Senators continue to spread long-debunked lie about later abortions

In a recent Senate Judiciary hearing focused on abortion, Senator Dick Durbin spread a long-debunked falsehood about why women get late-term or later abortions.

Senator Ted Cruz had noted that Durbin, along with Senator Peter Welch, are vocal supporters of abortion throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy. Each senator then tried to defend this support using lies and misinformation.

Durbin repeated a familiar claim about why women undergo later, abortions which has become used frequently by the abortion industry to soften the idea of intentionally killing a preborn child who is able to survive outside of the womb.

“What are the reasons for really late-term abortions? Well, there are three. And the information I’m reading from comes from the Center for Disease Control,” he said. “Why women need access to abortion late in pregnancy: maternal health endangerment; diagnosis of severe fetal abnormality which didn’t show up or develop until late in the pregnancy; restrictive state laws that made it difficult for a woman to get an abortion earlier in pregnancy. And we’re talking about 1 percent of all abortions.”

This is a familiar argument; it has been used by abortion advocates for years. Unfortunately, it’s blatantly false.

According to a 1988 Guttmacher study, only 2% of women sought late-term abortions because of a health problem with the baby. A 2013 study, also published by the Guttmacher Institute, also said, “data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” Pro-abortion researcher and (debunked) Turnaway Study author Diana Greene Foster likewise stated that according to a report from the Congressional Research Service, abortions for fetal abnormalities “make up a small minority of later abortion.” And a 2010 paper from Julia Steinberg of the pro-abortion Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health said, “Research suggests that the overwhelming majority of women having later abortions do so for reasons other than fetal anomaly (Drey et al., 2006; Finer et al., 2005, 2006; Foster et al., 2008).”

Furthermore, Durbin claimed that late-term abortions are rare, something echoed by Welch, who said, “My understanding is that late-term abortions are very rare, and it’s almost always — really probably always — where there’s a medical emergency and the life of the woman is imperiled.” Yet, this, too, is misleading. While it is true that first-trimester abortions are much more common, there are still thousands to tens of thousands of later abortions being committed each year.

According to the CDC’s 2019 Abortion Surveillance Report, 1.1% of all abortions were committed after 21 weeks of pregnancy. If you include after 14 weeks of pregnancy, the number rises to 8% of all abortions.

While 1.1% or even 8% might seem like small numbers, they aren’t. The CDC reports 398,505 abortions committed in 2019. 1.1% of that number equals 4,383 abortions committed after 21 weeks of pregnancy in just one year; 8% equals 31,880. States are also not required to report their data to the CDC — and numerous states, like California and Maryland, do not. This means the true number of abortions — regardless of gestational age — is almost certainly higher.

Using the Guttmacher Institute’s numbers (which are collected directly from abortionists), 930,160 abortions were committed in 2020. If the CDC’s percentages hold true with 1.1% of abortions occurring after 21 weeks, that equates to an estimate of more than 10,000 human lives per year, and 8% occurring after 14 weeks equates to an estimate of more than 74,000 human lives per year.

Even now, when people are supporting abortion in higher numbers, polling has still found that later abortion is still opposed by a majority of Americans. And that’s exactly why advocates like Durbin and Welch have to put a more positive spin on it, even if it means misleading the public.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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