Pro-choicers: is there any point in a pregnancy when the woman should no longer abort?

A little housekeeping ere we begin.

Let’s take it as a given that we’re talking about cases in which there is no medical necessity for an abortion: that is, the continued survival of the fetus presents no danger to the life or health of the mother. Let’s also assume that the fetus itself, so long as the woman knows, is entirely healthy, and that she has the financial resources to support herself throughout the pregnancy. In short, the woman in question has decided, for whatever reasons, that she does not wish to become a mother.

And, before anyone complains, OF COURSE there’s no option for “The woman should never have an abortion.” That’s the anti-abortion position; including it in this poll would be like asking: “Gay men who find woman erotically repulsive: who is hotter, Natalie Portman or Kristen Bell?” If you feel like arguing that abortion should be categorically verboten, click here and have it it.

Okay then. It will take me a minute or two to get the poll running.

I figure once the fetus is viable outside of the womb it should be counted as a person. That said if the woman doesn’t want it any more they should remove it from her body and put it up for adoption with no more cost coming back to her then if she had the abortion.

It’s not my business. That is between a woman, the father, and her doctor.
My opinion has no place in her choice.

I chose “viable”, rather than a month, because I believe that as medical technology changes, the ethics of abortion change with it. Viability has gotten considerably removed from the trimester or month model of pregnancy, and is now challenging even the weeks model.

However, I believe in the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy at *any *point, up to and including the hour before she delivers naturally. I just don’t believe it’s ethical to kill the fetus in the process of removing it. If it’s past the point of viability, then it should be removed by c-section or induced vaginal birth, not D&C or D&X, and placed for adoption if she doesn’t want to raise it.

I believe that a doctor trained in obstetrics should make the determination of viability, as it pertains to the exact fetus under question and the medical tools and training of staff at the hospital in the area. This means that an ethical abortion in a small town with a basic ER but no NICU could be later than an ethical abortion in a large city with a level III NICU, as the small town hospital could not provide adequate care for a micropreemie of the same gestational age as a NICU could.

I’d also add that “viable” needs to be defined. To me, “viable”, is a level of gestational development at which it can be reasonably assumed the fetus can survive with minimal medical support and be expected to grow without a great chance of disability or lifelong medical problems resulting from its early birth. In reality, right now in most hospitals, that’s still around 27 weeks, when the lungs start making their own surfactant. Miracle micropreemies (yes, including my own) are technically “viable”, but given the high risks they face, I don’t think it’s ethical to force them to live, especially if things start looking grave.

I’m not a doctor. I say it’s up to the doctor and the woman to decide. Unless it’s my pregnancy it’s none of my business.

I’m not convinced the father is entitled to a role in this decision except as a data point. Likewise, the doctor is, at best, an advisor. Why do you include them?

Also, bear in mind I’m not asking what should be legal or allowed.

I’m pro choice, but I’d generally say until the baby could be reasonably viable outside of the womb. That said, if there’s some horrible thing that’s going to cause mom to die that isn’t discovered until month 8, then I’m not necessarily opposed to it then either. That’s an extenuating circumstance, though, and not in what we’re talking about.

I’m of the opinion a women should make a choice during the first trimester. After that I make exception for any medical reason.

I’m just of a mind it isn’t something to be indecisive about. Weigh the facts and circumstances make a decision and move on.

That said that’s simply were I may make a moral judgment. Specific circumstances can easily sway me as I have no strong reason to set my arbitrary judgment there.

Legally my opinion is anytime during a pregnancy. A woman can make whatever choice she wants.

Yah - this is about where I’m at as well. The woman should be able to choose not to have the child at any time; however, if she’s 9 months along and has a healthy 8 pound fetus swimming around in there I think WhyNot’s proposal sounds the most ethical. Give a family that desperatly wants a child the opportunity, and absolve birth-mom of responsibility.

I get the trials that pregnancy puts on the body (I’m currently 7.5 months along), but at that stage of the game I imagine a c-section would be about as risky as a termination.

YMMV and all that.

Yep. Any time up until birth. It is none of my business, and none of the state’s business. A woman’s womb doesn’t belong to the Fatherland.

I do believe that the choice belongs to the mother. I guess my statement should have been closer to:

The question is equivalent to “When does the fetus have legal standing to assert its right to life, liberty and happiness outweighs the fundamental rights of the mother to the same rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.?”.

Certainly that is true after birth. Equally certainly, it is not true at some point before birth, since fetuses are not legal persons AFICT.

There are some minor exceptions carved out by anti-choicers over the years in an attempt to chip away at the point I am making, but those are narrow. There is no serious discussion or consideration in courts or legislatures that fetuses are legal persons that I have ever heard of, no matter their age.

Where does the fetus cross that threshold into legal personhood?

Some here have said at the point of viability, while weaseling on how to define that point in any particular pregnancy or location. But I would argue that legal standing needs to be much more precise than that.

It is not clear to me that there should be any such legal standing before birth at all, but I would be willing to entertain arguments that it be given once labor has begun, on the assumption that birth is inevitable at that point.

Before that? Not seeing it…

I voted for viable outside of the womb. After that, well, I believe then an abortion should only be performed in medical emergencies.

I’m not even sure it’s unethical for a mother and father to perform infanticide, as long as it’s done humanely and they both agree. It should probably still be against the law, though.

Under what circumstances would you call infanticide ethical?

No, it isn’t. There are plenty of things I would call unethical, and judge another person harshly for in the privacy of my own cranium, that I nevertheless would not outlaw.

Skald, I say this with the greatest of love since you are one of the few posters who can bring a smile to my face at will with wordplay…

Yeah, it probably is, because the law is the expression of our ethics that we agree to share between us. You and I are free to go above and beyond or even in another direction, but the law is where we draw a communal line in a very heterogeneous society.

not_alice, here’s what I mean. I think it’s entirely jerkish for a guy to have sex with a woman, impregnate her, and then do everything he can to be a father to the child, regardless of his feelings for the child. It’s not enough to pay child support alone; I think the guy has an ethical and moral obligation to be actively involved in the child’s life, even if it means putting his own dreams and desires on hold. If I know a man has decided to check out of his child’s life, I immediately think ill of him; I’m not going to be able to be friends with him.

But I don’t think a man should be forced by the law to do what I think ethics require of him.

See what I mean?

No, that makes zero sense to me in context. For one thing, a man doesn’t “impregnate” a woman except metaphorically, it takes two to tango. Her obligations are the same as his wrt to a child that has been born.

We are talking about a fetus, his obligations may or may not be different than hers, and there may be no obligations for either or both.

Plus,. you will not in my answer, I said that the law is where we draw the line communally, and that people are free to go in other directins if the law does not specifically involve them.

In short, no one is forcing anyone to have an abortion, the question is, when , ethically, would we forbid it, right?

So for your metaphorical man, who will never have an abortion, the point is moot.

For the pregnant mother, some have said the point is moot, she can have or not have an abortion ethically right up until the the birth, even during labor. I fall close to that opinion in the spectrum, I would entertain arguments that having an abortion during labor is unethical in that construction of ethics we call the law, which is the only one that applies to all of us.

Of course there are other constructs that call themselves ethics, if you have a specific one in mind for us to use to apply to the question, then please tell us :slight_smile:

Otherwise, it seems fair to assume you meant the one that applies to all of us, and whose virtues we all share and abide by, as opposed to one that does not apply to all of us, nor to which we all abide by.

Or, if you don’t want to say, and leave it open, perhaps you can ask the answerers to specify the construct of their ethics, at least by name for further research? Otherwise, won’t the answers be pretty random for the purpose you now seem to be claiming?

I don’t see an ethical problem with a woman wanting, and even seeking, an abortion at any time before delivery. I’m also okay with doctors and nurses deciding whether or not to help her based on their ethical standards.