CNN reported that New York recently passed a controversial law loosening the rules on abortion. New York is the latest state to do so, as advocates say they fear the newly conservative U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade. According to MSNBC, the new laws are "fueling an ongoing debate about later abortions." Across the world, it's been a high-focus subject.

In Ireland, an amendment of the Irish Constitution had made it nearly impossible for a woman to have an abortion. This recently changed when the country's citizens voted for the amendment's repeal.

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Late term abortion is a growing trend along with relaxing the rules as to who can perform them. While licensed physicians and hospitals used to be required to perform an abortion, the changes in the New York Reproductive Health Act allows abortions by “a health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized under Title Eight of the Education Law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice…”

In California, Penal Code 187 (a) defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought, meaning, if a woman is pregnant and during an assault her fetus dies, the person responsible can be charged with murder.

If, however, this same woman decides she is not mentally fit or healthy enough to raise a child she can move to New York and abort her full-term fetus. There are multiple states who recognize fetal injury as a separate event after an assault, but if the law in New York stands, which it will, each state will have to rethink the ramifications of fetal injury.

I spent several hours with my nurses today as we brainstormed what conditions could possibly become known that would force a woman to abort a full-term fetus. Not one of us could think of a thing.

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Ultrasounds are done throughout most pregnancies making malformation or genetic liabilities a non-issue. One patient who has cancer is receiving chemotherapy and radiation at lower doses so she can save her child and have a normal birth. Toxemia is easily rectified by an emergency C-section as is out of control diabetes. In fact, my entire point of view changed after today's visit.

A late-term abortion can take up to three days to complete, leaving a woman with extremely high blood pressure open to a stroke for three days when a C-section is always the better choice.

Perhaps, some suggested, a woman in this situation did not choose a C-section knowing her child would survive. Some would argue that the decision to abort or save is between a woman and her physician, while others would argue that the fetus is a child, fully capable of living on its own after twenty-five weeks, with appropriate medical intervention. In fact, many women who miscarry after twenty-five weeks seek the best care possible for their preterm infant and most survive.

Third-trimester abortion

A third-trimester abortion isn't pretty, not for the woman or the people helping her terminate the fetus.

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Under such slack terminology, even stress due to finances, personal reasons, or medical conditions can facilitate a late-term abortion. The New York law states the same thing Roe v. Wade does and was put into place in case Roe v. Wade is overturned by a conservative SCOTUS. Federal law states that an abortion is legal in all fifty states up to nine months of pregnancy. It is the states that have enacted restrictions on the use of late-term abortion, not the federal government.

However, believing a fetus will not suffer during its abortion is naïve in the extreme. First, a large needle is used to inject the fetus with a poison similar to potassium chloride. This will give the fetus a heart attack. A laminaria stick or sticks is inserted into the cervix. A laminaria is a form of seaweed that attracts moisture causing the cervix to swell and open. This can be done for one day or two as needed to open the cervix wide enough to accommodate the delivery of the dead fetus.

On the second day, an ultrasound is performed to make sure the fetus isn’t viable. If the fetus is still alive a second, lethal dose of poison is delivered to ensure the child dies. Several days later the woman expels a dead fetus. If the fetus is not delivered whole then a D&C is performed and the fetus is cut into pieces and removed. The woman is instructed to return to the hospital when contractions begin or if it is too late, to sit over a toilet and expel the infant. No woman can help being changed by this event and many of them experience profound grief.

The extraction procedure is done by inserting forceps into the birth canal, using the forceps to grab the fetus' legs and pull the fetus out of the birth canal leaving the head just above the cervix. Scissors are used to puncture the brain to kill the fetus. The fetus is then extracted from the birth canal.

The emotional toll

Women grieve after the loss of their baby either by miscarriage or abortion. While I decided to keep my daughter when I was fifteen, I did grieve the miscarriage of another baby four years later. Friends who had abortions still grieve and wonder what their child would have looked like, what day and month the baby would have been born. In my day, the child, myself in this situation, could be forced into having an abortion by the parent. I had to move out and stay with a friend until I was beyond the stage where an abortion could be performed. The emotional toll of abortion cannot be discounted and the woman making the decision should be given all the facts, including that a pre-term baby can feel pain by the third trimester.

I have spent years thinking about this, wondering who has the right to decide on the life of a fetus. Is it God, the mother, the father, the physician? Even at fifteen, in complete agreement with my soon-to-be husband, we knew an abortion wasn't an option. Fifty years and three kids (plus seven grandkids) later, we are proud of the woman our child has become. We had no clue where our lives were going to take us, but we believed that God had a purpose in bringing her to life. Was it easy? No. Did people think we were crazy? You bet, but we did it. Still, not everyone would want to walk this road and it is not my place to tell any woman what to do under such trying circumstances. These are deeply personal choices and no woman has an abortion on a whim.

I have examined the argument as to why men are so obsessed with women's bodies. Some men are preoccupied with power and control while others, like my husband, have strong paternal feelings toward a fetus he had yet to know. I don't know if a pregnancy termination is just the woman's prerogative. Men are fully capable of raising a child should they want to do so, and it does take two people to make a child. There isn't any way to force a man or woman into using contraceptives so the responsibility of possible parenthood should lay heavy on the consensual couple. Abortion is not and should not be seen as an easy way out.

Some couples don't see a future with an unknown child. Instead, they see another mouth to feed, a handicapped child they won't be able to care for, another stressor in an out-of-control life. Being a woman is hard, but being a man is just as difficult, so making decisions like these is even harder. I'd venture to say there isn't a woman or man alive who hasn't thought about abortion and the consequences. We do not have the right to judge another woman or man about the choices he or she makes, including a same-sex couple with regards to abortion. Abortion has a place up to the second trimester. After that, clear cut measures should be stated with no notion of ambiguity about the mother's health. If the child is able to live outside the womb with current medical practices in place, the child should be given the right to thrive and to take its place in the world.