Little is known about how many babies survive abortions – and how many are left to die without medical care – every year in the United States because few states keep track of such things.
But some do, and new data from Minnesota suggests dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of babies may survive abortions across the country.
According to the latest abortion report from the Minnesota Department of Health, five babies were born alive in abortions in the state in 2021.
Those five babies were out of 10,136 total abortions. Past abortion reports since 2015 show similar numbers: approximately 10,000 abortions with three to five abortion survivors annually. If the rates are similar in other states, that means hundreds of babies may survive abortions in America every year.
The Minnesota report provides a few clues about the five babies in 2021; none survived.
According to the report:
- In one instance, fetal anomalies were reported resulting in death shortly after delivery. No measures taken to preserve life were reported and the infant did not survive.
- In two instance, comfort care measures were provided as planned and the infant did not survive.
- In two instances, the infant was previable. No measures taken to preserve life were reported and the infant did not survive.
The report mentions “previable” with two of the babies, raising questions about whether the other three babies were viable. It does not mention their gestational ages.
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According to the report, Minnesota abortion facilities reported 159 abortions between 21-24 weeks and one abortion between 25-30 weeks gestation in 2021. That is as many as 160 potentially viable, late-term babies.
Minnesota does require abortion facilities to provide life-saving medical care to babies who survive abortions under its 2015 Born Alive Infants Protection Act. According to the law, “… reasonable measures consistent with good medical practice shall be taken by the responsible medical personnel to preserve the life and health of the born alive infant.”
But it is not clear from the report what “comfort care” means or if the babies received the life-saving care that the law requires.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the personal testimonies of nurses and abortion survivors themselves, also provide evidence that babies survive abortions. According to the CDC, at least 143 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2003 and 2014 in the U.S., though there likely are more.
Between 2016 and 2018, three states reported 40 babies were born alive after botched abortions. According to the state health data, 11 babies were born alive in Minnesota, 10 in Arizona and 19 in Florida. Texas reported six babies were born alive in botched abortions in 2019. In Michigan, state health reports from 2008 through 2013 indicate that 11 babies were born alive after abortions.
For the past several years, Republicans in Congress have been trying to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would increase protections for babies who survive abortions. The bill would require that the same basic medical care be provided to babies who survive abortions as would be provided to any other baby born at the same gestational age. It also would impose penalties on medical workers who neglect to provide that care. However, Democrat leaders have blocked the legislation dozens of times.
A recent report by Tessa Longbons, a research associate at Charlotte Lozier Institute, found that protections for babies who survive abortions are inconsistent across the United States, with fewer than half of states maintaining sufficient protections.
Reports from other countries prove that babies survive abortions, too, and legal protections for them are needed. In Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health Information recorded 766 late-term, live-birth abortions over a five-year period in 2018. And in Australia, the country’s health minister admitted that 27 babies survived abortions in the state of Western Australia between 1999 and 2016. A report out of Ireland also suggests babies are surviving abortions and being left to die there.