Clearing Up “Late Stage” Abortion

During President Trump’s State of the Union address, he called attention to a newly passed New York law that secures a women’s right to get an abortion during the fetal viability stage (between 21-36 weeks). The President opened this claim stating that the law would allow “a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.” The reality of this law is far different than what Trump has made it out to be.

What This Law Does:

While Roe v. Wade did establish the right of U.S citizens to receive an abortion, the Supreme Court ruled that states could set cutoff dates during the fetal viability stage(the period where a baby can survive outside the womb)unless the procedure was “necessary, in appropriate medical judgement.” According to the Guttmacher Institute, this ruling has allowed 43 states to set limits on when an abortion is allowed. In the case of New York, patients are now allowed to receive an abortion during most of the third trimester.

As for President Trump’s claim that this law would allow for an abortion during the birthing process, that is false. In an interview with the Washington Post, Physicians for Reproductive Health fellow Jenn Conti stated that patients“ in the middle of giving birth” could not receive an abortion, adding, “that’s not how medical care works.”

Why Seek A Late Term Abortion?

According to the Guttmacher Institute, around 1.3 percent of abortions occur past the 21-week mark. Those that do happen occur for a variety of untracked reasons. Doctor Diana Greene Forester,a professor at UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, claims that there is a lack of data regarding the percentage of abortions that are obtained“ for medical reasons.”A 2018 report by doctors Foster and Katrina Kimport, which included interviews with 28 women regarding their procedures, revealed that most of the participants were lacking data about extreme fetal abnormalities (potentially fatal for the mother, child or both) in the earlier stages of pregnancy.

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