Abortion balance line
The expected overturning of Roe v. Wade presents a challenge to people who have worked for years to protect the unborn. They now also must protect the lives of born women and girls.
As a family physician, I have counseled thousands of women about their birth control options and pregnancy decisions. I, too, would like to see the need for abortion end, but it will not happen by outlawing it.
Abortion will become less necessary when all children receive early, accurate and comprehensive education about procreation and human sexuality from their families, places of worship and schools; and when birth control is free and easily available.
Abortion has persisted for millennia because people make mistakes due to ignorance, misjudgment, shame, carelessness, alcohol, rape, incest and failure of birth control.
It is incumbent upon society to support women and families so there is no childhood poverty and no desperation among pregnant women. Their full lives must be protected.
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There will be painful stories like ones I have heard from my adult patients: a 13-year-old who gave birth on a field trip to a child conceived of incest; a 40-year-old with her tubes tied, who came to me at 24 weeks for a mass in the abdomen, carrying an anencephalic fetus.
Viability is the sensible balance line between a woman’s life and the fetus she is carrying. Roe became outdated as viability moved into the second trimester.
Mississippi now has, perhaps unintentionally, legalized abortion up to 15 weeks — a time when a fetus currently is not viable. But in 50 years, in vitro babies might be brought to term outside of the womb. How will we balance the rights of each life then?
People of goodwill can work together to protect life, both unborn and born. It requires balance.