Abortion: moderate Republicans and extreme Democrats

Senate Republican Lindsey Graham proposed a bill to legalize elective abortions up to 15 weeks, and Democrats barked that this was more evidence of Republican extremism.  The mainstream media headlined the bill as Republicans banning abortion nationwide.  The 15-week limit was in the fine print.  Still, it was a curious headline, because Graham's proposal is consistent with the desires of most Americans.  Fifty-five percent oppose abortion in the second and third trimesters (13+ weeks).

In the scheme of abortion laws around the world, the Republican position is moderate.  It is Democrats seeking an abortion law with a gestational limit beyond 15 weeks who are extremists.

Democrats are fond of comparing the United States to Europe when it comes to social spending.  They'd be surprised at how abortion compares.

In the European Union, the average gestational limit for an elective abortion is 12 weeks.  Twelve weeks is not arbitrary.  The second trimester begins at 13 weeks, which is when there are increasing concerns about medical complications, including infertility, and there are issues of morality and viability.  In all but two countries — Sweden and the Netherlands — the limit is under 15 weeks.  In two countries — Poland and Malta — abortion is prohibited.  In Poland, there is an exception for rape, incest, and the health of a woman.

Image: Sen. Lindsey Graham.  YouTube screen grab.

What about the Latin American homelands of many Americans?  In Latin America, elective abortions are legal in four out of twenty-three countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, and Colombia.  The gestational limit in weeks is 14, 12, 12, and 24, respectively.  In 10 out of 32 states in Mexico, abortion has been decriminalized. In nine states, the gestational limit is 12 weeks, and in one it is 13 weeks. Abortion is banned in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  In the latter, a woman who has an abortion can be jailed for 6–30 years.  On September 4, 2022, Chilean voters rejected a constitutional amendment giving women the right to elective abortions.  Now Chilean women will have the same abortion restrictions as most women.  Abortion is permitted in cases of rape, incest, and the health of a woman.

The situation is similar in Africa, where 5 of 55 countries permit elective abortions up to 12 weeks, and 6 nations ban abortions.  The rest permit abortions on socio-economic grounds and for the health of the mother.  In the Middle East, only Turkey and Tunisia allow elective abortion, and this is for up to 10 and 13 weeks, respectively.

In Southeast Asia, positions on abortion are all over the place.  In Brunei, abortion is punishable by flogging.  In 7 of 11 countries, it is available only to save a woman's life or in the case of rape.  Elective abortions are available in Cambodia for up to 14 weeks, Thailand for 12 weeks, Vietnam for 22 weeks, and Singapore for 24 weeks.  The gestational limits in Vietnam and Singapore (and Colombia) represent the extremes, and some of these abortions will more properly be labeled infanticides.  With an emphasis on contraception and family planning, abortion is, however, extremely rare in Singapore.  They aren't much on family planning in Vietnam, and most women have at least one abortion.

Extreme gestational limits on abortion are often hailed as a victory for women's rights but not for the rights of the unborn, but in some countries, like China where women are not remotely equal to men, it has nothing to do with women's rights and everything to do with the government wanting to control the population.  America has been accused on multiple occasions of using abortions to control the Black population.  Blacks are 12.5% of the population but account for 38% of abortions.

One can argue whether Graham's proposal is a good one.  On the one hand, capping abortions at 15 weeks will stop America's descent into immorality with women boasting about having an abortion, states advertising abortion tourism, pretending a fetus has the feelings of a rock, or that infanticide is a woman's right.  On the other hand, pro-life people will say the Supreme Court foreclosed any federal abortion laws and that a 15-week cut-off means that hundreds of thousands of abortions can still be performed annually.  That's an important debate to have.

What all must agree on, though, is that it's the Democrats, almost alone in the world, who support the extreme position on abortion, one that kills viable babies, elevates the risk of harm to a pregnant woman, ignores fetal pain, and disproportionately affects Blacks.

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