Late-term abortions have become a hot topic of debate in recent weeks as several Democratic-controlled states have taken legislative steps to do away with prior limits and broadly expand the “right” of citizens to obtain an abortion at any point up until birth.
New York has already passed into law such a measure and Virginia very narrowly avoided joining them in doing the same, but now Democrats in Massachusetts have stepped forward to expand their legislation to allow third-trimester abortions.
The Washington Examiner reported that current Massachusetts law regarding abortion bans the procedure after 24 weeks, except for in certain cases when a continuation of the pregnancy would pose the risk of “grave impairment” of the mother’s “physical or mental health.”
The newly proposed law — The Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access Act or the “ROE Act” based on the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling — strikes the “grave impairment” portion of the language, allowing abortions after 24 weeks and leaving only the much more vague “physical or mental health.”
The bill would permit doctors to perform an abortion at any point in pregnancy by virtue of the vague “physical or mental health” clause, but that wasn’t the only “obstacle” to obtaining an abortion that would be removed by the legislation.
The Washington Examiner reported that the bill would also strike out current language that requires doctors to “take all reasonable steps … to preserve the life and health of the aborted child,” meaning an infant who survives an attempted abortion could be left to struggle and die on its own. In other words, infanticide.
Furthermore, the new law would strip the requirement for abortion doctors to have life-saving equipment present in the room where the procedure is performed and would allow minors to obtain an abortion without the consent or knowledge of their parents.
The bill was introduced in January by Democratic state Sen. Harriette Chandler and was co-sponsored by 20 state senators and 100 members of the state House, all of whom are Democrats.
Chandler told the Washington Examiner, “The ROE Act breaks down barriers to ensure that women are able to receive appropriate medical care, according to a physician’s best judgment, in tragic circumstances when there are lethal abnormalities or a risk to the woman’s life during the course of a pregnancy.”
“The law should reflect that these are very difficult decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor,” she added.
While pro-life conservatives and Republicans have opposed the proposed law, the ACLU of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Family Planning Association held a rally in support of the bill.
Melanie Israel, a research associate for the Heritage Foundation, called the bill “horrifying” and said, “It’s New York and Virginia all over again.”
Israel said that fetal abnormalities “can be anything from something that is going to be a life-limiting condition to the fetus, or based on how loosely these definitions are, it can be something like Down syndrome.”
She added that the broad language of the bill “can be so loosely interpreted that it can be anything from, a woman is feeling overwhelmed about what the postpartum process is going to be like … That could be reason enough to have a late-term abortion based on these new, much more loose definitions.”
Recent studies have shown how increasingly unnecessary late-term abortions are, as the estimated survival rate of 50 percent for unborn infants at around 24 weeks of gestation jumps dramatically to around 84 percent after 25 weeks and 90 percent after 26 weeks. This means that concern for the survivability of the baby isn’t really a factor in this proposed law, and it is really about whether the mother wants to obtain a late-term abortion or not.
This growing state-level movement by Democrats to push for expansions in abortion laws to allow for late-term and even post-birth abortions is indeed “horrifying,” and while we cringe at the mere thought of government-approved murdering of perfectly viable unborn infants, we are glad that the Democrats are making their position on this atrocity publicly known, if only for the fact that we can more easily call it out and work against those efforts.
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