LATE TERM ABORTION, NEW YORK STATE, AND THE CANADIAN CONTEXT

The recent legislation passed in New York state has started a conversation about late term abortion in general. Here are a few considerations for Canadians.

2 minute vlog transcript (with slight modifications for readability)

by Dr. Laura Lewis

I would like to make a few comments about the recent legislation passed in New York city regarding third trimester abortions.

Many people are very concerned about this legislation and are surprised that such legislation would be desired or even agreed upon. I’d like to highlight a few points about this specifically for our Canadian climate.

One is that in Canada we do not have a law regarding abortion so there are no legal regulations surrounding this procedure. In fact, in Canada a baby can be aborted up until the moment of birth – as surprising as that may seem, that is our legal state.

The second point is that there is no medical reason to abort a pregnancy in the third trimester to protect the mother’s health. If there were a condition requiring that the pregnancy be ended, the baby can be delivered prematurely and cared for. The baby may not survive, but the baby’s life does not have to be intentionally ended in order to protect the mother’s life.

The third point is that we need to be very careful about assuming the value of a human life based on a prenatal diagnosis. We know of remarkable people who are impacting the world, whose prenatal diagnosis would have prompted abortion. Nick Vujicic travels the world inspiring people with hope – and he has no arms and no legs. Tim Tebow, is another example, a professional football player whose mother was advised to abort because of a health condition she had. There are numerous examples, including examples of a mistaken prenatal diagnosis where the child was born completely healthy. We need to be careful in assuming that every negative prenatal diagnosis should be followed with an abortion, because sometimes even parents who know that their baby will not live, benefit from the time of bonding with their child, delivering their baby, and having time to say ‘hello’ and say ‘goodbye’. I understand this will not be for everyone but I think it’s important that we step back and are mindful of what our language sounds like and how we’re speaking about this.

For those of you who may find yourself dealing with some of these difficult circumstances, I encourage you to reach out to your local pregnancy care centre. These are all situations where they can help walk alongside you as you make some very difficult decisions regarding your pregnancy.

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