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(LifeSiteNews) — We have all seen the murder movies where the intended victim just won’t die. We are seeing it again as the abortion industry tries to deal with its live-birth problem, known to abortionists as “the dreaded complication.”

The abortion industry is pushing for legislation that could protect it from lawsuits or criminal prosecution if the baby dies or is killed after surviving a botched abortion, or for the baby’s injuries if he or she does not die. Colorado, California, and Michigan passed laws this year under the guise of “reproductive health care” that seem to allow the killing or withholding of postnatal medical treatment from born-alive abortion survivors. The death of the child or any injuries from an unsuccessful abortion are euphemistically called a “pregnancy outcome.”

The federal government is no help, as Congress refuses to pass a law protecting born-alive abortion survivors.

Survivors of attempted late term abortions

There are thousands of born-alive abortion survivors each year. The most visible are those who barely escape with their lives after attempted late-term abortions, many with residual health problems. The number of these is at least 17,855 since 1973, according to the Abortion Survivors Network formed in 2012 by saline abortion survivor Melissa Ohden. The actual number is probably much higher since the FDA and most states do not require abortion providers to report live births.

But those are not the only abortion survivors. There are thousands more who survive failed attempted chemical abortions, and more tragically, thousands of babies who survive second-trimester induction abortions each year only to die within a few hours after birth from their injuries, medical neglect, or worse.

Survivors of failed attempted chemical abortions

Chemical abortion survivors may be estimated at 1,200-3,700 each year in the U.S., just counting those who survive failed chemical abortions attempted during the first ten weeks of pregnancy under FDA guidelines.

These are babies born after the drugs fail to do their work and the woman then declines a backup surgical abortion. These estimates are derived from the fact that there were 502,000 chemical abortions in 2020; roughly 5 percent of those were considered “failures” since they involved various complications, and 1.1 percent failed to kill the baby on the first try according to a study reported in the 2013 Contraception International Reproductive Health Journal.

While some of the initial survivors were eventually killed by backup procedures, a September 2021 study published in the journal of Issues in Law & Medicine suggests that between 22 percent and 67 percent of those 1.1 percent survived to be born after their mothers chose to continue the pregnancies when the drugs failed.

But those are just the failed abortions when women follow the FDA and drug manufacturer’s instructions. Abortion drugs are even more likely to fail in other cases, especially with self-managed abortions and cases when women take just one of the two pills recommended, or they take the pills too late in a pregnancy. Failure rates increase dramatically to 38.5  percent in the case of second trimester chemical abortions when gestational age is mis-estimated according to Ingrid Skop, M.D., a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist and fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While not all of those “failures” leave a live baby, and even when they do, the abortionist recommends a backup abortion, it is likely that a large portion of those women choose to keep their baby.

We should not be surprised at all of these chemical abortion failures when we consider the horrendous rates of injuries to the pregnant women themselves, but that is the subject of another article.

Nor should we be surprised that there are so many failed chemical abortions considering the likelihood of mistakes by distressed women coping with traumatic pregnancies. We can even foresee cases where a woman is unknowingly slipped an abortion pill by an unscrupulous boyfriend or family member or where pills are forced upon her in cases of sex trafficking.

Finally, chemical abortion survivors also include babies that are born following successful abortion pill reversal procedures when a pregnant woman changes her mind after taking the first of two recommended abortion pills. A medical protocol for these reversals has developed over the past 15 years or so, with more than 3,500 babies saved according to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

Short-term survivors of second trimester induction abortions

Another, especially tragic, group of abortion survivors is the estimated 1,746–2,787 babies in the U.S. each year that survive just a few minutes or hours after being pulled alive from their mother’s womb in second trimester induction abortions. These numbers are derived from estimates that in 2017 there were more than 5,000 induction abortions, mostly between 20–24 weeks gestation. While information is limited, there are studies to suggest that the abortionists in those cases do not kill the baby before the procedure 69–81 percent of the time, and 50.6 percent of those leave the baby still alive after the procedure for an average of a half hour until it dies from its injuries and/or medical neglect.

Where do we get such gruesome statistics? One source is a 2018 study reported in the journal of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, involving 302 induction abortions between 20 and 24 weeks gestation in Austria, reporting that 80.8 percent of the women after consultation with their doctor chose not to have their baby killed in utero before the procedure and 50.6 percent of the babies in those cases were born alive. Another is a 2018 article in the Contraception Journal indicating that 69 percent of U.S. doctors performing dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions at 18 weeks or greater do not routinely kill the baby preoperatively. 

All of these abortion survivors are a source of potential liability for the abortion industry in post-Roe America, whether they live for minutes, days or years, since most of these children were supposed to be dead and once they are born alive they are considered legal “persons.”

The number of abortion survivors is increasing

Failed chemical abortions are on the rise now as the industry aggressively markets the abortion pill as a preferred method. While only a portion of the failed abortions lead to live births, especially as abortionists generally recommend a second attempt, increasing numbers of failed abortions will certainly lead to more survivors.

Chemical abortion failure rates, and resulting live births, are also likely to increase in the future as the FDA has changed its rules to make chemical abortion pills available without any in-person medical consultation, paving the way for at-home, tele-med abortions, and abortion pills over the internet, including black market pills. Some abortion advocates are even pushing for over-the-counter abortion pills so that no doctor will be involved, continuing the trend of moving abortions from the abortion clinic to the dorm bathroom.

It is easy to see intuitively why so many women who experience failed chemical abortions change their mind afterwards and keep the baby. Reasons for this include medical, emotional, moral, and family considerations, indecision and in some cases state law restrictions. The high number of women choosing to keep their babies after failed abortions is also consistent with studies showing high rates of trauma and regret among post-abortive women in general.

Each of those survivors is a now-living person who, by the grace of God, barely survived poisoning.

Where do we go from here?

The abortion industry’s crusade against abortion survivors is just another step in the anti-life culture as the abortion mentality leads inevitably toward infanticide. But not all news is bad as our country becomes increasingly polarized on the issue of abortion. According to the group Americans United for Life, roughly half of all U.S. states have laws in place now to protect babies born alive after failed abortions, although some offer more robust protection than others.

Abortion survivors are witnesses to the value of every human life, increasingly able to speak out with the help of organizations like the Abortion Survivors Network. Legally, they are significant since the law in America, including the 14th Amendment to our Constitution, has always recognized that all born persons have legal rights, whether they are born after an attempted abortion or born to a loving family.

Abortion survivors should also help focus public attention on the broader fact that birth itself is an arbitrary and false marker of human personhood, highlighting the absurdity of any legal distinction between a born alive abortion survivor and that same baby before it was born.