Monday, 5 July 2010

24 weeks

It's been great to see a wide range of support of Steve Chadwick's legislation. But one area that has seen less support is the proposed time limit of 24 weeks. There are physilogical arguments about fetal pain and development and viability, but those aren't the arguments I want to make.* I want to go back to first principles.

Those who are uncertain about a 24 week time limit make arguments like Dita De Boni did in the Herald:
But there was one part of Steve's bill that had me stumped. Why is she proposing that the timeframe for abortions be moved to 24 weeks, when currently it is stated in law that no abortions can be performed on women after the 20th week of pregnancy, except to save a woman's life?
A similar issue was raised in a comment thread by Ms P
This may risk setting of some kind of comment bomb, especially in light of the comments in earlier posts:( Also, I've never been pregnant so acknowledge my ignorance about the timelines for obtaining an abortion, but 20-24 weeks seems quite advanced in the pregnancy to be accessing abortion. What do people think of the criteria listed for the bill?

There is a story that gives one answer to this question. In 2007, a woman with pre-existing heart waited 15 weeks for a heart examination once she got pregnant. In the twenty first week of her pregnancy she was told that she had heart problems. She asked for an abortion, but was told that it was too late for an abortion, as the risk of her having health problems wasn't bit enough. The baby was delivered dead by caesarean section when she was thirty weeks better, and the woman died four hours later.

The best person to make decisions about what is acceptable risk during pregnancy is the woman who is pregnant.

It's really important that people don't give into their own 'icky' response when it comes to late-term abortion. Yes the pregnancy is quite far advanced at 22 weeks - you know who knows that better than anyone else? The woman who is pregnant, has a rapidly growin fetus inside that has started moving and kicking.

Unless you are absolutely anti-abortion (and very few people are, which is why you get rape and incest exceptions in most legislation),** then you believe there should be a decision maker who weighs up the pros and cons of having an abortion - balances the life stage that the foetus is at, the risks of the procedure, and the desires of the pregnant woman. I think some people slip into wanting to be that decision maker themselves - "Well 23 weeks is very advanced. I'm not saying you can't have an abortion then, but you better have a very good reason" That's the logic that resulted in our current law - the state took the position that some abortions were necessary, but that special neutral doctors were the only people to decide whether or not an individual abortion is OK.

But it's a terrible solution. Because one of two things happen, sometimes the gatekeepers abdicate their role as gatekeepers, as Certifying Consultants have largely done in the current environement, and allow women to make their own decisions. In which case the decision-makers are just meaningless hoops, that take money, time and energy for women to jump through. Or they act as gatekeepers, and women are forced to remain pregnant, and sometimes women die.

There is a simple, elegant, solution to all this. Accept that there needs to be a decision maker who balances many different issues, including the stage of pregnancy, but agree that the best person to be that decision maker is the pregnant woman.

This is what I meant about holding the line. Dita De Boni gave a spurious argument that currently 0.5% of abortions happen after 20 weeks. Leaving aside that's because some women are denied them, should we abandon those 80 women just because they're a minority? Just because it makes it messier? Should we say - of course most women shouldn't have to use their resources to jump through administrative hoops to end a pregnancy - but if there's only a few of them why don't we just ignore them and focus on everyone else.

The core argument about abortion is the same at week 8 as it is at week 24. If you trust women to make their own decisions, then you trust women to make their own decisions at any stage in pregnancy.

* Now I should be clear that I don't actually support the 24 week limit - I believe that women are as capable of making their own decisions at week 25 as they are in week 24. I will talk later about why I can support this bill anyway, but there are some aspects of existing law that I want to discuss first.

** Except New Zealand's of course, because our MPs thought that if you could get an abortion if you were raped would lie about being raped to get an abortion.


Lucy said...

In fact, I'd say the key fact is that those <1% of women who have abortions after 20 weeks (and I believe that figure is fairly universal in places where abortion is legal at that point in the pregnancy) are having them *because* there are dangers to their health, the baby has severe/fatal defects, and so on. They are the people you least want to take that option away from.

A Nonny Moose said...

It disturbs me how in some forums (Your Views, I'm looking at you) the uninformed are still perpetuating the myth that if a woman is getting an abortion passed the 20-24 week mark, they're simply lazy and indecisive.

I was particularly shocked by a comment along the lines of "there are waiting lists for every medical procedure in this country, and abortion should have a waiting list, and if you go past the time limit while on the waiting list then too bad for you, slut."

The whole "icky" frame is disturbing. We need more education, not less...and not propagandized videos from Right To Lifers.

Anonymous said...

You guys are sick. Just so sad and terrible to abort. Eyelashes people they have fingernails and eyelashes.

You are the ultimate takers in society.

Mikaere Curtis said...

Anon, you argument is about as useful as saying "ZOMG !! They have DNA !".

Funny, while there are plenty of choice-removers who are happy to restrict the mana of a woman over her own body, I have heard no discussion of the obvious mechanism to reduce the abortion rate: improving access to, and usage rates of, contraception.

Trouble said...

Cows have eyelashes too. Perhaps I'm a heartless taker for enjoying the odd steak.

It strikes me as odd that vaguely anti-abortion (rather than the ardent religious type) sentiment seems to consider abortions as special treats that should only go to the deserving. The weird corollary of that is that it becomes the undeserving, the sluts, the lazy ones who don't want parenthood to interfere with their haircuts etc - these are the ones who should be made to be parents. As if parenthood were a punishment rather than the overwhelming responsibility and privilege that it is.

ms p said...

Thanks for this post Maia. I've read a couple of similar stories online in the last couple of days. I wasn't aware that women were being denied abortions when the fetus was unviable, purely because of the 20 week rule.

Tom said...

Wow, you remove posts you don't agree with? Why even have an opinion if you're not willing to have it challenged?

You'll probably remove this one too. Cowards. If you believed in your cause that righteously you would be able to defend it better than simply removing dissent.

Julie said...

Read the comment policy, and thread below it, Tom, then try again. We don't remove comments that disagree, as you can see from any of the other threads on abortion recently, we remove Comments that are abusive or offensive.

That is the last comment I am making on moderation on this thread, you can email me as per the policy if you want to discuss it further, or return to the topic. Further attempts to discuss the comment policy in the wrong place will be disappeared.

Our blog, our rules, end of.

Tom said...

How were they offensive? Because they mentioned that quite possibly the woman's choice should come before the child is conceived?

You bring up cases of incest and rape, but those are generally tolerated because the woman didn't have a choice in that matter.

However, New Zealand women are among the most promiscuous in the world -- and according to one publicized survey, with some even sleeping with a man before they go out to "test the goods" -- and then when something goes wrong they bleat about mana and choice.

Hide behind the "rules" all you want. You merely want this to be a forum were everyone chimes in about what wonderful opinions are being presented.

Whatever, you won't have to worry about me being "offensive" to your sensibilities any more because it's obvious you can't have your opinions challenged.

Julie said...

I'll ignore the faff about comment policy, Tom, as I previously indicated this is not the place for it. As you have raised other points though, and in a way that's not abusive, I'll let your comment stand.

Actually NZ's law doesn't allow for women to have an automatic right to an abortion in cases of rape. See Maia's last post on the issue.

And if women are promiscuous doesn't that mean men must be too? Or are they all lesbians? In which case, not a lot of pregnancies and thus abortions surely?

ms p said...

I've been thinking some more about the issue of holding the line. I think that even with these stories of women who have died/suffered unnecessary trauma, the majority of people might not think that is an argument for legal abortion up to 24 weeks, but for a more nuanced access to abortion after 20 weeks (such as option of abortion after 20 weeks if women's life and health is in danger/fetus is unviable, or something like that).

I totally get your argument Maia. I first read it and thought of course - but my feminist reading is not representative of mainstream thought on this issue. Obviously such an amendment as I've suggested plays into exactly the tropes others have identified - the imaginary band of women who merrily decide at six months they want an abortion - and the flaws of restrictive abortion law (undermines women's authority). I'm a bit concerned that holding the line is going to mean the defeat of the bill or, even worse, a regression.

Only helping the majority is unfair like you say, but the potential for helping noone seems even worse.

Tom said...

Men should also own up to children conceived by putting their own interests and desires first. This includes also paying child support, even if they are no longer with the woman in question.

Of course, this in itself raises another point: what about the men in the choice? If a woman chooses not to keep a child, the man has no choice. If the woman chooses to keep the child, then the man is expected to pay child support regardless. The man's choice, it seems, is expected to come before he sleeps with a woman. So why shouldn't woman be held to the same standard?

In short, both men and women should decide before they engage in sexual relations with anyone if they are prepared to face up to the responsibilities of a possible conception.

Also, yes, I am aware that the New Zealand laws are actually quite strict. I was talking general ideology.

Personally, I'm happy for abortions to occur in cases of rape and incest, because the woman hasn't had a choice there. In medical situations where the woman is seriously at risk -- as highlighted in the example of the woman who died from heart complications -- it is also acceptable.

But these issues shouldn't be confused with a "woman's right to choose". For both men and women, the choice should come before sexual intercourse.

Boganette said...

"Personally, I'm happy for abortions to occur in cases of rape and incest, because the woman hasn't had a choice there. In medical situations where the woman is seriously at risk -- as highlighted in the example of the woman who died from heart complications -- it is also acceptable."

Oh thank goodness we have men like Tom to tell us what he thinks is acceptable and what isn't *rolls eyes*

Great post Maia. I have been worried that the 24 weeks issue would derail the whole reform debate. I think what you've said here is brilliant and I agree 100%Let's hope people remember this: "The best person to make decisions about what is acceptable risk during pregnancy is the woman who is pregnant." THAT is what's important.

So often anti-choicers manage to hijack abortion debates and the fact that there are real women involved is quickly forgotten. It's important to share stories about the real circumstances around late stage abortions to counter the ridiculous arguments of idiot anti-choicers.

Anonymous said...

Tom, are you suggesting that people should only engage in PIV intercourse when they are trying to have a child? People don't use abortions as birth control, but as an option when birth control fails. So when birth control fails, are the people involved obligated to have that child because they had the choice before having sexual intercourse?

No birth control is 100% effective, forcing someone to have a child that they do not want is cruel for all of the people involved - woman, man and child. And even if a child was accidently conceieved when birth control was not used, would that somehow be less cruel? To punish parents for their recklessness(well at least the woman, fathers are more likely to abandon their families), and sentance a child (who will of course grow up to be an adult) to a family where they are unwelcome?

Tom said...

I'm simply saying that if you are going to engage in any activity, you should be prepared to accept the consequences. If you are not, you should abstain.

This doesn't just go for intercourse but any activity in general.

"So when birth control fails, are the people involved obligated to have that child because they had the choice before having sexual intercourse?"

Yes, basically. That's my opinion on the matter. You might not share it, obviously, but that doesn't mean that my opinion is inherently wrong. This is not a scientific issue; it's a ethical one.

Tom said...

Additionally, there are countless couples out there that cannot have children and would love to have one. Children who are "unwanted" should be adopted out, not aborted.

Nikki Elisabeth said...

Tom: I consider that a decision to have an abortion is a consequence of an unplanned pregnancy (and a procedure that only a woman has to physically go through, just like pregnancy and the birth) that carries just as much seriousness the decision to continue with the pregnancy and either adopt out or keep the baby.

Despite what many people will try and say, NO woman takes abortion lightly.

Julie said...

Oh goodie, the adoption argument. Even if adoption worked like you reckon it does there is still the pregnancy itself to contend with. I think I can assume from your name that you are a man and thus have never been pregnant. This would explain your utter lack of understanding of the experience of pregnancy. It is far from a walk in the park.

But you've now identified that you think this is an ethical issue, not a scientific one. So who then should make the ethical (or moral) decision? Who is best placed to do that? My argument is that it is always the mother.

Boganette said...

"Additionally, there are countless couples out there that cannot have children and would love to have one. Children who are "unwanted" should be adopted out, not aborted."

Oh please!

1) You mean white children without any physical or mental disabilities. And when homes can't be found for children from other races, or children with disabilities what happens then? Foster care? Going from home to home without ever having a stable family?

2) A woman has to carry that child for nine months Tom. You know how I can tell that you've never been pregnant Tom? Because you imply carrying a child for nine months is no big deal and that it should be forced on women as punishment.

You live in a fantasy world dude. There are not over 17,000 sets of parents* out there wanting to adopt children. There are many, many children out there who are not wanted - why should they have to be punished by being hurled into the foster care system where children are often abused just because you have some ridiculous moral issue with women being able to make decisions about their own bodies.

We have way to much neglect of children and abuse of children in this country. We should not have more unwanted children sent alone into the world just because idiots like Tom have a 'moral objection' and want to control women.

*and I'm guessing by "countless couples" you mean married heterosexual Christian couples - and so you don't mean countless at all.

Ughhh I want to tear my hair out. The stupid it burns.

Boganette said...

"We have way TOO much neglect of children and abuse of children in this country."

"There are ALREADY many, many children out there who are not wanted"

The angry makes my spelling and grammar go crazy.

Anonymous said...

Tom, reducing women to incubators for childless couples is totally unacceptable to me.
Sure, adoption is an option, having a child is an option, abortion is an option.
The only one placed to consider the risks, benifits, impacts and consequences of that choice is the woman who is pregnant, and I dont want it any other way, at any gestation (although I see the 24 week cut off works as a compromise for the ick factor).

A Nonny Moose said...

"Children who are "unwanted" should be adopted out, not aborted."

I'd expect you'd also want those women to "go away for a little holiday".

"If you are not, you should abstain."

Ahh, abstenance education. Look how beautifully that has worked for America.

"The man's choice, it seems, is expected to come before he sleeps with a woman."

Congratulations! It's a breakthrough in understanding male sexual responsibility!

"So why shouldn't woman be held to the same standard?"

Ahh shoot, just when I thought the going was good. Way to fail understanding female sexual agency, Tom.

"However, New Zealand women are among the most promiscuous in the world"

According to...what? The sluts you see in town on a Saturday night? Pictures in the media? Your experience? I'm glad you acknowledge that it takes two people to have sex, but gosh we must be practically raping these poor men for the abortion stats to be so high (or even exist at all)! Oh these, poor NZ men and their total inability to say no...whatever became of their sexual agency?

But you carry on with your happy little slut shaming. We see your hatred for female autonomy for what it is.

Tom said...

Well, Anon, that's your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it. I must say that I fundamentally disagree.

"The only one placed to consider the risks, benifits, impacts and consequences of that choice is the woman who is pregnant, and I dont want it any other way, at any gestation..."

So a woman is better placed than a doctor? In fact, according to you a doctor isn't even in the picture. Interesting. Does that mean I'm in a better place to diagnose my own health and the risks to it? No? What makes this so different?

There's a lot of statements, but never any compelling argument, let alone evidence, to back these statements up. Their ideologies that you seemingly can't explain to people.

In terms of benefits, impacts and consequences, it's interesting that you completely exclude two other parties involved. Yes, a woman has to carry it for 9 months and give birth to it, but that does not give her veto over it.

That's really my problem with the whole issue. People are so focused on the "I am woman, hear me roar!" aspect of this that they don't see that at the end of the day it's selfish and arrogant. You talk about choice, but all this does is take away choice from those that have no voice to protest.

Of course, your final comment about having pro-choice at ANY gestation (with 6 months being a compromise, of all things) is really saying that it's perfectly acceptable for a 8-month pregnancy to be terminated just because the woman wishes it so.

That speaks speaks for itself.

Tom said...

'"The man's choice, it seems, is expected to come before he sleeps with a woman."

Congratulations! It's a breakthrough in understanding male sexual responsibility!

What lovely double standards. It's a man's responsibility to think about the child beforehand and he should abstain if he's not willing to bear the consequences. A woman doesn't need to think or abstain and can just have an abortion if she sees willing.

I thought feminism was supposed to be about equality.

The funny thing is that no one here on either side of the debate has even taken the time to acknowledge just how horrific and mentally damaging the operation is. It's like it's utterly irrelevant, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

"So a woman is better placed than a doctor?" - What are you talking about? A doctor is the one who approves the termination.

Anonymous said...

Tom a woman bleeding to death from an illegal abortion is horrific. Why aren't you talking about that? If you ban abortion that's what you're going to get.

An abortion is a medical procedure. It's not any more horrific than an appendectomy. You haven't had an abortion so you wouldn't know what it was like. It's a simple procedure. If you want to talk about what's 'mentally damaging' and what isn't? Forced pregnancy is mentally damaging. Losing your mother because she died in an illegal abortion is mentally damaging.

Tom said...

'"So a woman is better placed than a doctor?" - What are you talking about? A doctor is the one who approves the termination.'

Why would he be needed? After all, "The only one placed to consider the risks . . . is the woman who is pregnant . . ."

Anonymous said...

Obviously a doctor would recommend a termination at that stage if the mother's life was at risk or her health was at risk.

It's up to the mother to decide whether or not to have a termination based on the doctor's advice - it's not up to you to decide whether she lives or dies.

You know that's what is meant - so don't be ridiculous.

Maia said...

Tom I have deleted your last few comments. You are banned from this thread. You haven't focused on the specific topic of this thread and your comments are misogynist.

Boganette said...

"If someone chooses to have a back-alley abortion and dies from it, they have no one to blame but themselves."

WHAT THE FUCK? You think someone deserves to die if they get pregnant and seek an illegal abortion?

And if you've apparently talked to someone who had a botched illegal abortion (I call bullshit on anyone admitting to you they had an abortion) did you tell them that you think it's their fault and that you wouldn't have cared if they died? Or do you just save that for blogs when you're anonymous?

I don't see how we're supposed to keep our spirits up and fight for reform when we're up against people who think women deserve to die in illegal abortions. This is just heart-breaking. How do people read this stuff and stay strong in the face of such hatred? I feel incredibly depressed now.

Maia said...

Tom I have deleted your last few comments. You are banned from this thread. You haven't focused on the specific topic of this thread and your comments are misogynist.

A Nonny Moose said...

"Yes, a woman has to carry it for 9 months and give birth to it, but that does not give her veto over it."

Yet you and your ilk seem quite happy to appropriate that veto and her body because of how you feel about abortion.

"That said, realise that there will be dissenting voices like mine"

No, really? Damn, I wondered why the bill was such a shambles in the first place...

Maia said...

If everyone could ignore Tom's derail and focus on the proposed 24 week time limit that is the focus of this post that'd be great.

Ms P I guess we strongly disagree on strategy. We're not writing the law, or voting on the law (well actually given how small NZ is you may be, but I'm not). We're not going to be in the position to make any compromises that get made. I can and will hold the line absolutely (including criticising the 24 week limit and believing that aboriton shoudl be treated like any other medical procedure at every stage of pregnancy), and not make one difference to whether or not the law passes. So it's far more useful for me to stay solid and be a force that suggests the law should in fact be more liberal, than to compromise on my beliefs on day 3.

Yes some people may be "yikes 24 weeks" - but that's the reason to take the argument straight out. To talk about the actual reasons women have abortions after 20 weeks, and the consequences of denying women abortions.

There is a huge assemblage of tributes to Dr Tiller that could be used for this very purpose.

There was a time when any abortion had that 'ick' factor. Public opinion on abortion changed quitye rapidly over about a decade. It happened because people started talking openly about abortion and why it happened. The way to win is to fight - not to give up ground before you even start. =

Maia said...

I keep leaving hte comment, but it disappears into the ether.

Tom you're banned from this thread - your comments are both off-topic and misogynist.

Nikki Elisabeth said...

Tom: I tell ya now, an abortion is NOT a pleasant experience. But carrying an unwanted fetus for the remainder of a pregnancy and having to put your body through giving birth would be SO much worse - for me.

And if it wasn't, I'd choose differently. That's the beauty of choice.

Me said...

Maia, to stick to the topic - 24 weeks is a watershed time because the foetus becomes viable outside the mother's body. From that point onwards, it is harder to argue that the foetus is just an extension of the woman's body.

I can see why it is important to allow abortions past 20 weeks - amnio, for example, is often not done until 18 weeks and takes 2 weeks for the results to come through; a woman may need a few days or a week or so to consider her options.

But because a pregnancy starts to become viable at 24 weeks, if there is to be a cut-off point, it seems like a good place for it to fall.

OTOH, I remember when I was pregnant discussing birthing options with my midwife. I asked her: if the labour is long and slow, can the hospital force me to have interventions? She replied no, until the baby was born I have total autonomy over my body. I can refuse medical intervention, such as a c-section, even if it is necessary to save the baby's life. Once the baby is born, however, the state can remove the baby from my care and do whatever medical interventions it deems necessary for the well-being of the child. But until that moment of birth, the baby is part of my body.

Julie said...

One super quick point:

1. Doctors can be women too these days.

Probably won't be back to blog until this evening to comment further.

Maia said...

Tom/Lisa - you are banned from this thread. That means any posts from you will be deleted.

Boganette said...

I'm sorry for derailing the thread - I was just really deeply upset by Lisa's hateful comments - they have stuck with me since reading them.

Maia you did a great post and I whole-heartedly agree with what you've said about the 24 weeks issue. Sorry for falling into the troll trap.

I really want to thank everyone at The Hand Mirror for all the great posts about reform that have been put up so far.

A Nonny Moose said...

Lisa. Read. The. Commenting. Policy.

Do not walk into the house, abuse the home owner, and expect to be made welcome.

Stop derailing and diverting the issue.

cristy said...

"The difference? She can delete posts she doesn't agree with."

Actually that isn't a difference at all. You are just as free as she is to write your own blog and to host comments over there. And you are just as free to then moderate those same comments on your own blog.

A personal blog is not a public space. You have no entitlement to comment on anyone else's blog. In fact, if you do continue to comment after having been asked to stop then you are guilty of harassment. This behaviour speaks very loudly of your complete lack of ethics.

Can I suggest that you find another more sympathetic venue in which to air your views?

Kaleb M said...

You're not posting under your name Lisa/Tom so your character can't be attacked. You came onto this site to troll. You used a fake name and are using a fake name now. You're abusing and threatening Maia and other posters. Frankly I think you should be reported to the police. But it's people like you who will help the bill pass. Anti-choicers threatening pro-choice women and men helps the cause because nobody wants to side with angry, scary hateful people.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Nonny Moose said...

And there we have your Classic Flounce. Truely predictable. Completely unable to debate in the correct fashion.

Now, about that 24 week limit...

I really wish commenters in forums NZ over (Herald, Stuff etc) would understand it's not for lazy slatterns. How is it these people do not understand health conditions that would affect or kill mother and/or child if a pregnancy is continued?

ms p said...

I think a lot of people assume that you *can* access abortions after 20 weeks for cases where the fetus in unviable/mother's health is threatened. I've been yabbering to anyone I can about this new bill and when I've repeated the case Maia has reported in this blog, they've been shocked, having thought that such cases would automatically involve access to abortion.

There's so much misunderstanding about abortion law that we need to counteract.

Anonymous said...

If you trust women to make their own decisions, then you trust women to make their own decisions at any stage in pregnancy.

I agree Maia but I would go further than that. Even after the child is born, if the mother feels that infanticide is the best way to balance her needs with the needs of her son or daughter, she should be permitted to do so.

Trouble said...

If you want to successfully troll, you need to be a little more subtle. I don't know any pro-choice person who seriously argues that. Once a child has been born, someone other than the mother can step in and provide care if the mother doesn't wish to.

Certainly postnatal depression or psychosis should be taken into account in the few sad cases of infanticide that occur. Interestingly, the law has long treated infanticide much more leniently than standard murder. The jury in the case of the Nelson father of the baby with lissencephaly a couple of years back took that approach too.

Julie said...

Thank you Trouble, spot on.

Thank you also to all those who have commented on this post in a supportive manner. It's been really heartening to see our readers deal with the situation.

Thanks also to those staunch moderators who have done some staunch moderating while I've been otherwise engaged over the last day or so.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you do know one pro-choice person who agrees with me:

Julie said...

I would encourage people to actually read Maia's blog post, and her responses to highly critical comments, when considering Anon's reading of what she is saying (which is not how I read it at all).

Trouble said...

Yeah, Anonymous, I remember that post. And I don't think it was anything like a defence of infanticide in the terms you describe. I read that as a recognition of the mitigating factors in a particular situation*, and the importance of ensuring there are better alternatives.

*A young international student had recently tried to conceal a pregnancy and had given birth, wrapped the baby in a rubbish bag and put it out the window.

Anonymous said...

I am going to avoid arguing about Maia's earlier post because I realise now although I didnt when bringing it up that it is a derail.

I fully support a woman's right to abort up until the moment of birth. I want to see a law that reflects that.

If a thread is ever launched here (or anywhere) discussing infanticide I will give my opinions then and respectfully hope Maia, Julie, Trouble and anybody else will also voices theirs.

For now I will leave it at that.

Just my opinion said...

Oh bloody hell, this is silly. Why do men think they can have a say in all this? A woman is the one who has to go through all the pain and suffering in order to have a baby, so surely it's their right to have 100% say when or if they are able to carry one.

I would never have advised any woman about what she could or could not do and especially by invoking some religious right over how she makes a decision like this.

Just my 2 cents.