Laws regarding abortion have changed a lot over the years, throughout the country and right here in Florida. As it stands today, elective abortion (the termination of a pregnancy at the request of the mother, but not for medical reasons) is legal in Florida, with some restrictions.
Currently, a woman can seek and legally get an elective abortion in Florida up to 24 weeks after conception. Prior to the abortion, however, she must first have an obstetrical ultrasound. And, if the mother is under 18-years-old, a parent or legal guardian must be notified. A tightening of that final requirement is likely on the horizon.
Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that would require girls under 18 to not only notify their parents, but to receive parental consent for the procedure. That means the minor could not get an abortion without a parent’s written approval unless she is granted a waiver from a judge. Such a waiver would potentially be available in cases of abuse, incest or when involving a parent could cause more harm than allowing the procedure. Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign that bill in coming days, making it the law in Florida starting July 1st, 2020.
Many people suggest elective abortion should not be legal at all. For some, this view is rooted in moral, ethical and/or spiritual concerns. Others point to the preborn child and the potential health and psychological impacts of the procedure.
As with any invasive medical procedure, having an abortion comes with health risks, including some serious complications that require medical attention. Pelvic infections, uterine blood clots, heavy bleeding and cervical or uterine damage can occur. In a few tragic cases, women have even died following abortions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that, “in 2012, the most recent year for which data were available, four women were identified to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortion.”
The psychological impacts of having an abortion can also be life changing. Some women find it difficult to shake lingering regret, anger, guilt and shame following an abortion. Still others may cope with insomnia, loneliness and relationship issues. Eating disorders, depression and anxiety have also been reported.
These issues, along with increased education about abortion alternatives, have likely played a major role in reducing the number of abortions in the United States. From 1990 to 2016, abortions dropped 56%, decreasing every year during that period.
Today, many women choose adoption or parenting over abortion, even in cases of unplanned pregnancy. More support services than ever are available to these mothers, allowing them to make informed choices.
In Gainesville, Sira offers free pregnancy options counseling for all women. Our compassionate counselors will explore all the pregnancy options available to you, listen to your concerns and answer your questions to provide help for today and hope for tomorrow.
To talk with a pregnancy options counselor for free, contact Sira today at 352-377-4947.