June 2nd, 2009
02:54 PM ET

AC360° Q&A: A personal perspective on late-term abortion

Editor's Note: Dr. George Tiller, whose Kansas women's clinic frequently took center stage in the U.S. debate over abortion, was shot and killed while serving as an usher at his Wichita church Sunday morning. Since his murder, much attention has been devoted to late-term abortions. AC360° guest Lynda Waddington had a late-term abortion and spoke with Anderson over the phone for an exclusive interview about her experience.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/05/31/kansas.doctor.killed/art.tiller.kake.jpg caption="Dr. George Tiller was one of the few U.S. physicians that performed late-term abortions. "]

Anderson Cooper: Lynda, first of all, what's your reaction to the murder of Dr. Tiller?

Lynda Waddington: My gut reaction is just sadness. To think that someone who had helped me in such a horrible time in my life, an event that most likely saved my own life could be gunned down and killed for that is just surreal and profound.

Cooper: And the reason we're talking to you on the phone is that you didn't want to appear on camera. You're allowing us to use your name but you're fearful about appearing on camera. Why? Have you received threats in the past?

Waddington: Correct. I have. Nothing recently, but emotions are running very high, I think, on both ends of the spectrum after Dr. Tiller's death. And I have young children at home.

Cooper: As you know, the argument against, you know, late abortions is that it's tantamount to murder of a fetus that could be viable outside the womb. You say it's clearly just not that simple. Explain.

Waddington: I think those who are anti-abortion have been very successful in painting the picture of who I am and who other women are who have late abortions. And it kind of ticks me off because it's not accurate. I mean, supposedly I'm just a person who woke up one day and had a back pain or a leg cramp and decided to have an abortion. And that definitely wasn't the case. This was a pregnancy that was planned. A pregnancy that was wanted and loved. And it was tantamount to having a loved one on life support and making that decision whether to end the life support or not.

Cooper: You wrote a letter last summer to then candidate Barack Obama. And you took issue with his position on late-term abortions which at that time he said that states should be able to restrict or prohibit those procedures as long as there's an exception for the health of the mother. Why do you think he's wrong? Why should it be more than just the health of the mother?

Waddington: No, I don't think that statement is necessarily wrong. As much as I wonder who gets to decide what those health concerns are. I mean, there are some people who believe that pregnancy, if God wills it, should be a death sentence for women. There are other people who believe that defects like I experienced should be allowable to terminate a pregnancy. But there are other people, you know, who want to cut that line off that depression. Women are suicidal. I don't think that's a decision government should ever be making, ever.

Cooper: That is the argument you hear probably most often from even some people who support abortions in general that if it's just the mental health of the mother, the depression of the mother, then that's not legitimate enough reason. And you say that's not true. That's inappropriate.

Waddington: I do believe that's inappropriate. I think that's a decision that the mother and the doctor and the family should be able to make on their own. We wouldn't look at someone suffering from cancer and say that you're too depressed to make your decisions regarding your family and your life. Why do we put that on women?

Read Lynda Waddington's open letter to Barack Obama while he was campaigning for the presidency last year. In it she describes her experience and why she needed a late-term abortion.

Filed under: 360° Interview • 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. David

    So Beth,

    In other words, rather than risk the chance that your child might have survived and been an inconvenience to you and your husband you sought out the services of Dr. Tiller to ensure that the child's chances of survival were guaranteed to be zero.

    The many "excuses" on here about a child growing up without a quality of life are asinine. Are we permitted to terminate the life of a fully developed child or an adult after they have been mentally and/or physically disabled as a result of an accident, violence, war, or etc? Then why should the result be any different for the unborn human being?

    I will never forget being at Disneyland with my kids about a year ago and watching a wheelchair being pushed toward me through the crowd by a group of people that I can only assume were the family of the woman in the chair. I will never forget the sight of the woman in the chair - she appeared clearly, mentally and physically disabled. As her wheelchair was pushed by me I saw tears streaming down the happy face of a woman who I would guess was in her late-30's and she was tightly clutching to her chest with both arms a plush Disney character as though she were the same age as my then-3-year-old.

    I remember thinking at that moment how great God is and how the value of human life may not always be neatly revealed to us.

    I'm quite sure that Dr. Tiller and countless numbers of parents summarily forclosed the same opportunity for others that this woman's parents afforded her. Certainly, to her (and I'm sure to her family, and to me) her life was not worthless or lacking in quality.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  2. frylock

    BG, are you really comparing war to abortion? Congratulations moron, you just posted the most idiotic post on here. Yes, if i child is in the womb with an RPG rocket launcher threatening to blow both itself and the mother apart, then yes she may abort it... Its a good thing you arent in control of this country... wait if you were we wouldnt have a country... remember when we fought the british for freedom to become a country. Tyrrany and threats to our ways of living are a little different than an innocent little child with a future and a purpose. Quit letting your blind-led fear of God stand in the way of your good judgement...

    June 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  3. Bigshott

    Just asking questions:

    Is the baby only the mothers or a mixture of the father/mother.

    Does a man have any rights to the life of a baby.

    If a woman wants an abortion, she can do it against the wishes of the father. If she has the child, the man is responsible for the cost of raising that child.

    A woman is allowed to have an abortion to terminate the babies life, but if the baby dies in an auto accident, The other driver can be charged with murder.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  4. Vicki

    The comment that 80% of late abortions are "elective" simply means they aren't medically *necessary* (that is, they aren't immediately life-threatening). In the same way, lots of other surgeries are "elective." Back surgeries, for example. Tonsillectomies, usually. If you're willing to continue living with pain or illness as the alternative, the surgery is medically "elective." WHO gets to make that decision?... and WHY?

    Nearly 2/3 of women who have abortions already have at least one child who depends on them. As a mom, I can't imagine risking the future of the child I already have to continue an unplanned or dangerous pregnancy. I think THAT would be irresponsible.

    Everyone jumped on the "Octomom" for being irresponsible - having more children than she could support. But if she chose to have an abortion instead, she'd be accused of selfishness. This is pure hypocrisy. You can't have it both ways.

    Late abortions are almost always the result of serious illness or complications. Most of these began as wanted pregnancies. They break the hearts of women and families who have to make incredibly difficult, selfLESS decisions. Shame on anyone who stands in ignorant judgment of their motives and experiences. And thank God for brave souls like Dr. Tiller (and a few precious others) who are willing to help.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  5. Jonathan Callison

    I submit the comments made by Chad are a perfect representation of the religious mania functioning in the human psyche. The same sort of arguments are used to keep people on life support when their brains are obviously too injured to maintain life. The ridiculous comparisons to Hitler or to serial killers enable the dehumanization of the rational person by the irrational.

    Chad, I know you don't understand this – indeed – at this point probably can't even think about it, but the sorts of arguments you make are what enable people to think it is OK to kill those their religion tells them are 'evil doers.' It makes me weep because there is little hope of even reaching you within the mania... Religion has a beauty – but the ugliness is so easily slipped into...

    June 2, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  6. Debbie

    Abortion is not a religious issue; it's a moral issue. No more than 5% of abortions performed in this country each year are for reasons due to rape, incest, or the health of the mother. The remaining abortions are elected purely out of convenience and selfishness. Ours is a culture of "I want whats best for me." If it's inconvenient or stands to get in the way of what we want, we take the path of least resistance. Let's face up to it folks; the morality of our society is messed up! We like to call evil good and good evil. The majority of abortions perfomed in this country each year are due to the fact that someone wanted sex, had sex, got pregnant, and now wants to dispose of the resulting child. For that small majority that choose abortion due to rape, incest, or dangers to health, I would grieve with you, but to the rest, shame on us for so easily discarding a generation of sons and daughters.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  7. Kathy

    Wow. Not a single "pro-lifer" bothered to read Lynda's story.
    Not a single "pro-lifer" bothered to read the comments posted by other former patients.
    Not a single "pro-lifer" bothered to look up the medical facts behind what Dr. Tiller was doing.
    And almost every "pro-lifer" said "I don't agree with the shooting BUT...."

    You people are not "pro-life". You are liars and you are now murderers eight times over. At least half of you totally dismissed all medical facts and repeated the lies you've been fed. No regard at all for the "lives" you claim to hold sacred.

    God help us all.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  8. Stefanie, Texas

    Dave G. I don't understand your comment, "It’s a good thing your mother didn’t believe in abortion." Many prochoice women don't ever have abortions and many who do go on to have loving happy families. What's your point?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  9. Julia

    Getting an abortion is a difficult decision no matter what the reasons are. Look at logic...The state has no right to be a part of the decision. We live in a country that has a separation of religion and state. Abortion is a decision made by a woman who has to figure it out for herself with her religion (or no religion if she doesn't have one). She has to make the decision (with or without a husband, boyfriend or family involved) considering her own religious beliefs. The state should not be involved in the decision on any level. The state has no religion to guide it, the state is made up of people with different religions so it – the state – doesn't get to force or put any one religious belief on anyone.
    The state does not participate in any other religious beliefs such as baptisms, prayer or other sacramental rituals. The state cannot force us to be in a religion or not have a religion. That is why it is separate. It is not pro-life or pro-choice, it is simply a pregnant woman with her own conscious and beliefs, with guidance from those she seeks out doing what she believes is right. Keep the state out of our private lives.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  10. Mary

    To add on to my original comment...I understand that not all of the babies will "go peacefully". However, I still feel that aborting a baby because "it's going to die anyway" is wrong. I feel that it is wrong but struggle with the governement making this decision for families.
    Also, I think Joe makes a good point in a few comments above this one.
    My heart goes out to all mothers out there who have made this extremely hard decision. While I don't agree I would never shun you for doing what you felt was best. Like I said, I just had a baby and can't even begin to imagine life without him now and can't even begin to imagine what you went through. May the peace of God be with you.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  11. swift

    you people are all crazy. .....you all say "did you even read the article, did you read her letter??? The baby was going to die after birth anyway so she had a late term abortion."...grow up...next you will be killing off your grandparents because they may be developing Alzheimer. Get real. This country is full of spoiled brats who need there pampered lifestyles to stay in check. Murder is murder is murder.

    If the guy who shot the doctor would have shot this lady also the day before she had her abortion he'd be charged with 3 murders, now hows that work?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  12. Stefanie, Texas

    Blaine Lavergne, for a physician you're not very smart. You say abortion is murder, but mention nothing about situations where a mother and or the child will die. Is it murder to save one of their lives, the mother's? Should we just let both of them die during labor?

    Kansas law stated that in order to do late-term abortions 1) the mother or child's life must be in danger. Dr. George Tiller was recently acquitted of 19 claims of wrong-doing. That means he only did late-term abortions in circumstances where one of the patient's lives were in danger.

    I'd hate to be your pregnant wife in a situation like that. You'd rather have both your wife & baby die when one of the lives could be saved. I'm glad your extremist views aren't law.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  13. Jerry Sievers

    How can the Lutheran Church condone and allow Tiller to serve in any capacity in the church? I have always thought the church of my father, Lutheran, beleived in the Ten Commandments; the first being,"Thou shalt not kill".

    June 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  14. June Mahoney

    I work in a group home for severely developmentally challenged adults. They are people with feelings, unique personalities, and emotions who respond to loving kindness just like anyone else. Just because they don't have a high IQ and/or are physically compromised does not mean their life is worth less than mine. Folks, this is a slippery slope to have people making decisions as to the value of a life. Let's face it. These late term abortion decisions are made because this child will be an expense and an inconvenience to their families and society. To consider also is how many times the medical community has been wrong in its diagnosis. A young woman I know was told twice that she was carrying a blighted ovum and was being encouraged to have a D&C to end the pregnancies. She decided to let nature take it's course and now has two beautiful, normal little boys.

    Although I disagree with Dr. Tiller's practice I am nevertheless outraged and saddened that anyone would take it upon themselves to take his life. It is clearly murder. I am also perplexed that people are not equally outraged at the killing of babies at any stage in their development but especially late term. Let them be born and if they should die let the natural grieving process begin with the peace and knowledge that everything possible was done to respect that life. For those that survive let us as a society rally around and offer whatever care and provision is needed thus giving prupose to the caregivers as well as those in care. As a society our ultimate strength rests only in how we treat our weakest and most vulnerable members.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  15. Angela

    Oh and just because we are pro-choice does not make us anti-life!!!

    June 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  16. Helen

    Lynda Waddington never had a "late term abortion". According to her own article Obama's late term abortion comments ignore stark realities. Ms. Waddington states that her baby died in utero before any procedure was done. She also misleads people into thinking that the ban on partial birth abortion makes MD's cut up babies to deliver them.

    Partial birth abortion is a procedure where a viable baby's head is delivered. The child is alive and the brains and eyes are sucked out of its head, then the rest of the body is delivered. This procedure is outlawed in the United States and rightly so.

    The left does a great disservice to all women by perpertating lies concerning this issue.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  17. Jonathan Callison

    Speaking as someone with extensive interaction with religious people, (formerly in the ministry), I can attest that most of these folk suffer from a mania that makes independent thought almost impossible. They simply parrot the religious views that they have been taught. It is (sadly) impossible for them to understand the thoughtful, scientific/medical, rational reasons that might be put forward for late term abortions. Certainly, rational people realize that late term abortion is a heart wrenching decision for a woman at such a late stage of her pregnancy and always involves very serious viability issues for the fetus and health concerns for the mother – people caught up in a religious mania are by definition unable to be rational! Forgive them; they know not what they do...

    June 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  18. dave

    The gov't should not oppose someone else's religion on me - I am going to keep on smoking pot, eating peyote, having multiple wives, sacrificing animals, and killing virgins just like my god wants me to do.

    Clearly ths woman did the right thing

    June 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  19. Julie

    No one should have someone else's religion or morals forced apon them. This is a basic free to choose issue. If a mother finds out at eight or eight-and-a-half months that a baby is going to be born with a defect, then she has a right to choose if she wants to go forward with the birth. In the same vein. if at some point a woman decides that her husband has a defect, then she should be able to have a hole punched in the back of his head and end the marriage. A husband should have the same right to have this done to his wife if he believes she is defective. What's the difference? That's what's being done to the innocent baby that they created. If this is a right, why not give it to everyone?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  20. DS

    My mother-in-law was pregnant in her mid 40s. Concerned with complications they did an X-Ray (they didn't do ultrasounds then) and found a baby with 1 torso, 1 hearbeat, but 4 arms, 4 legs and 2 heads. My mother-in-law was told the baby was terribly deformed, would be an incredible burden (if it lived) and urged her to have an abortion. After much prayer she and her husband decided that they, with God's help, would care for whatever came. On her due date, they were shocked to find not one, but two perfectly healthy babies whose hearts beat in perfect rhythm. One of those babies is now my wife.

    Abortion should not be allowable even if the doctor thinks something is terribly wrong with the baby. Maybe this same thing wouldn't happen now with new technology, but whose to say that if there is an illness, there may be a cure that comes out soon after birth? Its not up to us to decide who lives and who dies ... ever. If we ever make a special case, then that just opens the room for more and more special cases, which is what we've got now.

    I know it's a heart-wrenching issue. I feel great compassion for those who have had abortions and are now torn apart by their decision, just as I feel great compassion for those who have decided to not to abort a deformed or permanently ill child and their entire life is turned upside down. But what if the child develops leukemia at 1 day old and you know she's going to suffer and die. Do you abort the child then? Of course not! Why should it be different before the child is born. Life is never a gray area.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  21. Chad

    It truly shocks and saddens me on every level.

    The Murder of this doctor is totally wrong.
    Murder on any level is wrong. This man will reap what he has sown
    So i am a firm believer on this. Yes I am Pro Life.

    Today Life in America is Cheap.
    Life is only protected when it crosses the birth canal.
    However the same Life if it is still in the birth canal or in the womb. Cannot be named and is a piece of flesh. A Fetus is not a baby.

    The Millions of Babies that have been aborted cries out to me just as much as the 6 Million Jews, and Millions of others who have been mudered and slaughtered for the name of convenience, ideals, religion.

    Why would any mother of a baby have a late term abortion anyway.

    Why? If the mother's life was in danger have a C Section and give the baby away do not break it's skull and suck it's brains through a tube or break it's neck in the womb.

    Why? would she kill life anyway. It is amazing how we take care of dogs, cats, and criminals in the justice system better than the unborn citizens in the Womb. We are truly depraved

    My heart breaks on how sick we have become as a people.
    The writer says nothing is new under the sun– it has all happened before. All the great cultures, empires, kingdoms, who have gone before us. When they reached their Zenith they turned aside from Absolutes and created Situational Ethics which turned into the destroying of their society. Absolute Truth and Morality is no more.
    In practice in our society when the frailest of our species are treated no more than a unnamed cancer that has to be removed from the womb. Just because People feel it is okay to do it does not mean it is right.

    I am quite sure that Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Stalin, and Hitler all felt as if their policies of killing and murdering the innocence were the best thing for their society.

    Final Thoughts
    I pray that all of us will have a wake up call and realize You cannot avoid Consequence. If you sin, slip up, do what you want to do, not work, don't study, steal, lie, and murder there is a consequence.

    God Forgive Us for what we have done and become.
    May we return to the Absolutes

    June 2, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  22. D.H.

    My sister-in-law was told late in her pregnancy that her child's heart was badly malformed, wasn't working well at all, and that the baby if not stillborn would die shortly after birth. No question about it.
    Every doctor she saw recommended an abortion.
    She went with her instincts, though, and had her baby anyway.
    That baby is now a beautiful woman in her late 20s and she's always had a perfectly normal heart. Apparently all the tests, the Ultrasounds, the consensus of the doctors was wrong.
    Thank heavens the mom didn't kill this precious baby.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  23. Heather

    Charles wrote: Human death is human death. When it’s caused willingly by another human outside the realm of war, it’s called “murder”.

    How easily you make war an acceptable zone for killing of fully viable adults. It boggles the mind.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  24. Mary

    As a Catholic I'm very, very torn on this issue...I feel compelled to support the right to life however, I struggle in the instance that the mother's life would be compromised. I just had a baby and can't even begin to imagine the pain associated with losing a baby not matter if my life were saved. However, I disagree with aborting babies because "they're going to die anyway". If they are going to die anyway let God do his work and let them go peacefully and not at the hand of humans. It will be excrutiatingly painful regardless but I personally would feel better knowing that God took my baby and not a doctor.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  25. Dave G

    It's a good thing your mother didn't believe in abortion. One chance at life is all anyone has.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  26. BG

    New Rules:
    1. All the people who insist that severely compromised fetus' be carried to term and forced to live by artificial means must immediately have their taxes raised by 75% to cover the astronomical medical fees of caring for said children.

    2. All pro life people must also sacrafice working full time so they can take shifts changing diapers and feeding tubes for these children in vegetative states.

    3. All pro-life people who are using God as the basis for their pro-life stance need to produce a signed document from their so-called God that proves that he/she/it decrees that keeping a human being alive by artificial means is "natural" and is not, in itself, just humans "playing God".

    4. All pro-life people must agree that we will stop all wars and genocide immediately. Taliban and Al Queda are, after all, human and to kill them is murder. (Doesn't your God agree with me?)

    5. All pro-life people must agree that it is ok for us to pass laws that dictate you must spend 40% of your take home pay on social programs because if the government can make decisions about our bodies, then they can also make decisions about everything else in our lives.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  27. Amy

    I don't know how many of the posters ACTUALLY read the letter that was written to President Obama from the woman being interviewed, but it is powerful. Very powerful.

    I am personally against late term abortions (anything greater than 12 weeks is late term to me because of the advanced in utero development). I do have exceptions: mother and child life threatening issues (like those that are described within this letter).

    I find that most people that are for abortion are also for the death penalty, against social services (welfare) and can't understand why poor people are poor. Can't they just pull themselves up by their boot straps? It is ignorant to say that all of these things are not connected.

    I do not think that abortion is the answer, but a matter of last resort. An extreme matter of last resort. If we as a nation want to be against abortion (the type of abortions that include the stereotypes used for birth control) than we need to step back and look at the ROOT CAUSE of them and the collective that have them, and I do not include those women who must have them for medical reasons.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  28. Lindsey

    It is a terrible tragedy to carry a baby, then find out that the baby is not viable outside the womb. I couldn't even imagine the heartache...

    However, as a mother of a baby who was born at 26 weeks gestation, it is absolutely clear to me that mothers should NOT be forced to choose whether they need to end the life of their baby prematurely or let nature takes it course. Granted doctors can give their educated input as to what they think is best for the baby and mother, however, they are not God and they should not put themselves in the position to decide such things.

    There is a HUGE difference between your child being born and dying of natural causes and being the one who literally decides to end your baby's life. This is not a "choice", it's actually a huge curse on the mother to have to decide when, where, and how their baby will die while in utero. There is no place for such a decision to be pondered unless the mother's life is in danger.

    This is not a simply a "religious" decision. We have laws in this country to protect the rights of the individual, and if we do not stand up for the rights of babies then our country is slipping down a very dangerous slope.

    As for my extremely premature daughter, she is now 7 years old and enjoying the gift of life that God gave her. I can't imagine this world without her precious existence. = )

    June 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  29. Amber

    If you so wanted and loved your "Baby" why would you let someone go inside you and cut your so much 'loved' child up taking it out piece by peice?? Why not opt for having the baby delivered by c-sect since the baby is not viable outside the womb you could still spend that time with your baby in one piece seeing how perfect everything was wondering made again this was a 'wanted' child. Have a proper burial for your "Wanted and Loved Baby" rather than have it wrapped up in some garment and thrown away like yesterdays trash???
    I know a mother who was told that her baby was a "water head baby" called hydrocephalus, which is a collection of fluid in the brain. And that she should abort her child because the baby would not be "viable" she decided to still have her baby (she wanted and loved hers too) and you know now that baby is now a 27 year old women!!
    You people never seize to amaze me.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  30. Tom

    Here's the problem I have with abortion in general (and no, I'm not religious). A woman can legally walk into a clinic and end a pregnancy without anyone batting an eyelash. But if that same woman were a victim of a crime in which the baby was killed, the perpetrator could be, and likely would be charged with homocide of that unborn child, even if he was not aware the woman is pregnant. How can we reconcile those two concepts?

    I believe abortion has a place in medicine, but it should be regulated and NOT used as a form of birth control.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  31. Marcie

    In the mid 1940s, my Mother had a baby; it died about a month before it was delivered. According to my Grandmother, the baby girl was decomposing. My mother almost died and was hospitalized for 4 weeks, due to toxins being put out by the decaying fetus. That was before sonograms and induced labor. There was nothing the doctor was able to do other than wait for Mother to deliver a dead baby.

    A few years later, I was born, and was healthy, but she never tried again for fear of her life because there were no options, just shocks and surprises.

    When I was in High School in the early 60s, a lady at church delivered a baby that had only a brain stem–no head. That was before options and sonograms. It was a terrible experience.

    A teacher friend's daughter had a late term abortion. The baby died at 7 months, sonograms showed it had no spine.

    I am a trained teacher and expect a trained doctor to make decisions about health matters, just like I do on school matters. Would my neighbors tell me what do to in the classroom? Why would they tell a doctor what to do?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  32. mac

    Let me further clarify that I'm refering to partial birth abortion of a viable fetus. Not the situation in which the fetus is not viable. That is not the circumstance with which people have issue. It is the killing of a vialbe child that is not excusable under any curcumstances.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  33. Andy

    Abortion is murder. Make no bones about it. But there are justifiable reasons why one has the right to commit murder, such as self defense. And when carrying a non-viable fetus to term could very well put the life of the mother in jeopardy, then it is both medically and ethically sound to end the pregnancy. I can think of no doctor on the planet who would disagree.

    But we must be careful of the slippery slope we face with this decision. At what point do we consider a fetus "non-viable"? Unable to survive to term? Able to survive to term, but severely developmentally disabled? Mild birth defects or retardation? Chronic genetic disabilities like ALS, Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis? Autism, even mild forms like Ausberger's? Propensity towards several forms of cancer? Genetic markers that indicate psychotic, antisocial or psychopathic behavior? Red hair and blue eyes?

    This is the grey area and the ground where medical professionals tend to disagree. The bottom of this arguement ends up with a eugenics program where any child who does not fit to perfection is aborted. Not really a new policy, since we see examples in history, such as the Spartans who would leave babies born with defects to die of exposure rather than waste resources on imperfection. How would someone like Stephen Hawking have survived in this world? Think of the many great minds who suffer from debilitating chronic genetic disorders who would not be with us because their mothers took a genetic sample and decided they did not want to be burdened with their child's problems?

    We argue about choice and rights, but we never give nearly as much thought to life. Yes, we have the right to choose, but please, choose wisely, because life is such a precious thing, and it was the greatest gift our mothers gave to us. Give me a life full of burdens, if there is no other choice, because I would rather have the burdens than to have no life at all.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  34. Steve

    The thing people forget is that God gives us all free will and the ability to make our own decisions. Some people's decisions are to hurt others or rob them of their free will. No one can legislate love and the agonizing decision you had to make to terminate your pregnancy.
    Without modern technology you would have expectantly carried the baby full term and then been horribly devastated and hurt on the day the baby was born. I commend you for your brave and difficult decision and I think you exercised the free will God gave you with the utmost care and concern.
    You didn't take the easy way out, you took the most difficult path imaginable. God understands the choice you made and has already covered whatever mistakes you might have made with His love and mercy.
    Believe me, there are a lot of self righteous people out there judging you for the choice you made who would not for one instant want their own secrets exposed.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  35. Marie

    Working in the medical profession, I can absolutely assure you that there are no late term abortions being performed out of "convenience." There are abortions being done out of convenience, but those are always much earlier on. (You tend to figure out much faster that you don't want a baby! No one goes through a pregnancy before they decide that.)

    Those of you who are using that argument are simply misinformed. These are very very difficult decisions that a family ever has to make. Some fetuses have no heads, some have no brain, some fetuses are not viable, some will affect a mother's life. This is a decision between a doctor and the patient. No one else has a right to it.

    And the man who killed Dr. Tiller – now that's a real murderer – no way around arguing that.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  36. Binto

    Abortion is wrong and so is killing someone who performs it. I do not agree with those who say its is forcing religion on another. No matter what the existing law is, that would be someone forcing their religion on another who disagrees with it. I do think we should have a law to protect the unborn. But I don't think we should kill those who break it. People who live for the pleasures of today should go to the following website and read a free book by Choo Thomas. It has little do do with abortion, but with heaven and hell.
    Audio here:

    June 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  37. Teresa


    I will admit: although I am a mother and pro-choice, the issues surrounding late-term abortions always made me uncomfortable.

    Thank you for your painful candor. May your experience, one of the most challenging and heart-wrenching you may ever face, enlighten those of us (myself included) who have not grappled with any situation such as yours. My thoughts and prayers are with you and may our president be as enlightened.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  38. Manny

    Do you remember the Nazis..."life unworthy of life"? Where do we draw the line? And who are we to determine who is unfit for life?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  39. Susan

    An earlier poster said: "Anti-abortionists should turn their anger toward more productive uses, like defending unwanted, handicapped and abused children. These children (many of whom were born because of pressure from the anti-abortion lobby) will suffer daily for the rest of their lives, and society will suffer for having them among us until a whole lot of people make an effort to help them." Society will suffer from the presence of unwanted, handicapped, and abused children?!? My son is handicapped - is "society" worse off because he's alive? Is "society" worse off for the presence of children whose parents abuse them? Is "society" worse off for the presence of children whose parents didn't want them? How cold and sick can you get?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  40. mac

    The difference between having to decide to take a loved one off of life support and late term abortion is that the loved one on life support dies a natural death once life support is disconnected. You do not put a metal rod into their brain to make sure they die.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  41. Heather

    A healthy 8 month old fetus might be viable, but these fetuses developed a complication of some kind that made them unable to live on their own, and likely to die in the womb endangering the mothers life. Why are people unable to grasp the difference? These were not healthy pregnancies that were terminated, that is exactly the point. How does reading the bible make you an expert on ob/gyn medicine? What makes "Cindy" and "Eddie" and all you other posters (who have clearly not read the article) think you are the supreme ob/gyn put by god on this earth to dispense your wisdom through internet blogs?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  42. C in Alabama

    I don't know what I would do in her shoes. The baby would never have lived. In Lynda's particular case, any decision would have been heart-breaking. I do not support abortion as birth control. They are all babies to me. I pray that I never find myself in her shoes and have to make that choice.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  43. Reasonable compromise

    First, let me say I completely disagree with murdering an abortion doctor – – Pro life means no killing except maybe in self defense. I would give that killer life in prison (Pro-life also means no death penalty).

    I'm sorry for the loss of your child. However I believe that late term abortions except in the case of risk to the life of the mother is just wrong – – if the mother is depressed and the baby is viable, then deliver the baby and have it placed in foster care until the mother is better or given for adoption. Anytime the baby can be safely taken and survive outside the womb that should be done. It is as simple as that. I would never tell a woman who's live is in jeoparady that they couldn't do whatever was necessary (even an abortion) in order to save their life.

    A baby is not an organ like the appendix – – it has a separate heartbeat, DNA etc. We need to think about our reproductive responsibilities above our rights in this matter. We can agree to disagree and agree to work together to minimize the circumstances in which a woman would feel the need to get any abortion.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  44. Parrishon

    Dr. Tiller's clinic performed an abortion for me. It was the most painful
    ordeal mentally and physically. It was not late term and I did not think I could have children. Two nights before the abortion I was at the emergency room and I was threatening a miscarriage, I will be honest and say the doctors told me I had a 50/50 chance of carrying the baby full term, but it was going to be a wait and see pregnacy. At the emergency room I heard the heartbeat of my 8 wk old baby a miracle, a precious gift from God. I'll never know what the end would of brought because I made a decision to have an abortion. Where there is a heartbeat there is life, whether 8 wks or 8 mths. I want you to know before you start passing judgement, before you pierce me in the side, before you nail be to the cross, and before you condemn me to hell. It was the best decision for ME!! One I'll never forget, and a decision I ask God to forgive me for. I think i'm not alone when I say we all have had to ask forgiveness. I know God heard me as I pleaded for mercy and forgiveness of the blood guilt that weighed so heavy on my soul and my heart. I'm not seeking redemption through anyone but Jesus, not only for the abortion but for other things that I have done and should not have. Dr. Tiller did not perform the abortion personally, but I seen him and his disposition was very passionate. I cried uncontrollably on the table before the procedure started, I couldn't breath and the doctor realizing I was alone comforted me and so did one of the nurses whom held my hand. I left there knowing I deserved all the pain and hurt I felt but also feeling that the Doctor and nurses had taken very good care of me.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  45. Sheryl

    We live in a culture where we are seeing an increase every year in family tragedies, where one parent or both have killed their children.
    Why is the message of Life so complicated? When murders take place of whole families, people are so quick to condemn the
    "twisted parent" or relative......these children lost their chance to live, grow up and be...hey, why don't we go for the death penalty.....?
    Its interesting isn't it?
    It is impossible to weed through everyones personal stories and come up with a plan. Despite unusual circumstances – the message should clear – not muddy.
    Life is our greatest gift and should be held sacred. This should be the measuring line that we hold to. Life is the mandate and foundation of all that we legislate.
    This should not be complicated.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  46. khfdez

    Beth, your comments are particularly disturbing. You talk about how much you wanted and loved your "pregnancy", but your use of this euphemism dehumanizes your child, whom you were complicit in killing, or as you wolud say "terminating". My own child, who was born at 30 weeks gestation and has severe disabilities, is a joy to be with, and has just as much right to a life of dignity as my other three able-bodied children. The fact is that YOU didn't want to be saddled with a problem, not that the child would suffer.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  47. Jack

    Extremism on either side of this discussion does not result in progress. I believe that there is a middle ground which provides the best solution to the moral and philosophical issues. The problem is finding that middle ground. I believe that unless extraordinary circumstances (rape, stillbirth, severe defects, parental health, etc. ) dictate a late term abortion, they should not be performed as they are morally wrong and a detriment to our society. The death of fully functional human (heart beat, breathing, active brain) is against our laws and morals and handing any human a choice to end anothers life only lies with our justice system and the death penalty (which even this is barred in some states). I am still very open to early to mid abortions but I do not stand as sure of myself of what is right and wrong in that area.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  48. Nana

    According to my research, the so-called "partial birth" abortion is never carried out on a viable fetus. Anybody who has seen a picture of a child with anencephaly would not wax as sentimental over its life. It really never has one. If an anencephalic child lives at all, it's not for long and there simply is no brain with which to perceive anything. A planaria worm has more awareness. There are conditions where life is not the friend, and death is not the enemy. Read up on this; do not judge in ignorance.

    I am very ambivalent about abortion, but women have always had them. At least now they are safe and legal, or have we all forgotten the picture of the bled-out young woman, dead and deserted in an alley after a botched illegal abortion? There are people who abuse it by being irresponsible about birth control, but they are not the norm. Do we actually believe in penalizing all women who are making difficult choices for the mistakes of the few?

    June 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  49. Stephanie

    Wow, the ignorance and self righteousness on this page is amazing!

    PS. Read the story before you comment!

    June 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  50. Linds

    Pro-life... just took a life.

    Their have put themselves on a Pro-Choice "murder" level.

    Let people make their own choices- not every pro-choice person will receive an abortion in their lifetime. We just want to stay free.. It's not hard to understand.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
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