Abortion activists say late-term abortions are rare in the United States and only performed in serious medical circumstances. But in doing so, they are denying data and personal accounts from their own sources.
Former Planned Parenthood director-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson confirmed that late-term abortions “happen regularly” in the U.S.
“Do elective abortions take place through the 9th month of pregnancy? The unfortunate and horrifying answer is yes. We must work to end these barbaric practices and truly care for mothers and their children,” Johnson wrote in a column for the Independent Journal Review.
These abortions can be performed for the “life or health” of the mother. What this means is that a late-term abortion can be provided for any reason, as long as the abortionist checks a box on her chart stating it was affecting her “life or health.” No documentation of proof is required.
According to several former late term abortion clinic workers who have come through my organization And Then There Were None, approximately 50% of 3rd trimester abortions are performed on healthy babies. In my own personal experience, we often referred women to late-term abortion providers who were pregnant with healthy babies, but they wanted the abortion because they had either just broken up with the baby’s father, lost their job, or something similar.
The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood, reported 1.3 percent of abortions in 2012 were performed at 21 weeks or later. The percentage may seem small, but, with an estimate 1 million-plus abortions performed that year, 1.3 percent represents thousands of unborn babies’ lives.
Many estimate the number of late-term abortions a year is about 18,000. Research from the CDC corroborates those numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, which has a long-standing history of under-reporting the total number of abortions in the United States because it doesn’t get numbers from every state (including the largest state, California), 9,709 abortions were done at 18-20 weeks and 7,325 abortions were done on babies older than 21 weeks.
In New York alone, more than 2,600 abortions were done in one year on babies older than 21 weeks and more than 1,000 late-term abortions were done on babies in Georgia. Hundreds of abortions are done on unborn babies older than 21 weeks in Colorado, Ohio, Washington, New Jersey and Texas, according to the CDC data.
National Right to Life Legislative Director Douglas Johnson has more information on how many abortion clinics do these kinds of abortions:
A 2008 study, “Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005,” released by the Guttmacher Institute (which was originally founded as a special affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, currently the nation’s largest abortion provider) found that, in 2005, there were at least 1,787 abortion providers in the United States. Of the 1,787 providers, the study found that “[t]wenty percent of providers offered abortions after 20 weeks [LMP], and only 8% at 24 weeks [LMP]…” This translates to at least 300 abortion providers who will perform abortions after 20 weeks LMP and around 140 willing to perform abortions at 24 weeks LMP.
Abortion activists and practitioners also have admitted that a majority of late-term abortions are not performed for medical reasons.
Abortion practitioner Martin Haskell, who is credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion method, 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….”
And back in 1997, Ron Fitzsimmons, the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted that he once lied about late-term, partial-birth abortions being rare, according to the New York Times. Fitzsimmons said late-term abortions were performed far more often than his colleagues acknowledged and on healthy women and healthy babies.