March of Dimes estimates the global cost to insurance companies, major corporations as well as government entities to be $157 billion a year. We must stop and consider whether or not lobbyists for insurance companies and powerful corporations as well as government entities are pushing for abortions instead of live births after 24-weeks because of the high cost of care. We must also consider in light of the high cost of care for premature babies whether or not women who are facing economic challenges and rely on government health insurance will be encouraged to have the baby aborted instead of a live delivery when faced with a life-threatening pregnancy after 24-weeks. Friends we must be cautious in our rush to protect women’s rights that we not be used as pawns to in fact take informed choice away from the very women we want to protect.
Now we must consider abortion after 24 weeks for a non-viable fetus. There are countless genetic abnormalities and diseases that can make life for a baby outside of the mother’s womb impossible or at the very least too painful to even consider. There are also genetic abnormalities and diseases that a baby can survive and with assistance lead a happy and fulfilled life. Over the last few days, I have read about women who were faced with the heart-wrenching decision of terminating their pregnancy after 24-weeks due to the non -viability of their baby outside of their womb. I am not going to speak to that tragedy because I do not have a grasp on the complicated ethics involved in that decision. I do however want to be a voice of warning. We must be very sure that in our rush to protect the rights of the mother that we are not setting the stage for unscrupulous powers to encourage confused and scared mothers to abort their baby because of a genetic abnormality or disease that is costly but not deadly.
I know that this is a long blog post and I appreciate that you have stuck with me- I am almost finished. I agree with the voices that are saying those who speak out against abortion whether it be before or after 24 weeks should be willing to help women who are faced with an unplanned or difficult pregnancy. Genesis Ranch -Rescue and Restoration the non-profit that I founded supports a beautiful global ministry Embrace Grace that walks with women through their unplanned pregnancies and continues the journey of motherhood with them. You can do your part: donate to Embrace Grace, donate to March of Dimes, your local children’s hospital or your local pregnancy center. Abortion does not have to be the answer to protecting the physical and mental health of women.