Are Late Term Abortions Safe?

Health & FitnessMedicine

  • Author James Pendergraft
  • Published March 19, 2012
  • Word count 501

There is a lot of controversy regarding Late Term Abortions because of the misleading information that has been circulated regarding them being able to be performed for any reason. This is far from the truth. There is also the misunderstanding that performing Late Term Abortions is a dangerous procedure for the mother. There is no definite definition of a Late Term Abortion. We will use it as being a termination of pregnancy that occurs after the 24th week of pregnancy. With today's modern medications and highly advanced surgical techniques and medical equipment, performing Late Terminations of Pregnancy are very safe.

Late Term Abortions are performed when there is a threat to the mother's life or health, or a fetal genetic defect or significant fetal abnormality. Examples of a pregnancy threatening a mother's life is Preeclampsia which only occurs during pregnancy. It is where the mother's blood pressure becomes elevated and protein is found in the mother's urine. Other organs can become involved such as the liver and Central Nervous System. Liver rupture has occurred and swelling of the brain can lead to coma, loss of vision, and seizures. Maternal death can occur due to not being able to control seizures and multiple organ failure involving the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.

Late Term Abortions can be performed using several methods. One method is where it is performed over a two day period of time. The first day consists of the insertion of Laminaria (sterile match stick seaweed) into the cervix (the lower part of the uterus) which allows the dilation (opening) and softening of the cervix to take place which 1) reduces the chances of any complications that can occur and 2) helps to reduce the time from the onset of the abortion procedure to completion of the delivery process. The fetal heart rate is then stopped using one of several techniques to assure that there will not be the possibility of a live birth. The patient is then sent home or to a hotel overnight and returns the following morning where the induction of labor process is started. This can last anywhere from 3 to 12 hours. Pain medications are administered as required for patient comfort. After delivery, the patient is observed for a short period of time and then she is discharged. The complication rate is far less than a patient delivering at full term.

Some indications for Late Term Abortions include genetic defects such as trisomy 18, trisomy 13 or fetal abnormalities such as body stalk or anencephaly where there is virtually a 100 percent chance of fetal death while pregnant or shortly after birth though there are a few cases where a child born who has anencephaly can live for over 6 months. If the mother has a health issue that is a threat to her life or health such as severe kidney disease, heart disease, certain connective tissue diseases, or severe diabetes that threatens the mother's eyesight or there is a high probability of maternal death, then there is indication to terminate the pregnancy.

James Scotty -

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