Woman Defends Aborting Her 32-Week-Old Baby Because He Would Be Severely Disabled

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 16, 2016   |   11:00AM   |   Washington, DC

The pro-abortion website Jezebel published a lengthy, heartbreaking interview this week with a woman from Brooklyn who had a late-term abortion a few weeks ago.

“Elizabeth,” 35, was 32 weeks pregnant with her son (baby pictured above is 32 weeks of age) when she traveled to Colorado to have a late-term abortion. Just a week earlier, doctors told her and her husband that their son was “incompatible with life” and probably would not be able to breath outside the womb.

Elizabeth and her husband wanted their son. They had a miscarriage about a year ago and were excited to be pregnant again. At her 13 week appointment, Elizabeth said everything looked fine, and doctors told her that she was having a boy.

“We had a really fancy 4-D ultrasound, and he was waving at us,” she remembered.

As the weeks went by, however, Elizabeth said doctors began discovering problems. First, her son appeared to have club feet, then he appeared to have problems with his hands. Later, he appeared to have stopped growing, and he wasn’t swallowing, she said.

“We were starting to tentatively plan that this person was going to show up, and once we hit 30 weeks, we got very excited. We thought, ‘Even if I go into labor tomorrow, he has a very strong chance of making it,’” Elizabeth said. “… I was still holding on to hope that, maybe… I don’t want to use the word miracle, but maybe it was a bad scan, I thought.”

At her 31-week scan however, doctors labeled her son “incompatible with life.” They did not give her and her husband an exact diagnosis, but they said their baby boy would not be able to breath outside the womb and he probably would die within minutes after birth.

“The night that we found out that he really wasn’t going to make it, my husband and I came home and drank bourbon,” she said. “And when I had a sip of bourbon, it was over.”

The next week, she flew to Colorado where she had a late-term abortion at Warren Hern’s abortion clinic in Boulder.

When asked if she considered carrying her son to term despite the bad news, Elizabeth said her physical health led her to the decision to have the late-term abortion. She said she had brain surgery two years ago, and doctors highly recommended that she have a C-section when she gave birth.

She said:

And so we were considering putting me through major abdominal surgery for a baby that’s not going to make it, or risking that I go into natural labor and something pops in my head and I die, basically.

To be clear, if the doctors thought there was any way he might make it, I would have taken that chance. I truly would have put myself through anything. What I came to accept was the fact that I would never get to be this little guy’s mother—that if we came to term, he would likely live a very short time until he choked and died, if he even made it that far. This was a no-go for me. I couldn’t put him through that suffering when we had the option to minimize his pain as much as possible.

There are many disturbing things about the story that do not match up. One is that late-term abortions also are very risky to women; and from the sound of Elizabeth’s specific procedure, hers was even more so. She had the first part of the abortion in Colorado. Hern gave her a shot through her stomach to stop her unborn son’s heartbeat. Then she was given a drug to delay labor and flew on a plane back to a hospital in New York where they induced labor and removed her dead son from her womb. It is unclear how this was any less risky that allowing her son to be born and die naturally.

Another disturbing aspect is the lies that Hern told her about her son and her unquestioning acceptance of them. She said:

I asked him if he thought the baby would feel the shot, and he said no. I mentioned an article I’d read about tests where they prick a baby in utero, and the baby jumps. I asked him, “Doesn’t that mean that the baby can feel pain?”

He said, “No. If you prick a frog, it jumps because it has reflexes. A fetus does have reflexes, but doesn’t mean that they can feel and contemplate pain.” He told me that whatever that fetus feels is not like the pain they would feel on the outside.

“That’s real pain,” he said. “And whatever he might feel, it doesn’t touch the pain you are feeling as a grown, thinking, feeling woman.”

It was interesting to me, as a liberal, non-religious person, to see how much of that anti-choice rhetoric I had internalized. I can already hear the other side saying, “Well of course he’s going to say that. He’s a f—- abortion doctor.” But I think he’s really honest. He’s a brilliant doctor with 40 years of information, and he was giving us really no-nonsense information the whole time.

But what Hern told her is a lie. Abortion activists contest evidence that unborn babies feel pain at the 20-week mark, but even they cite studies showing that unborn babies feel pain by 30 weeks. Elizabeth’s baby was 32 weeks along, meaning he probably felt extreme pain during the abortion.

She also told Jezebel how much an average late-term abortion costs at Hern’s facility: $25,000 cash. Because Elizabeth flew back to New York to complete the abortion, the abortion clinic charged her $10,000, according to the report. She called herself “lucky” for being one of the few women able to afford such an abortion.

“Most people are forced to carry to term because they can’t afford that,” she said.

After delivering her dead son back in New York in a very painful, traumatic labor experience, she and her husband reluctantly agreed to see their dead son’s body. She described him as small and deformed.

She said they currently are waiting on an autopsy report of his body, which they hope will determine what was wrong with him.

Elizabeth, who had the abortion just a few weeks ago, spent a lot of time in the interview trying to justify her decision and the legalization of late-term abortions. But she couldn’t escape admitting that she continues to question her decision.

“But ultimately, I did make a really hard decision, and I can’t help but worry that it was the wrong one.”