There are very few providers of late term abortion in the United States, and the number becomes less and less each year as physicians retire, or as they are harassed, assassinated, or legislative laws drive them out of business. There are those in the judicial and political systems who support the right of women to be able to exercise their freedom to have an abortion on demand as supported by the majority of people in this country. There are less people who support the right of women to terminate their pregnancy after a certain number of weeks which is the reason legislative bodies are able to pass State and Federal laws restricting abortion services. In particular, restrictions and bans on when, where and how late term abortions are performed which have now stopped the majority of late term abortions in most States.

The following are some of the facts of late second and third trimester terminations of pregnancy defined as greater than 24 weeks for this particular writing.

The right to life and anti-choice groups view late term abortion as destroying a child or baby.  They use rhetoric such as baby murderers, baby killers, and child murderers indiscriminately. They continue using unfounded, inflammatory words, causing most individuals who have never personally experienced how or why women with a medical problems that threatens their lives or health, or what it’s like to carry a wanted pregnancy and find out that something genetically is wrong with the fetus, or when there is such a severe abnormality that is incompatible with life to understand. Yet it is these same people who believe in the right to bear arms and defend themselves when or if their life should become threatened.

Women who need a physician to perform a medically necessary, late term abortions due to maternal or fetal reasons will be shocked to find that they have only few places to turn. Examples of women in need of late term termination of pregnancy services include women diagnosed with cancer, women who learn late in their pregnancies that their wanted babies had abnormalities incompatible with life, rape and incest patients, and patients as young as 10 years old who did not believe that the first time they had sex they could get pregnant or the 42 year old patient with severe diabetes that affects their eyesight where continuing the pregnancy could lead to blindness and kidney failure who did not know she was pregnant. There are numerous maternal and fetal indications where late term termination of pregnancy is indicated and legal to perform.

The laws in most States now prevent late term abortions from taking place even in a hospital because most hospitals are now run by conservative religious entities. Finding a physician and medical staff, and going through hospital boards only to be refused this service has now become the norm rather than the exception.

Most patients do not think about late term abortion until they find themselves carrying a pregnancy with life threatening consequences. Little thought is given because it is assumed that only women who do not want their pregnancy have abortions. This is far from the case. The website, a heartbreaking choice, contains numerous accounts of women who wanted their pregnancy and had to have a termination. The stories are very similar. A patient is having a routine sonogram that may not be the first one as there are many times fetal abnormalities do not show up until later in pregnancy. A fetal abnormality is identified and further testing is required which may include genetic studies. It is found that the fetus has an abnormality that is not compatible with life, or if the child lives, it will need multiple surgeries and still die at a young age.

Receiving such a devastating diagnosis would be a lot easier if the personal physician or the high risk pregnancy physician making the diagnosis could perform the termination procedure which is not the case more than 90% of the time. As a matter of fact, it is almost impossible to find a compassionate, experienced, and dedicated physician willing to help patients in this critical time in their life.

Dr. Pendergraft is offering Consultation and Referral Services for women up to 32 weeks for medically necessary termination of pregnancy. The abortion process cannot occur in the State of Florida due to Florida Statutes that prohibit abortion beyond a certain number of weeks as is the case in the majority of States.  Dr. Pendergraft has performed late term abortions on an outpatient basis for many years including medically indicated termination of pregnancies in hospitals in States where they can be performed up to 34 weeks when the fetus was diagnosed with abnormalities that were incompatible with life.  Women have come from all over the United States and throughout the world to see Dr. Pendergraft; for some it meant incurring great expense and lengthy travel because it is the only option for most women who need late term terminations of pregnancy abortions in the U.S. Restrictions make it impossible for most states to allow abortions past 16 weeks. The majority of States in the south place tremendous restrictions on abortion services.

For patients who can travel to the Washington, D.C. area, Dr. Pendergraft has a referral facility that is able to begin the preparation that occurs prior to evacuation of the uterus of the pregnancy. This preparation requires fetal intra-cardiac injection of medications to stop the fetal heart beat. Arrangements are generally made with the referral physician to send the patient back for evacuation of the uterus, or arrangements can be made to refer the patient to another facility for uterine evacuation to occur either by labor induction or surgical removal.

To read more about the referral process please click here.

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