In a 2011 Washington Post op-ed, Frances Kissling, activist with Catholics for Choice, made this strong argument: pro-choice Americans are out of touch with nuances and trends of the current abortion debate. Having listened to terms like “products of conception” used by Planned Parenthood employees in the Center for Medical Progress video exposé, Kissling’s concerns ring true.
Increasingly detailed ultrasound technology should cause a crisis of conscience for all who’ve fallen for the “clump of cells” canard over the years. Scientific advances lowering the age of viability should bring pause to ardent pro-choicers. The ability to survive outside the womb is as overt a sign of personhood as red neon means hot and glazed at Krispy Kreme. Says Kissling:
We can no longer pretend the fetus is invisible….We must end the fiction that an abortion at 26 weeks is no different from one at six weeks. These are not compromises or mere strategic concessions, they are a necessary evolution. The positions we have taken up to now are inadequate for the questions of the 21st century. We know more than we knew in 1973, and our positions should reflect that. The fetus is more visible than ever before, and the abortion-rights movement needs to accept its existence and its value….Very few people would argue that there is no difference between the decision to abort at 6 weeks and the decision to do so when the fetus would be viable outside the womb, which today is generally at 24 to 26 weeks.
Still, it is rare for mainstream movement leaders to say that publicly. Abortion is not merely a medical matter, and there is an unintended coarseness to claiming that it is. We need to firmly and clearly reject post-viability abortions except in extreme cases….Those kinds of regulations are not anti-woman or unduly invasive. They rightly protect all of our interests in women’s health and fetal life.
Taken from Beyond the Abortion Wars, by Charles C. Camosy (pgs 39, 40).