Woman explains why she had abortion at 35 weeks (Updated)

Update: In a follow-up article (to the one referred to below) on the Montreal Gazette site today, the woman at the centre of this controversy speaks to the paper about her decision to have a late-term abortion. It explains that the medical condition of the fetus was much worse than what had been suggested. Tap here to read it.

I’m leaving the original post up below, for discussion.


At what point is it too late to perform an abortion?

That’s an issue many people are talking about in Montreal today after reports that two area hospitals turned down a woman’s request for an abortion at 30 weeks. They claim they refused her on medical grounds, not ethical grounds. The woman, unnamed, says she wanted the abortion because an ultrasound revealed the fetus “appeared to have physical abnormalities that were not life-threatening to the mother or the baby,” according to a report on the Montreal Gazette site.

The woman turned to a lawyer for help, and he suggested she try another hospital. She ended up having the abortion at 35 weeks.

In Canada, the fetus has no legal status before birth, the woman’s lawyer says in the report. And a woman’s right to an abortion is enshrined, no matter what the reason and at any stage in her pregnancy.

But some might be wondering if the Supreme Court judges, who established the law on this issue, were thinking of such late-term abortions — which are quite rare, apparently.

I handled the above-mentioned article for the paper last night, and it has left me somewhat shaken — as happens sometimes to us copy editors with articles that cross our desks. What truly troubles me are the reader responses, many calling the woman a murderer. I suspect that whoever took this story to the media was not expecting that sort of backlash — and they were just trying to point out that two hospitals denied a woman’s rights that are enshrined by federal law.

I’m troubled this morning because my son was born 8 weeks early — and the thought of someone performing an abortion on such a developed fetus is horrifying, considering how abortions are performed, as some readers graphically pointed out. That’s what truly troubles me today.

I mean, could they not have allowed the fetus to be born, and then used more gentler euthanasia drugs to end its existence?

These are not questions of whether abortion should be legal or not, because it is legal and that will not be changed in Canada. My questions are more about timing, and methods.

Was abortion the right method of ending this particular life?

— Jillian

Photo credit: World Can’t Wait via Foter.com / CC BY

4 thoughts on “Woman explains why she had abortion at 35 weeks (Updated)

  1. Julian, If the abnormality were severe enough to be an issue to either mother or child, I can understand her decision. If they would have euthanized the fetus after its birth, would be crueler to the mother….going through labor is not an easy thing; been there done that. Plus it would be added efforts to the hospital staff and stress on the mother. It may not be my decision, but I won’t put my wishes onto another. I had 2 children born before I ever married. One was date rape, and the other I found out after he was already married. I don’t blame the children. I have been in contact with the 2nd child, now a woman. The first never reached out. Had my now deceased husband and I married much earlier, we would have had several children. He knew of the earlier issues and loved me still, being my soul mate and best friend for 23 year years.


  2. We cannot judge, the truth is in the heart and mind of the woman, her decision was hers. In the end it is her memories that she will have to endure. if the fetus was truely going to produce a child whose quality of life would have been dependant on society, if it was too much for her to endure, as it must have been her driving decision to end it. Let’s not forget the partner and his support in the decision. Ultimately we need to appreciate how life is so precious and indeterminate. Yet, we still kill each other, allow starvation and proverty. Suicide bombers, ethnic cleansing, horrific actions aboud.
    We cannot judge her actions nor should we.

    Just as we have the right to our freedoms, she has hers.

    What we need is a huge group hug, think of our own families and the season of love and joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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