Late Term Abortions Only Happen When…

In late summer, we asked our volunteers and social media followers what tools would be helpful to them. The overwhelming response was, “a cheat sheet or script” for life-affirming conversations.

This is the first of Good Answer! Each month (and maybe more frequently), we’ll give you a response you can use when life topics come up in conversation. As you know, life issues are complicated. The reply will be simple, but will always include a link for anyone who needs more factual support.

When you hear…

“Late term abortions only happen when the mother’s life is endangered.”

You say…

“I can’t imagine having to choose between and mother’s life and that of her child. That is not the only time they happen, though. Planned Parenthood’s website says teenagers are more likely to have late term abortions.

“There are many reasons they delay abortion: they are in denial, afraid of what their parents will say, think having a baby will stabilize a relationship…and sometimes they don’t even realize they are pregnant until after the first trimester.

“Want to know more? I can send you a link.”

The link leads to this information:

True or False: “Late term abortions only happen when the mother’s life is endangered.”

Answer: False. Planned Parenthood’s website reports that teenagers are more likely to have late term abortions.

The most common reasons why adolescents delay abortion until after the first trimester include fear of parents’ reaction, denial of pregnancy, and prolonged fantasies that having a baby will result in a stable relationship with their partners (Paul et al., 2009). In addition, adolescents may have irregular periods (Friedman et al., 1998), making it difficult for them to detect pregnancy. One study found that teens took a week longer to suspect pregnancy than adults did; teens also took more time to confirm their pregnancies with a pregnancy test (Finer et al, 2006). Also, delays are often caused by state laws requiring parental consent or court authorized bypass for minors.

Additional reasons women have late term abortion include limited access to abortionists willing to perform late-term procedures, financial, state restrictions, partner violence or absence, lack of emotional support.

Statistics on Late-Term Abortions

According to Planned Parenthood’s website approximately 1.4% of all abortions occur at or after 21 weeks. In 2016, there were 623,471 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 48 reporting areas {New York City and 47 states, excluding CA, DC, MD, and NH} indicating that approximately 8,729 babies died after 21 weeks by Late-Term Abortion.

Availability of Late-Term Abortions:

Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton declared abortion is legal all 9 months of pregnancy, but Casey vs. Planned Parenthood affirmed state rights to regulate abortion. Seven states allow abortion up until the moment of birth for any reason with no restrictions at all. Most states restrict abortion at 22 weeks, or at viability (which is the same period of time). Internationally, only 5 of the 198 countries permit elective abortion after 24 weeks, 3 of the 5 nations that permit late abortion are notorious human rights abusers.

Cost of Late-Term Abortions

The median charge for an abortion at 20 weeks was $1,350. (Jerman, J. (2014). Secondary Measures of Access to Abortion Services in the United States, 2011 and 2012: Gestational Age Limits, Cost, and Harassment. Women’s Health Issues, 24(4), E419-E424. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/

j.whi.2014.05.002.pdf

Late-Term Abortion Testimony:

Kelly Stauffer – https://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/testimonies/testimony.aspx?ID=1709

Pastoral Issues Associated with Late-Term Abortions

Research in the last 10 years has found that babies in the womb feel pain, which has led to state legislation requiring doctors to offer anesthesia for the baby to mothers prior to the abortion procedure. The publicity around these laws has caused some women who have had Late-Term abortions a great deal of anxiety as they realize their child’s death was painful. These women need encouragement to attend an abortion after-care program to help them with their grief.

We have also found women who have Late-Term abortions due to negative diagnosis for the baby or mother, often struggle with extended grief as they often wanted this child and have bonded with the baby already. They too need additional care and counsel to properly grieve. Baptizing the baby, and proper burials can go along way in helping these families heal.

Late-Term Abortion Methods:

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

Once the cervix is dilated considerably farther than in first trimester abortions, the abortionist inserts a narrow forceps that resembles a pliers. This instrument is needed because the baby’s bones are calcified, as is the skull. The abortionist inserts the instrument into the uterus, seizes a leg or other part of the body and, with a twisting motion, tears it from the baby’s body. The spine is snapped, and the skull crushed. Body parts are then reassembled and counted to make certain that the entire baby has been removed and that no parts remain in the womb.[1][2][3][4]

Induction or Prostaglandin Abortion

Labor is induced using prostaglandin drugs, and the cervix is dilated. To ensure the baby will be dead upon delivery and to start uterine contractions, the abortionist may inject saline (salt water) or urea (a substance found naturally in urine and blood). To guarantee against a live birth and legal complications, doctors will inject the drug Digoxin or potassium chloride directly into the baby’s heart to kill the child before delivery. Other times the baby is delivered alive and left without medical intervention until he or she dies.[5] This method is used in the second or third trimester.[6]

Dilation and Extraction (D&X)

After the mother undergoes two days of dilation, the abortionist performs an ultrasound to locate the child’s legs and feet. The abortionist then uses a large forceps to grasp one of the baby’s legs. He pulls firmly, forcing the child into a feet-down position. Using his hands instead of forceps, the abortionist delivers the baby’s body in a manner similar to a breech birth. The baby’s head remains inside the birth canal. The abortionist uses surgical scissors to pierce the child’s head at the base of the skull. The scissors are forced open to enlarge the skull opening. The abortionist then inserts a suction catheter into the brain and vacuum out the child’s brain tissue with a machine 29 times more powerful than a household vacuum.[7]

Quote from Physician about Late Term Abortions

Doctor and Kansas Congressman Roger W. Marshall is a physician who has delivered 5,000 babies and spent 30 years caring for expecting mothers and guiding families through pregnancy. He stated in an Op-Ed published by Fox News in February 2019,

“The late-term abortion process that New York passed into law is inhumane, for both the child and the mother. The further along in a pregnancy, the more risk from complications come with an abortion procedure.

“In a late-term abortion, a mother is at higher risk for uterine perforation and incomplete separation of the placenta – and thus, life-threatening hemorrhaging that can occur, potentially resulting in the death of many mothers.

“Late-term abortions also have high risk of permanent scarring, and the possibility of an infection of the uterus and surrounding organs, which often leads to infertility. Point blank, late-term abortions are unsafe and are more dangerous than naturally occurring childbirth in almost any situation.

“In both the New York and the proposed Virginia bills, mental health is listed as a reason to allow for a late-term and partial-birth abortion if the mother is experiencing mental or emotional distress.

“First off, pregnancy triggers some type of emotional distress in almost every patient. But more importantly, I also served as an OB-GYN to a state mental health hospital and prison, where I would see moms who were struggling with the worst of the worst of untreated mental health issues.

“To this day, I can’t think of a single scenario where I thought a late-term abortion would help to improve a woman’s mental health.”


[1] Ibid

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] United States. Cong. House. U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN HR 1797, Pain – Capable Unborn Child Protection Act U.S. House Committee the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice May 23, 2013. 113th Cong. H. Bill. Print.

[6] “Abortion-Choices: Surgical Abortion”. WebMD. WebMD, 4 June 2014. web

[7] “Abortion Procedures During First, Second, and Third Trimester”. American Pregnancy Association. May 2015. Web.


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