The Myths About Late Term Abortion

Once again, Republicans are trying to please their base by demagoguery over, (their terms), partial birth abortion or late term abortion.

I know it is a favorite of political points but the whole debate is filled with inaccuracies and intentional political firebranding.

Let’s go back to 2016 and a debate between Trump and Clinton where the subject came up. Chris Wallace of Fox News was the moderator and he asked the question of Sec. Clinton: Why did you vote against a ban on late-term, partial-birth abortions?

Clinton’s immediate response pointed out that 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. That was the correct and legal answer to that question but of course for conservatives it was not acceptable.

We then proceeded into an ignorance fest.

Trump, for example, suggested that you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day.

There actually is a medical procedure that fits that description although with less demagogic terms…it is called a Cesarean section. A procedure that accounts for almost a third of all births and is done safely for both mother and child in a hospital.

This idea of a late term abortion (generally considered to be after 24 weeks) has been politicized and sensationalized. There really is no such thing as a ninth month abortion. Those who seek late-term abortions are seeking them before a pregnancy reaches full term but often and unfortunately after they have discovered in the second or third trimester some problem with the fetus or danger to the mother.

As noted by medical experts:

 “Partial birth” is a political, not medical term, and it does not refer to all late-term abortions. It refers to a very specific and rare procedure called dilation and extraction, in which a fetus is partially pulled through the birth canal and then aborted, nearly always when the fetus cannot live outside the womb and typically when the mother’s health is in danger, the fetus has a serious abnormality, or both. Such a procedure is not conducted lightly: the fetus has a fatal defect and will not survive, or the mother is at risk of death herself.

Interesting. The mother is at risk. It would seem that Republican arguments about these procedures almost never mention the mother’s situation. It is almost as if she does not exist. Is she merely some incubator for someone else? Is her life of lesser value than a non-sentient fetus?

It is worth noting that in the Trump vs Clinton debate on this subject, only Clinton gave correct and factual information. The moderator used all the politically charged words and Trump was just talking nonsense.

Nobody bothers to mention that this procedure takes place in just 0.2% of all abortions.

Clinton addressed it this way:

“The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make,” Clinton said at the debate. “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.”

Hmmmm….family decision. Heartbraking. Terrible. Yes, all of that. This is not some form of birth control. A mother who carries a child for 9 months doesn’t just suddenly decide to abort. She only does so when a doctor says their is no other choice. Either the fetus has already died, or the situation is going to kill the mother without this procedure. This is NOT a political decision. It is  the decision of the family, the mother, and her doctor. The Federal government doesn’t decide. The State government doesn’t decide. Their religion does not decide. This is personal and oh so terrible.

When it was Trump’s chance to respond, his answer went far afield of any medical procedures that actually take place in the real world:

Well, I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”

Ignorance. Political theatre. Trump was just flat out wrong. Hillary corrected the response, but of course, the “rip the baby out” language did its work. That is the language they use to try and turn a horrible tragedy into some kind of crime.

Politics should have nothing to do with this. This is about family and about science and medicine.

Republicans have resorted to this as part of their fear mongering political strategy. We can’t allow this tragedy turned into political talking point type of argument to continue.

Nobody is “for”, this language inflammatory term, “partial birth abortion”. We are for the legality of abortion as a woman’s right to choose…and for her own safety when necessary.

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