(Reporter:)You wanted to cozy up to the next question but there's no time, so you just blurt it out: What are your limits? When would you tell a woman no?I’m struck because I remember the slogan “Trust Women” used often by pro-choicers to cudgel prolifers during the days after George Tiller was murdered.
(Hern:)There's no specific answer to that. I'm in the process of turning down somebody who's going to be thirty-four, thirty-five weeks, with an important reason for doing abortion. I'm not going to do it......
(Reporter:) This woman you refused to treat, what was her reason?
(Hern:) She was raped. I'm very sympathetic, but I can't risk my medical license for someone who just didn't get around to doing anything about it. I've done some cases over thirty-six weeks, but very few.
(Reporter:) For what cause?
(Hern:) For some catastrophic problems.
(Reporter:) Like what?
(Hern:) Oh, anencephaly or lack of kidneys, you know. Lack of a brain.
Isn’t Hern refusing to trust a woman when he refuses to perform an abortion on her? If “Trust Women” is some absolute when it comes to pregnancy and abortion, then aren’t abortionists who refuse to do certain abortions, which they are capable of doing, failing to trust women. Hern knows that his medical license isn’t going to be taken away for performing this abortion. He knows the “health” exception Doe v. Bolton gives him plenty of leeway to perform abortions on women in their third trimester. He just isn’t comfortable performing 35 week abortions on completely healthy fetuses. He’s comfortable doing them for fetal abnormalities but women who “just didn’t get around to doing anything about it” until 35 weeks apparently aren’t worthy of Hern's trust.
If you’re going to use an absolute slogan like “trust women” to defend abortion, you should be willing to "trust" the decision-making abilities of all women, including the woman who’s 35 weeks pregnant and wants an abortion because she was raped. It should also include woman who wants a 35 week abortion because she says she's not ready to be a mother. Or women who want to have abortions because their unborn children are females.