It is easy to oppose late-term abortion when you don’t look at it any specific context. However, once you start considering all of the reasons which might lead a woman to choose abortion midway through pregnancy, you realize that abortion is a decision which should be made by the woman – and not regulated by the government. This is what a new poll confirms.
Commissioned by Planned Parenthood, Heart Research Associates polled over 1,000 voters. They asked them whether abortion should be illegal after 20 weeks in four situations, all of which are common reasons for seeking the late-term abortion. The poll found that the majority of voters thought abortion after 20 weeks should be legal.
· 66% said it should be legal if the woman would suffer serious health consequences if the pregnancy were carried to term.
· 61% said it should be legal if a doctor determines that the fetus is not viable.
· 61% said it should be legal if the pregnancy was a result of incest or rape.
· 58% said it should be legal if the fetus has severe abnormalities that would cause death or extreme disability.
Late-term abortion has become a hotbed issue in recent years because medical advancements make it possible for a fetus to be viable outside of the womb as early as 23 weeks (though not without severe risks and long-term complications). Anti-choice groups have used this to advocate for earlier limitations on when an abortion can be performed, like the nationwide 20-week abortion ban which congress is pushing.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortions after 20 weeks are rare and only comprise about 1.5% of all abortions performed. Thus, it is no surprise that the polled voters (including those who call themselves “pro life”) said that they think this is the wrong issue for congress to be focusing on.
If people are really concerned that women may be aborting healthy, viable fetuses, then they shouldn’t enact laws which ban abortion. Instead, they should be passing laws which make it easier to access abortion in the early stages. As it stands now, with dozens of states passing laws that have shut down clinics and increased waiting times, women are only going to have to wait longer until they can get an abortion.