USA Today “Factcheck” Falsely Claims Abortions Aren’t Legal Up to Birth

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 30, 2020   |   3:34PM   |   Washington, DC

A new USA Today “factcheck” is riddled with errors about state abortion laws and human development.

The news outlet targeted a viral Facebook post about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose name has drawn national attention for his handling of the coronavirus crisis. A year ago, the Democrat governor signed a radical pro-abortion bill into law and then celebrated by lighting up state landmarks in pink.

According to USA Today, the Facebook post states, “Human life is not disposable, said NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, the man who recently signed a bill legalizing abortion up until birth.”

It rated the post “partly false” – even though the law does allow abortions up to birth.

“While it is true that New York’s abortion law allows procedures after 24 weeks, there are rules guiding that procedure: if the fetus is not viable or if the health or life of the mother is at risk. If medical practitioners determine that either of these factors are present, the mother can choose to have an abortion,” the fact check states.

“It is false to state or imply that any abortion can occur in New York ‘up until birth’ as the social posts claims. That is misleading,” it continues.

The Facebook post did not say “any” abortion, but the law has such broad exceptions that basically any abortion is allowed.

As the USA Today article itself states, the New York law “allows practitioners to perform an abortion on a patient who is 24 weeks or more away from the start of a pregnancy if the fetus is not viable or the abortion is necessary ‘to protect the patient’s life or health.’” However, “the law does not define ‘health’ or viability of a fetus,” according to the article. Instead, it leaves the determination up to the abortionist.

The term “health” in abortion laws has been broadly interpreted by courts to include “age, economic, social and emotional factors.” Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino recently explained just how easy it is to take advantage of such wide exceptions.

“As a former abortionist, I vividly remember a 17-year-old patient who presented requesting her fifth abortion,” Levatino said. “She unequivocally stated that she wanted the abortion so she would not be pregnant for her senior prom. … I could have justified that abortion to promote her social health.”

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Another problem with the New York law is that it defines a person as a “human being who has been born and is alive.” In doing so, it strips away all legal protections for babies before birth.

The law also repealed the state fetal homicide law, which provided justice for mothers and unborn babies who were victims of non-abortion violence. Barely a month after the law passed, a Queens woman and her unborn baby were brutally murdered. Later, the district attorney said they could not pursue fetal homicide charges against the man accused of murdering them because the fetal homicide law “was repealed by the legislature.”

The fact-checker was not just wrong about New York. It added, “Additionally, no state in the U.S. allows abortion ‘up until birth.’”

To the contrary, some states do not have any restrictions on abortion. Abortion facilities in Colorado and New Mexico, for example, where abortions are legal without restriction through all nine months of pregnancy, openly advertise third-trimester abortions.

A recently surfaced video of late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd shows him admitting to aborting unborn babies up to birth at his New Mexico abortion facility. In the video, Boyd said his abortion facility does third-trimester abortions. When asked how late in the gestational age he is willing to do abortions, Boyd replied, “There’s no set period.”

While it’s true that most abortions happen prior to viability, data suggests thousands of viable unborn babies are legally aborted in the U.S. each year. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group considered to have the most comprehensive abortion numbers, reported an estimated 926,200 abortions in 2014. Most researchers on the issue estimate about 1 percent of abortions are late-term, so that would be more than 9,000 potentially viable late-term unborn babies aborted in one year.

The fact check had another problem, too.

Perhaps it was just sloppy reporting, but USA Today made a blatant error about viability. According to the fact checker, “Typically, pregnancies range from 38 to 42 weeks and babies are considered viable at 37 weeks.”

Viability — the point at which a baby can survive outside the womb with medical care — is much, much earlier and has been for years. Growing research indicates premature babies can survive outside the womb as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy. The research recently prompted the British Association of Medicine to issue new guidelines encouraging medical treatment for babies born at just 22 weeks of pregnancy. Previously, the guidelines did not recommend treatment until 24 weeks.

The fact-checker may have meant 37 weeks is considered to be a full-term pregnancy, but that is not what it said.