Difficult Questions, Real Answers

Is abortion a religious issue?

For many it is a religious issue, for others a moral issue, but for all it is an intensely personal decision. Most Protestant denominations and the Jewish faith are pro-choice, and thus support a woman’s right to choose what is best for her. Some religious groups have spread a great deal of guilt by equating abortion with murder. Most thoughtful religious people do not believe this way, although they do see abortion as a serious matter, not to be approached without counsel.

Is abortion wrong?

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice does not believe abortion in and of itself to be wrong. The Bible makes no direct reference to abortion at all. This is not a black and white issue. It is a matter of individual circumstances and personal conscience. What is right for one person and situation may not be for another. We advise good counseling as you make your decision.

What does it mean to be “pro-choice”?

Being pro-choice means encouraging rational, educated choices and decisions that are right for each individual. Abortion is only one of many choices that can be made in the face of unwanted pregnancy. “Pro-choice” implies a profound respect for life, with special concern for the quality of life for all those involved.

How will I feel after an abortion?

Even though there may be a feeling of sadness, most women report a sense of relief. Women who are sure of their choice, and especially those who receive careful, unbiased counseling prior to the decision, are not likely to experience any serious emotional problems. Counseling is available through the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Is abortion legal?

Yes. Abortion is rarely done after the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy. Less than 3% of all abortions are done after the 14th week. Abortion is more difficult to obtain in the 2nd trimester and only .04% are done in the 3rd trimester. If a pregnancy must end for the sake of a woman’s life or because of severe birth defects in the last 3 months, only a very few doctors are trained to perform this procedure.

Is parental consent required?

New Mexico does not require parental notification or consent, (although some states do). Even though it may not be required by law, we strongly recommend that young women discuss a pregnancy with their parents.

How safe is abortion?

A legal abortion, done by a licensed medical clinician, is a sterile, safe and uncomplicated procedure with almost no risk to the woman.

Will a woman be able to have children in the future after having an abortion?

Research has shown that a legal abortion, done by a licensed medical clinician, has no effect on a woman’s ability to have children in the future.

Is abortion a difficult procedure?

Most women report feeling cramps, much like menstrual cramps. The procedure only takes a few minutes is is usually done in an office or clinic so that the woman can go home within an hour or so.

What is the size of a fetus at 6 weeks? At 8 weeks? At 12 weeks?

At 6 weeks the embryo is 1/2 inch long; at 8 weeks, 1 inch long; at 12 weeks, 3 inches long. Abortions are not done after viability (the point at which the fetus could survive outside the womb) unless there are very exceptional circumstances.

Does a fetus feel pain or experience fear during an abortion?

Fear is a conscious awareness of danger – this is not possible for a fetus. There is no evidence that the fetal nervous system is developed enough to feel pain.

What happens to an aborted fetus?

It is disposed of in a sanitary and dignified fashion – not dumped in trash cans as some literature portrays.

Amber Royster