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Subject:  Re: Poll: When should abortion be legal/banned Date:  7/11/2013  2:38 PM
Author:  Conehead Number:  1888451 of 2015814

I agree with ModernViking. Both in his conclusions and especially on his response to "viability". Let me quote his response:

Truthfully, I want to agree with this. But who defines viable? Does a child diagnosed in-utero with cyclopia count as viable? Antiabortion radicals don't want to recognize any exceptions to this and will reflexively invoke Gosnell as the Patron Saint of Late Term Abortions. Gosnell doesn't deserve the credit. And the doctors and mothers who find themselves forced to consider the possibility don't deserve the comparison.

So, let me start with the idea that I also instinctively want to agree with "up until viability". The naive (but understandable) response is "Once the fetus could independently survive on its own, then we have to start thinking of the fetus as an independent life. After all, if the mother prematurely delivered at 30 weeks, we would instantly change the status of the fetus to 'preemie baby', why shouldn't we as society starting thinking of the fetus as 'preemie baby' as soon as that is possible?"

Why is that naive? Firstly, because of the cases that ModernViking lays out. The most common case for a late term abortion, if I recall correctly, is that the fetus isn't going to be viable.

But I also know (please respect my privacy on why) that even in a fetus without complication, viability is a sliding scale. Babies born at 39 weeks aren't as healthy as babies at 40 weeks. Babies born at 30 weeks are much more likely to survive than they used to be, but thinking of a 30 week fetus as a fully developed baby is a complete fallacy. Who are we as a society to tell a doctor when a fetus is "viable". About when it is ethical to perform a procedure. As ModernViking says, that is for the woman, doctor, and parter to decide. (Maybe I put more of the burden on the doctor than he does.)

But, even more importantly, we have to think about why we are concerned with a woman choosing to have a late term abortion. Are we afraid that women went through 7 months of pregnancy only to make the sudden flip decision that they were sick of being pregnant and want to abort? That they will take the decision too lightly? That there is some kind of eugenics based decisions going on here?

But there is no evidence that I can see of any of that. Late term abortions are insanely difficult to obtain these days. And the doctors that do perform late term abortions legally endure great personal sacrifice in order to perform them. This isn't anything women enter into lightly, and they still do have to convince a doctor that what they want to do is medically ethical.

If someone could show me evid