Fact checking the fact checkers: Yes, New York does allow abortions up to birth

New York

In an attempt to debunk a viral Facebook post about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a recent fact check from USA Today made several significant errors. The news outlet attempted to counter the claim that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing abortion up to birth. 

Last year, Cuomo lit up the state’s landmarks in pink after signing into law a bill that expanded the viability threshold for late-term abortions, allowing it when a preborn child is diagnosed with a condition that could cause death at or shortly after birth. It also allows for abortions through all nine months when the mother’s life or health are at risk. Yet USA Today claimed the idea that New York’s Reproductive Health Act legalized abortions up to the point of birth is “partly false.” 

READ: Women who refused late-term abortion: ‘Shame on you, Governor Cuomo’

The fact check reads, “While it is true that New York’s abortion law allows procedures after 24 weeks, there are rules guiding that procedure: if the fetus is not viable or if the health or life of the mother is at risk. If medical practitioners determine that either of these factors are present, the mother can choose to have an abortion.” Continuing, the article says, “It is false to state or imply that any abortion can occur in New York ‘up until birth’ as the social posts claims. That is misleading.” 

But there are problems with this assessment. Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court case released on the same day as Roe v. Wade, ruled that it’s up to the discretion of the abortionist to determine if the procedure whether the procedure is medically necessary. The case says that “medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” In other words, “health of the mother” can encompass anything the abortionist — who stands to profit from the abortion — decides is reason enough. Cuomo stated that the intent of the RHA was to bring New York’s abortion law into line with Roe and Doe.


After the New York law passed, multiple doctors publicly stated that late-term abortions are never medically necessary, and pre-term delivery is advised in cases where the mother’s life may be in danger. Contrary to popular belief, most abortions done at a later stage are not being done for health reasons, and many of these procedures are carried out on healthy babies. The abortion industry often skirts the line when it comes to the medical necessity of late-term abortions, as abortionist Warren Hern has said, “I certify that any pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life and could cause grievous injury to her physical health.”

Another detrimental effect of the New York law is that it defined a person as a “human being who has been born and is alive.” This means men like Jerry Brown, who was charged with murdering a pregnant woman with an axe, will not face an additional fetal homicide charge in the state.

Incorrectly, the fact check also said, “… no state in the U.S. allows abortion ‘up until birth.’” 

This is false, as Colorado and New Mexico place no limits on when abortions can be committed, and women looking to abort in their third trimester often travel to these places. Curtis Boyd, an abortionist, stated in a recent video that when it comes to gestational age, “there’s no set period”  limiting the abortion procedures he is willing to commit. 

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