Abortion for Medical Reasons
Deciding to have an abortion is a very personal decision that is often based on a variety of factors, especially when the health of the woman and fetus are at stake. There are many reasons why a woman may choose to have an abortion, health concerns being one of them. While most abortions are done before 16 weeks of pregnancy, medical reasons can require the procedure after this point, making them extremely difficult on the expecting mother.
While most women can carry a child to term without any major problems, there are some situations in which the mother will be put in danger if she carries her child to term, or the fetus will not survive either way. In cases like these, an abortion is often offered as an alternative to the loss of the woman’s life. Some instances where this will be offered for medical reasons are an impending miscarriage, a medical condition in the mother, or a birth defect in the child.
Within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy it is often clear if a miscarriage will happen. When a miscarriage does occur and no fetal heartbeat can be detected and blood levels of HCG are declining, many women opt to have the fetus removed via elective termination. This choice is often made instead of waiting for the painful process of a miscarriage to begin. This process is very painful and can be dangerous to the woman, often leading to medical problems like hemorrhaging and infertility.
Medical conditions that pose a threat to the woman’s life can also lead to the decision to have an abortion. Some of these conditions, like severe preeclampsia, are caused by the pregnancy itself. Others, like aggressive forms of cancer, may only be treated if the pregnancy is terminated. Choosing to end the pregnancy under these conditions is a difficult and heartbreaking situation that most people never have to consider.
Another reason for choosing a termination is a birth defect detected in the fetus. With recent advances in modern medicine, doctors are able to detect many types of birth defects early in pregnancy. In the most severe of cases, defects like Trisomy 13 and Potter’s Syndrome, there is no chance of the baby’s survival past birth. Situations like these often result in elective termination to save the mother the physical and mental pain of carrying the child to term, only to lose them.
Abortion is never an easy choice, but it is extremely difficult when related to health risks and concerns.
There are many reasons for a pregnant woman to consider ending a pregnancy, included health concerns. While health reasons are not the most common behind ending a pregnancy, they are one of the most difficult choices for a woman.