There are several reasons why Late Term Abortion is chosen by numerous women and advised by so many physicians. Some of the most common reasons are unwanted pregnancies that were not discovered early; those that resulted from rape or incest; or because of pregnancy complications that were life threatening to the mother. The diagnosis of a fetal genetic defect discovered late in pregnancy can also lead to the need for a late term or third trimester abortion.
Why Perform Late Term Abortion for Genetic Fetal Defects?
Due to modern technological advances in prenatal screening, many fetal defects can now be discovered much earlier through genetic testing such as sampling the mother's blood, Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, and high tech sonography used to detect fetal abnormalities that would lead to the decision to pursue further genetic testing. In most pregnancies where there is a genetic abnormality, the sonogram may initially appear normal. Additionally, when a child is delivered at term, in the majority of cases he or she may also appear normal. However; not all fetal defects can be confirmed at an early stage of pregnancy. Some fetal defects can only be detected when the fetal organs are further developed. The central nervous system of a fetus at 18 to 20 weeks might appear normal, yet at 26 to 30 weeks, severe abnormalities incompatible with life may be revealed. When faced with this situation, women may choose to have a third trimester abortion rather than give birth to a child who may greatly suffer or possibly die before or shortly after birth.
Fetal Defects that are Incompatible with Life
Most people view Late Term Abortion as an acceptable alternative to the anguish of having a child that will ultimately suffer from severe fetal defects. The following are well-known fetal defects that may present severe consequences:
Edwards Syndrome: (Cat's Eye Syndrome or Trisomy 18)
This is the second most common Trisomy abnormality that carries with pregnancy to full term. It is associated with the extra chromosome 18. It occurs in approximately 1 (one) in 6,000 live births and females are more commonly afflicted with this disorder. The majority of fetuses afflicted with this disorder die before they reach term. It is a genetic defect characterized by abnormalities that can cause the eye to have a feline appearance. Although it may not be life threatening, there are other abnormalities associated with cat's eye syndrome which may be detrimental, such as central nervous system disorders, kidney abnormalities, heart defects, absence of esophageal development, cleft lip, cleft palate and rocker bottom feet. These severe abnormalities make the decision to undergo Late Term Abortion no less difficult, but much easier to accept.
Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13)
Followed by Trisomy 18 and 21, and due to an extra #13 chromosome this is the third most common Trisomy abnormality. Trisomy 13 occurs in 1 (one) out of 5,000 to 1 (one) in 20,000 live births, and more often than not, the fetus dies before birth. Common physical features include cyclopia where the fetus appears to have an eye in the middle of its forehead; central nervous system abnormalities such as holoprosencephaly, hydrocephaly (large amount of water on the brain), mircopthalmia, and other organ abnormalities such as heart and kidney defects, polydactyly (more than 5 fingers), and omphalocele (protrusion of organs such as the liver at the insertion of the umbilical cord).
A virus that commonly affects young children without harm or dangerous symptoms, but when contracted by a pregnant woman the virus can be passed on to the fetus and cause severe abnormalities. The effects may include CNS irregularities which can lead to loss of hearing or sight, and cause seizures or severe mental retardation. The virus can also cause serious damage to the fetal lungs and liver resulting in death during or shortly after birth. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection during pregnancy is one of the most common indications for Late Term Abortion in the United States.
Late Term Abortion Clinics are the Alternative to Hospitals that ban Abortion
Many states ban abortion late in pregnancy even when the pregnancy may be life threatening to the mother or pose a severe genetic defect or abnormality to the fetus. The majority of hospitals in this country do not allow abortion to be performed. If your gynecologist or physician have stressed that an abortion is recommended, but they are unable to perform the procedure in a hospital setting, you have the alternative to obtain this service from an abortion provider. Choose a clinic which employs highly trained and appropriately skilled professionals who can perform the procedure safely and effectively. It is important to make certain that they provide sufficient support services even after the procedure has been completed.
In summary; fetal abnormalities and intrauterine viral infections such as these are just a few of the multiple genetic defects and diseases which may result in a pregnancy that is incompatible with life. Unfortunately, these abnormalities are not found until late in pregnancy and choosing whether to continue or to terminate the pregnancy should be a decision made by the mother and her family. Thus Late Term Abortion must remain a viable option.