An article in the BBC about Marie Stopes' report regarding late-term abortions says that they are a hard decision for women to make. The article lists a number of reasons women have late-term abortions; the organization itself calls for keeping the 24-week limit in place, rather than the proposed reduction to 20 weeks (as do other British organizations).
From the Marie Stopes press release:
In our experience, no woman requests abortion at post 20 weeks for frivolous reasons. Most have thoroughly compelling reasons for doing so and have agonised over their decision, and as a society we should have compassion and offer our full support to them in making this most difficult of choices.
And from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service:
"Women seek late abortion reluctantly, because they believe it is the 'least worst' option they can take" explains Ann Furedi, "late abortion is difficult emotionally for the patient and those who care for her. Women request it out of desperation and doctors provide it out of compassion."
I'm concerned about this. I understand that the study and related comments are in response to media/public pressure about late-term abortions. And in order to educate the public, data is necessary. I get that. But at the same time, I wonder why we have to justify abortion as being a difficult procedure, or a difficult decision to make. Hillary Clinton said "I believe we can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."
Why does abortion have to be sad or tragic or difficult? And why do we have to sell the public that there are reasons why women need the option? If a woman's partner is violent and she's 22 weeks pregnant, does that change the fetal age? Sure, it changes her circumstances, and I understand that as a marketing tool, but it has no scientific use, in terms of the fetus. I feel like it's not really our place to judge. If a woman who's having a hard time, or being abused, can have an abortion at 22 weeks, why can't someone have an abortion and not be torn up about it? Why would it be less legal for her?
Plus, also, why is it necessary to reiterate that women think about their choices? Women think about their choices as much as men do, and I can't see how just the statement that women actually do think about abortion before they have one isn't completely demeaning. Is the assumption that women have abortions willy-nilly? 'Oh, I don't feel like being pregnant today'?
There are people who are ok with having an abortion, and there are people who are in really crappy situations. How can we distinguish between the two, and say that the woman who has already made up her mind, and is ok with her decision is the one LESS deserving of an abortion. And how dare we judge that reason?