The Pen

Monsters are Real, Not Just the Things of Nightmares: A Call for the Stories of Late Term Murder of the Unborn

Editor’s Note: The “Shout Out Your Abortion” movement has reached an unimaginable low point with the shrill call-out for those who have murdered their unborn babies right up to birth. Their stories of murder attempt to lessen the blame by seeking to defend or justify it by the use of the following excuses: Suffering of a disabled child, length of life, quality of life, and unfair to other children within the family.

Instead of the loving commitment of parents in past generations to sacrifice for their children no matter the child’s disabilities and the costs of personal risk, pain and suffering, many are concealing the true reasons for sacrificing their children on the altar of personal inconveniences.

Sadly, these aberrant excuses will reach an even lower point. The following article removes the mask. Pay close attention because if society continues to accept these reasons as justifiable for pro-actively killing the unborn, it will not be too long before they will seem reasonable for infanticide and euthanasia.

[Lisa Belkin | Yahoo News] It had been two and a half years since Erika Christensen had flown from New York to Colorado for a late-term abortion, but the news over the last few weeks brought it all back to her: the articles and protesters who called changes in New York and Virginia law “infanticide,” and the State of the Union speech that made the same claim. This convergence of voices saying that the agonizing choice she had made with her husband, Garin Marschall, was equivalent to murder. So they started writing.

He wrote an open letter, titled “We are later abortion patients.” He wrote: “We are not monsters. We are your family, your neighbors, someone you love.”

She, in turn, wrote on the websites of several support groups — secret, members-only sites with names like “Ending a Wanted Pregnancy.”

“Are you a later abortion patient (21 wks+) from anywhere in the country who is interested in a quick advocacy opportunity for later abortion access?” her messages said. “Please reach out through any of our channels or PM for more info. #theirliesdependonoursilence.”

Before long they had nearly 130 signatures on his letter, more than half from people going public with their stories for the first time.

In the course of the struggle over abortion rights in the U.S., there have been periodic episodes of attention to late-term terminations, defined as ending a pregnancy after about the 20th week. Each spike brings a wave of patients who step forward to share details of their own late abortion, hoping to give a human face to what they describe as personal anguish but know that some others see as callous disregard for life. In the past few weeks there has been a larger, more public and seemingly angrier outpouring of such tales than in recent memory, one that seems in keeping with these angrier, more anguished times.

“People told us ‘I’m sick of hiding, I’m sick of pretending that this didn’t happen in my life,’” says Christensen, who herself had to travel from her home in Brooklyn to a clinic in Colorado for an abortion in her 32nd week of pregnancy. The son she was carrying had a number of malformations which doctors told the couple were “incompatible with life.” If he were born alive, he would suffocate either immediately or soon after birth. By the time this could be diagnosed with certainty on a sonogram, she was well past the 24-week cutoff for termination in New York state.

Those who signed her letter have similar tales and “are angry at being accused of killing their babies on a whim,” Christensen said. “They hope their stories can add context to this hideous rhetoric that we’re hearing.”

Only 1 percent of abortions in the U.S. — around 15,000 a year — occur in the 21st week or beyond, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The organization, which both sides of the debate usually credit as an impartial source, says there is no hard data on the reasons for those abortions, but offers some explanations. Some women do not know they are pregnant until well into their pregnancy, some try to have the procedure sooner but are stymied by legal or practical obstacles such as waiting periods and the need to travel long distances to clinics, and some only learn of fetal anomalies or risks to their own health until the second or third trimester.

This small percentage of pregnancies has been in the news a great deal, as some states seek to secure abortion rights in anticipation that the Supreme Court will overturn federal protections. New York’s Reproductive Health Act, for which Christensen and Marschall have been lobbying for for several years, would allow abortions after 24 weeks if the fetus is not viable or if there is a risk to the mother’s health, eliminating the need to travel to other states. And Virginia’s HB 2491 would have expanded the circumstances under which third trimester abortions would be permissible, including nonviability and severe fetal anomaly.

PreTrump referred to both during his State of the Union address, saying, among other things, that “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”

Anti-abortion groups are pleased with this recent focus on later abortions, says Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List, because they regard it as a wedge issue that can bring voters around to their side. Polls find that 60 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in the first three months, 28 percent in the second three months and 13 percent in the final three months.

“The pro-life movement is only too glad to talk about [later-term abortion],” Quigley said. “When it’s in the news like this, there’s a visceral reaction and people are repulsed.”

To be clear, the goal of the anti-abortion movement is to end all abortions; activists hope to capitalize on the public’s “visceral reaction” to aborting a fetus late in pregnancy to make it illegal at any point.

But patients who have had abortions after the first trimester say public opinion reflects the fact that the issue is oversimplified at best and lied about at worst — by voices that now include the president of the United States.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Lisa Belkin and originally published at Yahoo News. Title changed by P&P.]