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Supreme Court of the United States

Scientific Advances in Prenatal Medicine Call for a Change in Abortion Law

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
November 2, 2021

“Looks like the baby is eating some breakfast!”

So remarked the ultrasound technician at the 20-week appointment for my second child. We watched the screen together quietly and in awe. Just four weeks later, my doctor congratulated me on passing the point where my baby would very likely survive outside the womb if he or she (yes, we like to be surprised!) arrived early.

I walked away from these appointments marveling at the advances in science that allow doctors to protect babies born prematurely and allow me to get a clear glimpse of my child in the womb. The fact that I can choose whether to be surprised about the gender of my baby is amazing in and of itself! After watching my baby eat breakfast, wave perfectly formed fingers, and kick with strong legs, there’s no doubt that he or she is a fully formed human being.

But under the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade—and under Colorado law (where I live)—I could have walked away from either of those appointments and gone straight to an abortion clinic.

Something just doesn’t add up.

Since 1973, when Roe was decided, we have made huge advances in science as well as prenatal medicine and technology. Yet, our abortion laws remain stuck in the past—when viability (the point at which a baby can survive outside the womb) was widely considered to be between 23-28 weeks gestation. Now, viability is considered to be between 21-22 weeks.

We also know that, at just 15 weeks, unborn babies have a heartbeat, can move around and kick, sense and respond to stimuli, taste what mom eats, open and close their fingers, and hiccup. I saw plenty of evidence of that at my 20-week ultrasound.

Yet, the United States is one of only four nations that permits abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy, along with China and North Korea.


So, since our federal law is still stuck in the 70s, doesn’t it make sense to allow states to pass laws that are consistent with modern scientific knowledge?

That’s the question that the Supreme Court will be considering in its current term, when it hears Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization . In this case, pro-abortion advocates are challenging a Mississippi law that limits abortions after 15 weeks in gestational age, permitting them only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality.

Given what we know about fetal development in 2021, that seems reasonable, doesn’t it? It seems reasonable to 90 percent of countries worldwide , at least, which have laws prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks or earlier. Most Americans support commonsense laws like Mississippi’s as well.

Please join us in praying that the Supreme Court agrees.

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Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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