Prohibiting most abortions 20 weeks after fertilization would run counter to the Supreme Court's standard of fetal viability
, which is generally put at 22 to 24 weeks after fertilization.
Usually surgical intervention is necessary regardless of fetal viability
Supreme Court precedent says women cannot be unduly restricted from the option of an abortion before fetal viability
, which doctors usually find to be around 24 weeks of gestation.
The US Supreme Court has held that a woman's right to an abortion is not absolute and that states may restrict or ban abortions after fetal viability
wade allows abortion up to the point of fetal viability
at the end of the second trimester of pregnancy (generally understood as 26 weeks after the last menstrual period, or 24 weeks after fertilization, although it is not defined in the court decision), and holds that any restrictions must allow exceptions to preserve the life and health of the woman.
A woman who does not avail herself of the option of abortion before fetal viability
subsequently has obligations to the soon-to-be-born child.
They argue that these debates detract from the core message of women's governance of their own bodies and can lead to inappropriate discussions of fetal viability
and which disabilities are acceptable or unacceptable as reasons for abortion.
Making the point that judges sometimes rely on life experience to reach their conclusions, she commented that Justice O'Connor was corrected by the medical community for her seemingly incorrect "reasonable belief" that fetal viability
in the first trimester could be possible given technological advances.
4) For example, the Court has held that states must leave the determination of fetal viability
to the medical judgment of physicians rather than defining viability at a specific point in pregnancy (like twenty weeks of gestation).
A lawsuit would then be available to the injured infant, but there is controversy surrounding when the legal duty to the fetus arises (that is, before fetal viability
, after viability, or even preconception, such as in cases of genetic damage to an ovum from physical, chemical, or radiologic injury).
35) Thus, a state could, if it so chose, prohibit abortion past the point of fetal viability
, (36) except where necessary to save the life or health of the mother.
Gestational Limits: 36 states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the woman's life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy, most often fetal viability