Most Late-Term Abortions Are Not Done for Medical Reasons

by James Agresti/LifeNews.com

In a house editorial about an Arizona law that restricts abortions after 18 weeks, the editors of the New York Times assert that “the overwhelming number of abortions occur well before 20 weeks; later abortions mostly often involve severely troubled pregnancies that pose risks to a woman’s health or life.”

This allegation that abortions after 20 weeks are mostly performed for medical reasons has long been discredited by the public disclosures of abortion providers. The salient facts are documented in Just Facts’ research on partial-birth abortion and are summarized below.

Before being banned in 2003, the partial-birth procedure was a preferred method for performing abortions after 20 weeks (see picture on right at this stage of pregnancy). This procedure gained prominence in the early 1990s through Dr. Martin Haskell, who is credited with inventing it. In a 1993 interview with American Medical News, Haskell said:

I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range…. In my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons. And the other 80% are purely elective….

After this statement was published in a U.S. Congressional report, proponents of legalized abortion adamantly contested it:

• The American Civil Liberties Union, National Organization for Women, People For the American Way, and 50 other organizations sent a joint letter to Congress stating that partial-birth abortions were “most often performed” in cases “of severe fetal anomalies or a medical condition that threatens the pregnant woman’s life or health.”

• Planned Parenthood issued a press release asserting that partial-birth abortions are performed “only in cases when the woman’s life is in danger or in cases of extreme fetal abnormality.”

• The executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers appeared on ABC’s Nightline and stated that partial-birth abortions were done only in extreme situations of danger to a woman’s life and fetal anomalies.

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