FALSE: Hillary Clinton Falsely Claims Partial-Birth Abortions are Needed to Protect a Woman’s Health

National   Micaiah Bilger   Oct 20, 2016   |   5:36PM    Washington, DC

Pro-abortion Democrat Hillary Clinton made a false appeal to compassion during Tuesday night’s presidential debate when she said she supports late-term abortions in cases that protect a woman’s life or health.

On its surface, the position may seem reasonable to some Americans, but a closer look reveals that Clinton’s position on late-term abortions is actually quite extreme. Medical professionals and research do not support Clinton’s claims that women only have late-term abortions in cases of medical necessity. Nor is there support for her claims that intentionally aborting an unborn child is medically necessary to protect a woman’s health or life.

The issue came up when debate moderator Chis Wallace asked Clinton this question: “You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial-birth abortions. Why?”

And here is Clinton’s response:

Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case.

The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who, toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and health of the mother taken into account.

Later, when Republican Donald Trump exposed the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion, Clinton responded:

Well, that is not what happens in these cases and using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I’ve met with – women I’ve known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it.

There are multiple problems with Clinton’s statements.

Late-term and partial-birth abortions are not reserved only for the “heartbreaking” cases of medical necessity, as Clinton claimed. Even the non-partisan Fact Check.org rated Clinton’s statement as false.

The fact checker cited a study from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group, as evidence that women do have late-term abortions for non-medical reasons. The study found that “[i]n many ways, women who had later abortions were similar to those who obtained first-trimester procedures.”

Abortion practitioner Martin Haskell, who is credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion method, even admitted that most of his patients had late-term abortions for “purely elective” reasons.

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….”

Other abortion practitioners have made similar statements.

The Association of Pro-Life Physicians reports that intentionally killing an unborn child in an abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life or health either.

According to the physicians group:

When the life of the mother is truly threatened by her pregnancy, if both lives cannot simultaneously be saved, then saving the mother’s life must be the primary aim.  If through our careful treatment of the mother’s illness the pre-born patient inadvertently dies or is injured, this is tragic and, if unintentional, is not unethical and is consistent with the pro-life ethic.  But the intentional killing of an unborn baby by abortion is never necessary.

Most of what passes as a therapeutic, or medically-necessary abortion, is not necessary at all to save the mother’s life.  For example, if a mother has breast cancer and requires immediate chemotherapy to survive that can kill the baby, the physician will frequently recommend a therapeutic abortion.  Another example: if a mother has life-threatening seizures that can only be controlled by medication that will kill or severely deform her unborn child, the physician will frequently prescribe a therapeutic abortion.  In both of these cases, the abortion is not necessary to protect the mother’s health.  The necessary medication may injure or kill the pre-born child, but this is no justification for intentionally killing the child.  If the child is injured or dies from the medication prescribed to the mother to save her life, the injury was unintentional and, if truly medically necessary, not unethical.

Hillary Clinton’s radical pro-abortion position would make a little sense if abortions were genuinely necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. They do not. They have one purpose — the destruction of an unborn child.

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