The problem of waiting times is not insignificant, as the later an abortion is left the more complicated it becomes, in terms of both the medical process and the mental health issues for the woman concerned. The Silva et al research shows that the problem is partly women waiting to seek a termination (maybe if it wasn't so stigmatised to get one they'd go earlier) and partly having to jump through big hoops to get one (which is of course a strong argument for law reform, especially getting rid of the need for permission from two certifying consultants).
Sadly though someone at the Herald couldn't just let the NZPA story stand on the facts, oh no they had to accompany the online story with a "smiling fetus" image which is just utter rubbish. Ask any parent of a baby when that kid first smiled and they'll probably furrow their brow a little while they think and then come up with an answer between a month and six weeks after birth. I remember vividly when Wriggly first smiled; I was changing his nappy and he was about six weeks old. I love his smile still, even when he's being cheeky and trying to convince me that he can't have been naughty because he's just so adorable. As special and intelligent as I think my son is, there's no way he, or any other child, was smiling before about four weeks old. So smiling fetuses are just a myth.
I've sent the below letter of complaint to the Online Editors:
Kia ora,If you feel so moved as to raise an objection to this also, then you can do so here. I'll let you know if I get a response.
I have just been reading the NZPA supplied story titled "Women feel wait for abortion too long" at this link:
I am flabbergasted by the incredibly misleading photo and caption used to accompany this story on your website. The caption states:
"A still from a still 4D ultrasound of a 29 week old foetus smiling and moving inside the womb. Photo / Supplied."
It is a well known biological fact that smiling is not possible until four to six weeks after birth. Here's but one of many websites to state this:
I am curious to know who supplied this photo, and how the caption was afixed to it. It is blatantly misleading and, given that abortion is such a controversial subject, it is disappointing to see the Herald failing to do a very simple fact check on this matter.
I look forward to your response.
Update: Victory! The All Smiling All Dancing All The Time Fetus picture and caption is now gone, replaced by a pic of Steve Chadwick with a caption referring to her possible Bill. I haven't had a response to my complaint email, but the main thing is that it's been changed, and hopefully this won't happen again. Thanks to all who pointed out the ridiculousness of the original pic!