Thanks to the final presidential debate, late term abortion has been a crazy-hot topic. There has been a lot of speculation on the issue in days since. Conservatives argue that abortion by any other name is murder. Liberals taunt around the “women’s body, women’s choice” argument. Despite their good intentions, both Republicans and Democrats seem to be pushing rhetoric. Republicans seem to have inflated the number of late-term abortions that actually occur. Democrats have largely ignored the cruelty behind this procedure. Late term abortion is a real issue, and you should know the facts before engaging in debate.
1) Late term abortion is not actually a medical term. It simply refers to abortions performed after 20 weeks of gestation. Often times refers to abortions performed after or near the age of viability. This means after the child would be able to survive outside it’s mothers womb, despite pre-mature birth.
2) At only 20 weeks old, a child in the womb weighs around 10 ounces. The child is approximately 10 inches from head to heel. A baby at 20 weeks gestation has a heartbeat, eyelids, fingerprints, and is able to swallow, move their joints, hiccup, yawn, and suck their thumb. They are also able to make facial expressions such as squinting, smiling, and frowning.
3) Abortions performed after the 20 week mark most commonly use the dilation and evacuation, or D&E procedure. These surgical techniques are quite gruesome. They entail crushing, dismembering, and then removing a fetus’s body from the woman’s uterus. In some cases, especially when the fetus is at a more viable stage of development, a lethal injection is administered to the child to assure it is not pulled out alive or with the ability to survive.
4) In 43 states, abortion is prohibited after a certain stage of the pregnancy (typically around 24 weeks gestation) with some exceptions for rape, incest, and the mother’s life. In the remaining 7 states, there are no restrictions on age at all; abortion procedures may occur up until the moment of birth.
5) Despite the exception made “to save the mother’s life,” most medical technicians agree that with our advances in technology and medicine, it is no longer necessary to abort a child to spare the life of it’s mother. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino even explains, in this video, that in cases where the mother’s life was at risk, he saved them not by aborting babies, but by delivering them.
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6) Another abortion procedure, known as partial-birth abortion, is when the fetus is partially delivered, then aborted before fully exiting the mother’s body. Federal law bans these procedures only on federal property such as at a military hospital, and only 19 states have banned the practice entirely, leaving 31 states in which partial-birth abortions can be performed.
7) Approximately 1.5% of abortions occur after 21 weeks, while 8% of abortion service providers will perform abortions at 24 weeks. However, it has been reported that in 2011, 1.06 million abortions were performed in the United States. When you break it down, 1.5% of 1.06 million amounts to 15,900 abortions after the 20th week.
Image Credits: Kate Rabenaldt