Fact check: Are pro-lifers lying about abortion, as Planned Parenthood claims?

Planned Parenthood

There has been a battle taking place between those who fight for life and those who advocate for abortion for decades, but within the past year, it seems to have reached a fever pitch. While the Trump administration and some state lawmakers have been pushing pro-life policies, other states have been putting into place extreme pro-abortion laws. For Planned Parenthood, the extremist laws are something to celebrate; the pro-life policies are cause for alarm. But while Planned Parenthood complains about pro-lifers’ so-called lies, they’re busy spinning a few pretty big yarns themselves.

Do “the vast majority” really support unrestricted abortion?

In a recent blog post, Planned Parenthood began its complaint against pro-life efforts to save lives with a blatant lie: that most Americans oppose restrictions being placed on abortion across the country. “The vast majority of people in the United States support the right to access abortion without interference from politicians,” Miriam Berg, a digital content writer and producer for Planned Parenthood, wrote. “In fact, 73% of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. And in the 2018 midterm elections, the American people issued a mandate: They want more access to health care, not less.”

By “health care,” Berg means abortion, of course. But this claim is a typical pro-abortion lie. An overwhelming majority of Americans do not want abortion legal, on demand at any time, and with no restrictions. Only 12% of Americans favor completely unrestricted abortion.

It is true that most people polled have said they don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. But some of this polling has been shown to use biased, misleading questions — and polling has also shown that around one-third of people don’t even know what Roe v. Wade is.

In addition, polling that asks specifics on when abortion should be restricted has repeatedly shown that people want more, not fewer, restrictions. Gallup, for example, found that in overwhelming numbers, most people want abortion to be illegal after the first trimester. People also support waiting periods, parental consent laws, and informed consent laws — all things which the abortion industry fights against. This holds true for Millennials as well, and Americans widely disagree with taxpayer dollars being used for abortion.

It’s Planned Parenthood that is extreme here, not pro-life politicians.

Are pro-lifers lying about the existence of late-term abortion, or the reasons for it?

“Because they think it will score political points, President Trump and his allies are telling outlandish lies that downplay the complexity of abortion later in pregnancy and are using insulting language that shames women,” Berg wrote, attaching a tweet that accused Trump of “lying,” likely referencing his State of the Union speech.

Abortion advocates have, in recent weeks, been dismissing the idea of late-term abortion, claiming that they are only committed because the mother’s health is in danger or a fetal abnormality has been found, or even flat-out claiming that they don’t happen at all.

The truth is, late-term abortions do occur, and likely in larger numbers than people believe. According to the CDC, over 57,000 abortions were committed after the 13th week of pregnancy, with approximately 48,000 of those between 14 and 20 weeks, and around 8,000 of them after 21 weeks. These numbers do not include all abortions, however, as some states — like California — choosing not to report their abortion statistics to the CDC, meaning that the real numbers are undoubtedly even higher. (The Guttmacher Institute reports approximately 100,000 abortions taking place in the second and third trimesters annually.)

READ: Planned Parenthood’s plan to ‘protect abortion’ won’t help women or babies

As to why these abortions take place? It’s not for the reasons abortion advocates want you to believe. According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute — the former research arm of Planned Parenthood itself — women who undergo late-term abortions fit primarily in five categories. In a 2013 study, Guttmacher reported, “They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and nulliparous.” A 1988 study found that only 2% of women had a late-term abortion because there was a health issue found with the baby.

Is abortion really all that common?

Previously, abortion advocates claimed that 1 in 3 women has an abortion at some point in her lifetime. But as abortion rates have declined in recent years, that has been changed to 1 in 4. “Every day, women across our country face the deeply personal decision of whether or not to continue their pregnancy. One in four women in America will have an abortion during her lifetime. Every person deserves to access the best medical care available,” Berg wrote, adding, “Planned Parenthood will continue to fight alongside reproductive health advocates to protect and expand access to health care — including access to safe, legal abortion — no matter what.”

Except abortion is not health care, and it’s never medically necessary for a woman to have one.


As for the “1 in 4” claim, that number had to change, because the previous arguments were repeatedly debunked, including by sources such as the Washington Post. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, a fact checker for the Post, gave the abortion industry’s previously used “1 in 3” claim four Pinocchios in 2016. The number of women having abortions is declining, yet Planned Parenthood skims over that fact, seemingly in an effort to ensure that abortion continues to seem widespread and commonplace.

It’s no surprise that Planned Parenthood is invested in trying to expand abortion; after all, abortion is its business. But its lies should not go unchallenged. The abortion industry leader has a vested interest in making sure people remain in the dark about abortion. Unfortunately for them, the truth always eventually comes to light.

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