At this week’s presidential debate, the final debate of the election, abortion became the hot-button issue after Donald Trump talked about late-term and partial-birth abortion (full transcript here). Hillary Clinton acknowledged that she voted against a federal partial-birth abortion ban, explaining, “Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case.” Trump responded by denouncing these late-term abortions.
Well, I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.
Now, you can say that that’s OK and Hillary can say that that’s OK. But it’s not OK with me, because based on what she’s saying, and based on where she’s going, and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.
The pro-abortion media immediately seized the chance to condemn his statement. Vox offered a “fact-check” that had no basis in reality, saying that abortions don’t take place in the ninth month of pregnancy. The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, likewise denied that late-term abortions take place. The reality, of course, is that seven states allow abortion up until the final day of pregnancy. The United States is one of only four countries to allow abortion up until birth for any reason. Most of these abortions are performed on healthy babies — not because the mother’s health is at risk, or because the baby has been diagnosed with an abnormality, birth defect, or disability.
Strangely, while some pro-abortion activists rushed to deny that these late-term abortions happen, others came forward to talk about their examples. Despite the fact that, as previously stated, most late-term abortions are performed on healthy babies, most of these women talked about how they underwent a second- or third-trimester abortion after receiving a prenatal diagnosis of a disability or birth defect.
One of these stories quickly went viral. Alyson Draper wrote on Facebook that she had a late-term abortion, and urged people to share her story so that abortion would remain legal. This is what she said happened:
I had to have a late term abortion. It was the worst moment in my life. What made it even worse was the State of Utah had made it illegal.
I had one dead twin. The other had severe Spina Bifida. It was so bad that his brain had developed outside his head, and his spine was open clear to the lumbar level. There was ZERO hope, and no medical miracle that could save him. Our dreams were shattered. These twins were from IVF. I was forty, and there would be no more pregnancies.
… The abortion was terrible. It was done very gently, by Caesarean section, leaving the babies in their amniotic sacs. The living baby passed very quickly.
Draper’s heartbreak at losing her babies is palpable. She wrote that she developed PTSD, and it took years for her to recover from the loss. But while Draper’s story is incredibly tragic and sad, it was not an abortion.
In Draper’s case, both babies needed to be removed by caesarean section out of medical necessity. The surviving baby died soon after being born. This is not an abortion. Abortion is the killing of a preborn child before they are born. An early delivery, where the baby dies soon after birth, is not an abortion. As Draper says, the delivery of her babies was very gentle… and unfortunately, late-term abortions are not gentle. They are violent and cruel.
The worst example is perhaps partial-birth abortion. The federal law banning the procedure describes it like this:
The term `partial-birth abortion’ means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.
Now, while there is a federal ban on partial-birth abortions, they still take place. The federal law only bans the procedure on federal properties, such as in military hospitals. Only 19 states have banned the procedure, meaning that it can be performed in any of the other 31 states if the circumstances are right.
More common than partial-birth abortion, however, is induction abortion. Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist, described the procedure in this video:
An induction abortion is a multi-day procedure. On the first day, the abortionist will inject a lethal dose of digoxin through the mother’s belly into her womb, targeting the preborn baby’s head, torso, or heart. If the abortionist misses the baby, and releases the digoxin into the amniotic sac, the baby will likely still die, but it will take longer. The digoxin causes the baby to go into cardiac arrest, and pass away. In addition to the injection of digoxin, the abortionist will insert laminaria sticks, or sterilized seaweed, into the woman’s cervix to begin dilation.
On the second day, the woman will come back for an ultrasound to ensure the baby is dead; if the baby has survived, then the abortionist will inject another shot of digoxin. The abortionist may choose to replace the laminaria if necessary, and give the woman labor-inducing drugs. On the third or fourth day, the woman will return to the abortion facility to deliver her dead baby, although in many cases, she ends up delivering the baby at home or in her hotel room. If the baby does not come out whole, however, the abortion turns into a dilation and evacuation procedure, where the abortionist will use clamps and forceps to dismember the baby and remove him piece by piece.
This is clearly very, very different from what happened to Draper. Draper wrote, “Nobody is tearing babies apart in late term. They are always humanely done, only in situations where there is a non-viable or severely defective fetus and/or the mother’s health is at risk.” But the reality is that late-term abortion is not the same thing as a premature delivery. It is not humane or gentle. And it is also not done most commonly because the baby has a birth defect, and there is also no scenario where abortion would be medically necessary to save the life of the mother.
Don’t let pro-abortion activists distort the facts in order to push their pro-abortion agenda.