Let Me Tell You What 'Late-Term Abortions' Are Really Like––Here's My Story

by Amy Lied
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and LumiNola/Getty

Trigger warning: child loss

Dear Neighbor,

As I was walking around the neighborhood with my daughters, I couldn’t help but notice the sign in your front yard, the one that says “every day in Pennsylvania a baby is killed in late-term abortion.”

After walking away from your home, and sitting on the information contained on that sign for a bit, I felt compelled to write this letter to you.

Let me tell you a little about my story. At 32 weeks, 5 days pregnant, I learned that my son had died. I was then induced and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, only he was silent. The only tears that filled the delivery room were our own over the death of our much loved and prayed for child. He was so desperately wanted after we struggled with infertility. The loss of him is great and one I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Since losing him, I have connected with other mothers who have lost children. I wanted to share a couple of their stories with you.

A mother learns that her child has multiple anomalies that make her baby “incompatible with life.” Her child will not survive after being born. The mother, faced with the inevitable death of her unborn baby, chooses to deliver her child, pre-term. She delivers her child and gets to spend some time with her baby alive before the inevitable happens. By delivering her child early, she essentially took her baby off life support.

Her choice is considered a “late-term abortion.”

Let me tell you another story. A mother goes in for her anatomy scan at 21 weeks and learns that her child has anencephaly, meaning they are missing parts of their brain. There is absolutely no way that child would EVER survive outside of her body. Her body was the only thing keeping her baby alive. The mother chooses to terminate the pregnancy and have a dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove the pregnancy, rather than subject herself to the physical pain of labor. She is already in enough emotional pain knowing that her child will never live outside of her.

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This is considered a “late-term abortion.”

The phrase “late-term abortion” has no medical definition. It is simply not used in the field by the physicians who treat these women. The two stories I shared above would be considered “termination for medical reasons.” If you want to be black and white about it though, they are abortions. Abortions after 21 weeks make up 1% of all abortions. These two women, and so many more, make up that number.

These are not women who decided at 30 weeks pregnant that they no longer wanted a child.

These are women who have been dealt an absolutely shitty hand and are forced to make a shitty decision.

These are women who are choosing to spend some time with their child alive to attempt to make a lifetime of memories in only seconds or minutes.

These are women who are being shamed and politicized for the hardest decision they have ever had to make because of signs like yours promoting false narratives.

I, personally, know the pain of losing a child, of holding my deceased son in my arms. I had no choice in that. However, I can promise you, that if I had known that his death was an inevitability and if I had the option to spend ANY amount of time with my son alive, any time that would’ve allowed me to see him open his eyes and make any sound of life, I would’ve chosen it. I would’ve chosen to have what you call a “late-term abortion.”

Please stop politicizing their pain! I implore you to have some empathy and to think of these women, and of myself, when you choose to perpetuate the false narrative of a “late-term abortion.” These women are not monsters. They are mothers making the best decisions they can for their child.


Your fellow neighbor and bereaved mother

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