While early abortions reportedly comprise a large percentage of abortions committed every year, late-term abortions — those that take place in the second and third trimesters — are not as “rare” as the media and abortion industry claim. Rather than describe the violence of abortion, the media instead fixates on whether anti-abortion advocates are using “medically accurate” terminology. They have claimed that terms such as “partial-birth abortion” and “late-term abortion” were invented by pro-lifers to somehow stigmatize these procedures. But Live Action News previously dispelled this deceptive talking point, documenting how the media and abortion industry have used the term “late-term abortion” for years (many still do). A few examples are below.
What is a “late-term abortion?”
Simple answer: An abortion at or greater than thirteen weeks.
Abortionist and abortion researcher Dr. Daniel Grossman told Parents.com that most Americans view an abortion to be “late-term” if it is performed after 12 weeks, or 3 months. Grossman is on staff at the Bixby Center at the University of California, San Francisco, which trains abortionists — and as Live Action News has documented, Grossman is saturated in the abortion movement.
As you can see in this image published on Planned Parenthood’s website (fetal development page separate from the corporation’s abortion page), babies at 13 weeks and older are more developed.
What abortion procedures are used in late-term abortions?
Live Action has documented two procedures used to commit late-term abortions:
- D&E: dilation (dilatation) and evacuation abortion. The abortionist dilates the woman’s cervix and uses instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus.
- Induction abortion. The abortionist will usually kill the baby in utero by injecting a substance that causes cardiac arrest, and induces the mother’s labor to deliver her baby stillborn.
D&E abortions are particularly gruesome, as described by former abortionist Anthony Levatino in the video below.
How many late-term abortions occur annually?
For that answer, we turn to the two reporting agencies on abortion: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute, a former “special affiliate” of Planned Parenthood. There is no federal requirement that all abortions are reported and no requirement that abortions are reported by gestation. In addition, these two reporting agencies vary in their numbers. Live Action News previously explained some of the reasons for the variation:
- The CDC’s overall abortion numbers are generally much lower than numbers released by the Guttmacher Institute. CDC uses data from states, and since not every state requires abortion reporting — and those that do differ in what information is collected — abortions by trimester (gestation) will vary.
- Guttmacher gathers its figures from surveys, which it claims it sends directly to all known abortion facilities, categorized by type. Despite more comprehensive figures, Guttmacher neglects to break down reported abortion data beyond 21 weeks of pregnancy.
CDC reported late-term abortions by gestation (2015): 38,000
A total of 623,471 abortions for 2016 were reported to the CDC from 48 reporting areas – but data on gestation was only gathered from 41 reporting areas to break down abortions by gestation. The numbers exclude 11 areas (California, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York State, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) that did not report, did not report by gestational age, or did not meet reporting standards, the CDC states.
The first figure is CDC’s reported figure based on the 41 reporting areas. The second figure is an estimated (ets.) number calculated by multiplying the percent against the total reported abortions for all reporting areas.
Less than 8 weeks (65.5%) – 282,692 – (408,374 est.)
9-13 weeks (25.5%) – 110,125 – (158,985 est.)
14-15 weeks (3.6%) – 15,602 – (22,445 est.)
16-17 weeks (2.1%) – 9,089 – (13,093 est.)
18-20 weeks (2%) – 8,454 – (12,469 est.)
Greater than 21 weeks (1.2%) – 5,303 – (7,482 est.)
In 2016, 8.9% of children aborted were past the first trimester of pregnancy.
According to CDC’s numbers 38,448 (55,489 estimated total) abortions were reported past the first trimester. And, although gestational ages are not reported by all states, we can estimate that, according to the CDC percentage of 1.2%, up to 7,481 abortions were committed at 21 weeks or later in 2016.
Guttmacher estimated late-term abortions by gestation (2017): 100,000
In 2017, Guttmacher reported a total of 862,320 abortions, claiming that two-thirds of abortions occurred at eight weeks or earlier. Using the same percentages from Guttmacher’s graph below (2016), we discover that over 100,000 (100,891) abortions took place in the second trimester or later.
- 8 weeks or less (65.4%) – 563,957 abortions
- 9-10 weeks (14.7%) – 126,761 abortions
- 11-12 weeks (8.2%) – 70,710 abortions
- 13-15 weeks (6.3%) – 54,326 abortions
- 16-20 weeks (4.1%) – 35,355 abortions
- At or greater than 21 weeks (1.3%) – 11,210 abortions
That 100,000 annual late-term abortion statistic is not small. It’s equal to the…
- Approximate number of deaths in the Bosnian Genocide by 1995.
- Deaths following Saddam Hussein’s mustard gas and nerve agents attacks on Iraqi Kurds.
- More deaths than number of reported drug overdose deaths in 2017 in the U.S.
- Twice as many as reported deaths from opioid drugs in 2017.
Why do women get late-term abortions?
The media deceptively leads the public to believe that late-term abortions only happen in cases of fetal anomalies or because of a health reason (as opposed to an early delivery), but even the abortion industry admits that late-term abortions are often done on perfectly healthy babies and moms.
Dr. Eleanor Drey, the medical director of the Women’s Options Center of San Francisco General Hospital which commits abortions into the second trimester, admitted in an abortion training module published by Innovating Education, ” […] there was a study that showed women’s reasons for presenting at 16 weeks or beyond after their last menstrual period. And what they saw was that women often didn’t realize that they were pregnant.” She goes on to list additional reasons, and as you can see, fetal anomaly is the lowest on the list.
According to Guttmacher’s report, “Seventy-two percent of clinics offered abortions up to 12 weeks’ gestation in 2014, 25% up to 20 weeks and 10% up to 24 weeks.” (There are facilities which provide abortions even later in gestation; those abortions are not specifically referenced in the report.) Live Action has previously documented that late-term abortions often occur for reasons of personal choice. The video below is a compilation of an undercover investigation into several U.S. late-term abortion facilities conducted by Live Action. More on that investigation here.
The fact is that late-term abortions (some on preborn babies who are potentially able to survive outside the womb) happen daily in America. These figures reveal that over 100,000 uniquely designed and distinctly human beings die violently from second and third trimester abortion inside abortion facilities each year. This represents nearly 274 babies each day and at least 11 babies every single hour whose lives are ended by late-term abortion.
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