A video shared by The Associated Press has led to a conversation about late-term abortion. The video depicted a young woman, Beth Vial, crossing state lines to terminate a viable pregnancy.
In a piece she wrote for Teen Vogue describing her experience, Vial shared how she was unaware that she was pregnant until she was 26 weeks along, proceeding to then explain the efforts she went through to obtain an abortion. Praising the radical abortion laws in New York and Virginia for cutting “unnecessary regulations” on abortion, Vial’s article was meant to be a response to the misinformation being spread by “anti-abortion advocates” about late-term abortion.
However, her attempts to justify abortions performed late in a pregnancy not only ignores the risks associated with abortion, but Vial unintentionally proves “anti-abortion advocates” are correct about why women undergo late-term abortions.
Vial mentioned she suffers from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), later saying that she could not continue the pregnancy because she “ was too sick, not ready, and [she] simply couldn’t afford it.” Her PCOS condition hid her pregnancy symptoms, as Vial explained she frequently has missed periods on top of nausea and weight fluctuations. By chance, she took a pregnancy test, and, quickly after learning she was pregnant, Vial sought an abortion.
One of the claims Vial makes is that her health made an abortion necessary, but this is false. If a medical condition has rendered it unsafe for a woman to continue carrying her pregnancy, preterm delivery would be advised, as it is the safer option. In fact, after the radical abortion law in New York was passed, multiple doctors spoke up to say that it is never necessary to terminate a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. This radical abortion law in New York presented a broad definiton of health in order to justify abortions up to the point of birth, defining it as anything relevant to the woman’s well-being.
By the time Vial traveled to New Mexico for an abortion, she was 28 weeks along.
Babies have survived as early as 21 weeks when given proper medical care, but by 28 weeks, the baby has a 90 to 95 percent chance of survival if delivered prematurely. At this stage, the baby can also open and close his eyes, stick out his tongue, and experience REM sleep.
Vial was critical of crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) for attempting to discuss abortion alternatives with her. Despite offering her a free pregnancy test and counseling, Vial said it felt “weird” when they talked to her about other choices that did not involve abortion. After directing her to one of their medical centers where they performed ultrasounds, Vial was disappointed when she discovered she couldn’t get an abortion there. She accused the clinic of using “deceptive practices,” even though the CPC never promised her an abortion in the first place.
Vial insisted that abortion is a “very safe procedure.” But, instead of acknowledging the risks associated with abortion, of which there is plenty of evidence, Vial was more concerned about having to travel from Oregon to New Mexico to obtain a late-term abortion. Abortions taking place in this stage of the pregnancy provide the abortion industry with plenty of profit, as Vial’s abortion cost her $10,500.
Vial expressed gratitude towards the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and the National Abortion Federation for raising money to help cover the cost of her abortion. With her loved ones contributing the remaining money needed, Vial traveled over 1,000 miles from Oregon to New Mexico to terminate her 28-week-old pregnancy.
The procedure Vial underwent was likely an induction abortion. This involves causing the baby to suffer a fatal cardiac arrest so that when labor is induced, the mother gives birth to a stillborn baby—a baby that had a high chance of survival if it had been delivered prematurely.
Focusing on the lack of accessibility to late-term abortions, Vial expressed concern about how women had to travel far to obtain them, meaning that they “may miss school or work to make it to appointments.” Something she does not mention is that late-term abortions pose a greater risk to a woman’s health due to the child’s size and development. These procedures carry a higher risk of hemorrhages, lacerations, and even maternal death.
Far from being a frightening myth, women do indeed die or suffer severe complications after an abortion. But the purpose of Vial’s piece was not to inform women about the potentially devastating aftermath of abortion; it was to argue that a woman’s “constitutional right” to abortion means it must be accessible any time she wants one.
Relying on a broad “right to privacy” precedent set by Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), this standard was then applied to Roe v. Wade to include the right to abort unborn lives. As legal scholar John Hart Ely said, “[Roe] is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”
Unintentionally, Vial offers proof that late-term abortions are not performed because of fetal abnormalities or because the mother’s life is in danger. Vial revealing that she was not ready for a baby she couldn’t afford correlates with the Guttmacher Institute’s findings that late-term abortions are performed for the same reason as first trimester abortions.
Women seeking abortions in the first trimester and in later pregnancy stages cited “stressful circumstances of unprepared pregnancy, single-motherhood, financial pressure and relationship discord” as the reason for their abortions. But abortion does not alleviate these circumstances, and the conversation we should be having is about the compassionate resources we can offer women so these elective procedures do not have to take place.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.