Delay, Delay, Delay: Restrictive Laws Force Later-Term Abortions
Many were horrified by news accounts of an 11-year-old girl in Argentina who, 23 weeks pregnant, underwent a procedure like a C-section rather than the abortion she had sought weeks earlier. The girl had been raped by the boyfriend of her grandmother, with whom the girl had been living. In language that will be hard to forget, she wanted doctors “to remove what the old man put inside me.” Lucia (a pseudonym) was placed in state care a week after her pregnancy was discovered because “self-inflicted lesions” indicated suicide attempts.
Argentina law allows abortions in the case of rape or to protect the life of a pregnant person. In the U.S., Lucia might still have been in elementary school. Her pregnancy was discovered long before fetal viability, when the fetus/baby would have a reasonable chance of surviving outside the womb. Some news reports said 16 weeks, others 19. But government-created delays caused the pregnancy to progress to the point where there were calls to “save both lives.” Doctors performed a procedure similar to a C-section, even though the infant was unlikely to survive. The baby died after 10 days in intensive care. Two children, then, were harmed by the abortion delay.
It’s easy to think that would never happen in the U.S. But which part? Certainly, such a rape can and does happen here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18 in the U.S.