As a 15-Week Pregnant Woman, Here’s Why the Majority of Americans and I Aren’t Satisfied with This Lackluster Limit

Caroline Wharton - 17 Nov 2023
Guest post by SFLA Capital Area Regional Coordinator Shaohannah Tavares

The entire country watched “safe abortion messaging” fail recently with the 2023 election cycle, and as a first-time, expectant mother whose preborn baby has just hit three months in the womb, I have a couple tips for the political consultants who are to blame. 

These are the Washington D.C. political whisperers who have been working to make a compromise with the abortion lobby since Roe was first reversed. The narrative they peddled in a fruitless attempt to appease both sides was that my baby girl magically became valuable at 15-weeks old — but we all saw this clearly backfire and do no favors for the pro-life movement.   

As we clear away the rubble of this election and prepare to come out swinging for life once again, we need to acknowledge what went wrong…and it’s simple really.  A 15-week abortion restriction isn’t an effective policy, and for that reason, it doesn’t have a strong pull on the pro-life/conservative base. 

Voters want to see candidates that are committed to their principles and firm in their convictions to defend life, not someone who tries to pick and choose at which point in pregnancy a baby suddenly earns the right not to be killed through the violence of abortion. 

These candidates have cowardly consultants in their ears, telling them to say this in order to appear more moderate and on the side of “common sense” — but where’s the sense in arbitrarily deciding when life has value?  

Now 15 weeks pregnant myself, I’ve heard my daughter’s heartbeat since she was just six weeks old. At my 13-week ultrasound, I watched her move around. The sonographer pointed out her extremities and told me she wasn’t in a very convenient position for the scan. We laughed as she joked about my child hopefully not being this stubborn in the future. 

Though my little girl was clearly living and growing at that time, moderate GOP politicians and lobbying groups would say she didn’t have the right to be protected from violent dismemberment yet. And as her mom, I take that personally. 

Guess what radical change happened at 15-weeks that transformed my daughter from something undeserving of protection to a living human that has rights?

Nothing. There isn’t even a very significant gestational leap of development at this point. Instead, she has been unique and special since conception — but if you wanted a time stamp that actually made sense, the detection of a fetal heartbeat (which often happens around 21 days after conception) is certainly one.  

Voters agree with me on this. A 2023 YouGov-Vinea poll found that Millennials and Gen Z largely reject the Democrats’ agenda of abortion through all nine months. Instead, almost 70% support limiting abortion based on a baby’s stage of development, and they’re not interested in 15-week limits. In fact, more than one in five support protections beginning at heartbeat and brain activity detection (which occurs at the same time) or from conception (at 15%). 

Why? Because these protections actually do a good deal of protecting, unlike 15-week limits which continue to allow more than 9 out of 10 abortions to occur.  

Ultrasound of Tavares’ daughter

If we want to continue moving the needle, self-proclaimed “pro-life” candidates and their consultants need to choose to be authentically pro-life and ditch their ineffective policy plans moving forward. In the long term, prohibiting abortion at 15 weeks does next to nothing, and it’s not getting our base excited to work grassroots and show up to the ballot box. 

Our best strategy is to attack the radical abortion industry’s agenda through policies which show clear voter support, like Protection at Conception or Heartbeat Abortion Prevention. These are measures which will actually save many lives, as well as energize our movement to continue their work, ensuring better donations and grassroots efforts to push us towards success. 

With the Dobbs v. Jackson decision just in our rearview mirror, we understand abolishing abortion will not happen tomorrow. Historical change like this takes time, but it also takes renewed determination and ambition from the leaders of our movement — so let’s take a note from the majority of people who have already said 15-weeks isn’t good enough as a goal. 

They understand my preborn child has been worthy of protection since long before she turned three months old in the womb…we need the cowardly coalition in D.C. to wrap their heads around that, too. 

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