Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as late-term abortion
February 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The abortion lobby was already less-than thrilled that loose-lipped Virginia politicians provoked a renewed conversation about late-term abortion, and then President Donald Trump went and used his State of the Union address to amplify the spotlight even more.
All of this talk of killing viable children who are largely indistinguishable from newborns was undermining pro-aborts’ preferred narrative that abortions are almost never done on recognizable babies, and when they are it’s only in response to some nightmarish medical emergency. So in an attempt to cast themselves in a better light, they’ve resorted to one of their most time-tested strategies: lying.
Specifically, multiple articles and tweets have popped up (entirely coincidentally, I’m sure) preaching the same line: that “late-term abortion” is somehow medically inaccurate. Yes, really.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists health policy VP Dr. Barbara Levy and Physicians for Reproductive Health fellow Dr. Jennifer Conti told CNN that late-term abortion is “medically inaccurate and has no clinical meaning” and an “invention of anti-abortion extremists to confuse, mislead and increase stigma,” respectively. Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an abortionist and pro-abortion writer who bills herself as “the Internet’s OB/GYN,” claims anyone who uses “late-term abortion” is either illiterate or a liar:
New York Times “health and science” writer Pam Belluck says “(l)ate-term abortion is a phrase used by abortion opponents to refer to abortions performed after about 21 weeks of pregnancy. It is not the same as the medical definition obstetricians use for ‘late-term,’ which refers to pregnancies that extend past a woman’s due date, meaning about 41 or 42 weeks.”
For good measure, Kaiser Health News rounded up these and other headlines in a Thursday morning briefing titled, “‘Late-Term Abortion’ Is Medically Inaccurate And Has No Clinical Meaning. Here’s What Else Experts Say Trump Got Wrong About The Issue.”
Pro-abortion propagandists have practically elevated nonsensical talking points to an art form, but this one is in a league of its own. Whether “late-term abortion” is a medical term or not has absolutely nothing to do with any of the factual elements of the abortions we’re talking about, or the substantive questions of the debate we’re having.
As should be so obvious that part of me can’t believe pro-aborts are making it necessary to write this, “late-term abortion” simply denotes abortions that are committed late in a pregnancy. In the context of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would mean past 20 weeks or five months; in the context of the abortion bills pushed in New York, Virginia, and elsewhere, it would refer to abortions in the third trimester.
“Late-term abortion” is an easily understandable, perfectly reasonable layman’s term to capture the concept; it’s also worth noting that it’s a pretty value-neutral term too (certainly more so than “dismemberment” or “partial-birth” abortion, which liberals also throw a fit about), making it all the more remarkable that pro-aborts are petty and desperate enough to try to stigmatize it.
Indeed, for a perfect example of just how insincere all of this is, just consider Dr. Conti’s preferred alternative: “The appropriate language is ‘abortions later in pregnancy.’” If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out a meaningful difference between “late-term abortion” and “abortion later in pregnancy,” you’re not alone.
Late-term abortion’s defenders point to 2015 CDC data finding that just 1.3 percent of abortions are performed past 21 weeks in a year. What they don’t point out is that 1.3 percent of 638,169 reported abortions is still more than 8,200 dead babies, and that federal abortion statistics are woefully incomplete; the CDC doesn’t get any abortion data from California, Maryland, or New Hampshire, meaning the actual numbers of both overall and late-term abortions are much higher.
The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute notes that the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute puts its most recent annual U.S. abortion estimate at 926,200. “Even using the low estimate of 1.3 percent from the CDC, that translates into an estimated 12,040 late-term abortions in that year,” it writes. “This exceeds the number of deaths due to homicides by firearm in 2013.” And we all know what liberals think about that number of gun deaths.
As for whether late-term abortions are done out of medical necessity, pro-aborts are pulling a bait-and-switch. As pro-life OB/GYN Dr. William Lile and reformed ex-abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino have explained, it’s sometimes necessary to deliver a baby early, but losing a child as an unintended side effect of life-saving treatment is very different from intentionally applying lethal force to the child in an abortion.
Lozier cites another reason to doubt this persistent narrative, in the form of a 2013 study published in the Guttmacher journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. After comparing 272 women who aborted after 20 weeks with 169 who aborted before 20 weeks, they admitted that the “data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” The typical reasons for most abortions – financial concerns, aversion to single motherhood, etc. – largely applied to late-term abortions, as well.
It would be naïve to infer from all this that pro-aborts are losing in any meaningful sense; their greatest assets remain judicial insulation of their policies and the media’s assistance in changing the subject. But pro-life politicians should take this as a reminder of how weak pro-aborts know their own arguments are, and aggressively dismantling them is sure to reap dividends in the eyes of any fence-sitters paying attention.