June 29, 2011

The first position paper I ever wrote was on abortion. I was a senior in high school and very much pro-choice. A few years late came the controversial Roe v. Wade, and my opinion was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. I had no idea that years later, I, myself, would have an abortion.

All these many years, I have been a proud feminist. I watched in dismay as the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified. I watched women gain rank and stature in business and politics (always stopped just short of the brass ring). I had my own successful career in business, having a close-up view of how it really was for women in the board room.

I remain a proud feminist, but my views on abortion have undergone a significant change and it’s a result of the development of ultrasounds.

The debate has always been about when life began. Was it when a heartbeat could be heard? When a fetus could be viable outside the womb?

Ultrasound technology came out in the 1960s, as far as I can tell, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that they became relatively affordable for hospitals and a little more common. It wasn’t until about 15-20 years, ago, though, that women were routinely offered ultrasounds during pregnancy.

What was once thought of as a small piece of protoplasm could now be seen on the screen as a hearbeat–strong– as early as a little more than five weeks of pregnancy.

A heartbeat. A sign of life.

A full-term pregnancy goes for 37 to 40 weeks. But technology has changed the age of viability.

Just 30 years ago, it was rare for a baby born before 28 weeks gestation to survive. Today, a small number of babies born at 21 weeks gestation, and around 1 percent of babies born at 22 weeks gestation, survive. Infants born at 22 weeks gestation have a 9.8 percent survival rate. At 23 weeks, the survival rate is 53 percent and at 24 weeks, it’s 67 percent. At 25 weeks, an infant’s chances of survival are 82 percent. After 26 weeks, the survival rate is near 100 percent.*

As medicine and technology have developed and evolved, so has my personal opinion on abortion. Today, knowing what I know, I would find it very difficult to have an abortion. Much more difficult than it was when I was younger. If the pregnancy were a normal one, I could not and would not have one. If there were serious fetal issues, I would have to think hard.

This evolution in my thinking has come as a surprise to me. But once I had seen a heartbeat on a screen, I would have had a very hard time terminating my pregnancy.

This change of course has come with great thought

Even so, I do not believe government should be involved in this issue. At all. I do not believe women should be harassed at abortion clinics. I do not believe doctors who terminate pregnancies should be picketed, attacked or killed.

Abortion should remain a decision rightly left to the woman and her physician.

I find it hugely ironic that many anti-abortion activists are also hugely pro-death penalty. And I wonder why the issue attracts the kind of crazies who murder doctors.

* http://www.ehow.com/about_6167934_soon-baby-survive-outside-womb_.html#ixzz1QfXPQlhB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.