The United States is one of seven nations that allow for elective abortions past 20 weeks.
Below are three common myths surrounding third trimester abortions and reasons sought for these procedures.
1) Myth: Third trimester abortions are illegal
Currently, federal law makes it legal to abort babies into the ninth month of pregnancy.
While some states have restrictions on abortion, all states permit abortion into the ninth month for certain exceptions. Eight states and Washington, D.C., allow abortion until birth for any reason (Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and New York).
The preborn child in the United States does not have any rights until he or she exits a woman’s body. Dr. Anthony Levatino describes an abortion procedure performed 25 weeks to term:
Live Action President Lila Rose made the following statement:
While the abortion industry claims that late-term abortions are an insignificant number of abortions and they’re only done because of a disability the baby has or to protect the life of the mother, the evidence says just the opposite.
2) Myth: Third trimester abortions are rare
In 2015, the CDC reported that 1.3 percent of abortions were committed at 21 weeks’ gestation and later. While 1.3 percent sounds very small, this equates to nearly 8,300 preborn children killed late-term every single year.
While birth is an amazing and involving process, the child doesn’t suddenly become human by exiting the birth canal. The child in the womb is already developed in so many ways, and he or she has been developing since life began at the moment of conception. But in the United States, birth is what legally makes the child a human being with rights.
3) Myth: Third trimester abortions are only performed for reasons based on the life or health of the mother
Many Americans have heard of Roe v. Wade, even if they don’t understand just how stringent its implications are by legalizing abortion in all 50 states on demand. The lesser known companion case is Doe v. Bolton, which had devastating consequences of its own. The decisions recognized the state’s interest in protecting what they refer to as “potential life.”
What Doe did was create an availability of abortion up until birth by defining “health.” While states may have an interest, the mother’s “health” takes precedence to the life of the preborn child. Under Doe, however, “health” can mean whatever the mother and the abortionist decide.
As “Life Matters: Roe Plus 40” mentions, Doe broadly defined maternal health.
In Doe, the Court announced that health, for the purposes of late-term abortion law, would be synonymous with the mother’s “physical, emotional, psychological, familial … wellbeing”—in other words, every reason a pregnant woman could give for seeking an abortion in the first place.
The late infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller would sign off on girls getting abortions for “mental health reasons,” such as not being able to find a babysitter, or desiring to attend prom or a rock concert.
Statistics show that most late-term abortions don’t actually occur for health reasons, and they’re also often repeat abortions. The Guttmacher Institute reported that abortions sought for fetal abnormalities “make up a small minority” abortions in the late-term, and abortions committed to save a mother’s life are even smaller.
Diana Greene Foster, professor at the UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, authored a 2013 Guttmacher Institute study on late-term abortions. FactCheck.org reports: “She said based on limited research and discussions with researchers in the field that abortions for fetal anomaly ‘make up a small minority of later abortions,’ and that those for life endangerment are even harder to characterize.”
This fact has been backed up by former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson and former abortion workers. The documentary “After Tiller” also notes that third trimester abortions were committed on babies who were healthy.
If one thinks that abortionists don’t take full advantage of aborting babies up until the moment of birth, think again. Colorado abortionist Warren Hern does so, and he has committed abortions for reasons beyond health.
While abortion advocates claim that abortion is necessary when the health of the woman is at risk, facts show that late-term abortion is more dangerous for the mother.
Jennifer Morbelli died because of her legal late-term abortion in 2013, at the hands of notorious LeRoy Carhart, who is part of a gruesome industry investigated by Live Action’s Inhuman project. Unfortunately, Carhart has killed many more, as monitored by Operation Rescue. He was subpoened in May 2016 by Congress in relation to an investigation on the harvesting and sale of aborted fetal body parts.
Think of all these babies aborted so late into the mother’s pregnancy. What if that mother had help on just a few more weeks, days, or hours. Would that baby be born alive? We won’t know, thanks to our permissive laws leaving us to be a horrifying minority in the world we live in.
Editor’s Note, 1/26/19: This post was originally published in 2016, and was updated to add information about New York’s abortion law along with updated CDC information.
1/30/19: The claim that the U.S. is one of four nations allowing abortion up to birth was removed in the interest of accuracy.