The top-rated comment on a NYT op-ed titled "Late-Term Abortion Was the Right Choice for Me."
By the way, I need to elaborate on something I was writing about yesterday in the post "Who — Trump or Hillary — was confused or dishonest about abortion at the last debate?" I was looking very closely at a something written by the obstetrician/gynecologist Jen Gunter, who had mostly attacked what Donald Trump said about abortion in the last debate, but who also said that Hillary Clinton was "confused." Gunter wrote:
Talking about abortion from a medical perspective is challenging when you are not a health care provider. Even someone familiar with the laws can get confused. For example, Mrs. Clinton made an error speaking about late-term abortion when she said it was a health of the mother issue. Typically it is not (it’s almost always fetal anomalies).... I don’t know where Mrs. Clinton got this “bad news at the end” of the pregnancy being about maternal health.... [N]o one is performing health of the mother abortions at 38 or 39 weeks we just do deliveries. It’s called obstetrics.Gunter proceeds to talk about "deliveries" that are designed to kill the unborn — a procedure she speaks of approvingly because "After 24 weeks birth defects that lead to abortion are very severe and typically considered incompatible with life." Now, 24 weeks is generally considered the point of viability, and under the case law, a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion for any reason prior to viability. But after viability, laws may protect the life of the unborn, but the woman has a right to get an abortion to protect her own life or health.
That, I assume, is the reason why Hillary Clinton spoke of late-term abortion as a matter of the woman's health. In other words, it wasn't "an error." The person "with the laws" was not "confused." She was framing her position carefully to fit the law. Gunter is a person familiar with the medical practice. From her point of view, Hillary seemed "confused" because Hillary's position is out of line with the real-life facts as Gunter has experienced them. So it seems that Gunter stumbled into what can be understood as devastating to Hillary Clinton's position. I don't know how many people will notice this, however. I didn't notice it when I wrote the post yesterday.
Here's something else I noticed only after writing the post.
I’ve never heard of a dilation and extraction for any other reason than severe birth defects and often it is for a woman who has had two or three c-sections for whom inducing labor might pose other health hazards, like uterine rupture. Are we to force women to have c-sections for a pregnancy that is not compatible with life?I said:
A good question. I've had 2 c-sections myself, and the second one was recommended because, after the first one, there was a danger of uterine rupture. But what I don't understand here is why wouldn't waiting for a natural birth be the alternative to a c-section? It is natural birth, not abortion, that is parallel to a c-section, since it is intended to keep the baby alive.What I failed to see there was: Let's assume you have a woman — like me, in my second pregnancy — who faces a planned c-section for health reasons. She cannot safely go through a vaginal delivery. Now, suppose she learns that the baby she is carrying has a terrible birth defect that will cause the baby to die either before birth or very soon afterwards. Should this woman be forced to go through the major surgery that is a c-section? The option of a natural birth is closed to this woman, and a c-section is major surgery, quite debilitating.
I'm surprised that I didn't see that the first time I thought about the problem, and I think that's because Gunter was keen to portray the late-term intervention as "just... deliveries": "It’s called obstetrics." It's a vaginal delivery — on a woman who can't go through with a vaginal delivery? That doesn't make sense unless you focus on what is really happening (if I understand this correctly). The fetus is not delivered whole and alive. It is destroyed in a way that avoids the dangerous aspects of delivery that would have required the woman to have a c-section.
There are so many reasons not to speak clearly on this subject. 1. Most people have strong opinions about whether they want abortions to be available or not and that makes them want to stress some things and underplay others. 2. There are very complicated facts about medical cases and procedures that must be understood and summarized. 3. The emotions of speakers and listeners can be overwhelming. 4. A clear speaker on this subject is likely to be marginalized and hated by everyone.