Late-Term Abortion Must Stop in the US

Katie Yoder,

Many in the media argue that there’s no such thing as late-term abortion. But a new report confirms that thousands of unborn babies – at or past 21 weeks gestation – are destroyed in abortion each year.

On November 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its latest annual Abortion Surveillance report detailing U.S. abortion data for the years 2017 and 2018. That data revealed that 1 percent of reported abortions in 2018 were performed at or after 21 weeks gestation. While 1 percent might sound small, that figure translates to thousands of late-term abortions.

And, as the pro-life movement knows, even one abortion is too many.

The CDC counted a total of 5,341 abortions that were performed at or after 21 weeks gestation in 2018. That’s an increase from last year, where the CDC documented 5,299 abortions occurring at or after 21 weeks gestation.

These numbers are likely higher – by the thousands. While the CDC requests abortion data from 52 regions (50 states, Washington, D.C., and New York City), their participation is voluntary. The CDC organized abortions by known weeks of gestation with information from only 42 areas. In 2018, 10 regions – California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, and Wyoming – did not report, did not report by gestational age, or did not meet reporting standards. The year before, the data again came from 42 areas, with one difference: 2017 included data from Rhode Island, but excluded data from New York State.

Every abortion intentionally – and violently – destroys an innocent human life. Late-term abortion demonstrates this in a more obvious way by threatening unborn babies who are old enough to survive outside the womb.

Even mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times as far back as 2015, have reported on studies finding that “Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated.” And when they do, the media celebrate them.

Diana Peguero recently made headlines as the smallest baby to be born at Orlando Health medical center in Florida – and survive.

Born at 22 weeks and 4 days, Diana arrived on Mother’s Day weighing just 12 ounces. Because of her size, doctors guessed that she may have been even younger.

“So if you take how we think that she was probably less than 22 weeks and you add the fact that she was 12 ounces, I will say that the outcomes of survival were extremely rare for her,” Dr. Thais Queliz, a neonatologist, said in an Orlando Health video.

After spending six months in the NICU, Diana now weighs a whopping 7 pounds. Her mother, 26-year-old Jomary Tavarez, couldn’t believe how tiny her daughter originally appeared.

“She looks small (in the photos), but nothing compares to seeing her in person,” she said. “It was the smallest human I’ve ever seen. It was incredible. I couldn’t believe that she was moving and she was alive.”

And yet, unborn babies that are Diana’s age can be aborted in the U.S. It’s only one of seven countries that allows elective abortions past 20 weeks, according to Charlotte Lozier Institute numbers that the Washington Post supports.

But pro-life leaders and doctors agree that late-term abortions – or later abortions – are medically unnecessary.

Last year, Lila Rose, the president of pro-life organization Live Action, partnered Dr. Mary Davenport, an OB/GYN, to argue against late-term abortions.

“There is no medical situation in which late abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother,” they wrote in a piece published by the Federalist. If there’s a serious pregnancy complication, the “pregnancy can be ended by inducing labor or delivering the baby via C-section.”

And if the unborn baby is diagnosed with a lethal birth defect, he or she “can be given perinatal hospice care instead of aborted,” which “involves continuing the pregnancy until labor begins and giving birth normally to the baby.”

Dr. Grazie P. Christie, a policy advisor for the Catholic Association and an EWTN radio host, likewise stressed last year that late-term abortion “is never medically necessary.”

“As a physician, I can tell you with perfect confidence that if a woman – a pregnant woman’s health is endangered in the third trimester, there is never a reason to stop the child’s heart with an injection and dismember the child on the way out,” she said in a video posted to social media.

Instead, “there is always the possibility of delivering the child immediately, through a live birth, or a C-section,” she said.

In agreement, Dr. Christina Francis, an OB/GYN and chair of the board of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, also urged against late-term abortions.

“There are certainly circumstances in which a pregnancy needs to be terminated early, but terminated in the sense of just separating mom from baby and that can be done very safely through an early delivery, in most cases,” she said in 2019, while speaking as a guest on The World and Everything in It. “But, when you are past the point of viability, which currently is at about 22 weeks gestation, then there’s never a need to kill that baby to save the mother’s life.”

The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, suggested that women may not be choosing late-term abortions out of fear for their lives or because of fetal abnormalities.

“Reporting on the results of a study of late-term abortions in 2013 (Foster, Kimport) in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,” the institute reported, “the authors acknowledge that ‘data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.’”

The complexities don’t end there. When it comes to late-term abortion, even the terminology is disputed. Many in the media say there’s no such thing as “late-term abortion” because the phrase isn’t “medical” – although media have readily used that exact term in the past.

But one thing seems clear: unborn babies who are the exact same age as born babies are still perishing in abortion.

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