Unintended Consequences of a ‘Yes’ Vote on Issue One

By: Lisa Murtha

Late term abortion is real, happening nationwide and will likely be prevalent in Ohio if Issue One passes.

In July 2020, the world’s most premature baby to survive outside the womb was born in an Alabama hospital at 21 weeks gestation – one week past the halfway mark in a full term pregnancy. “Survival at this gestational age has never happened before,” a UAB professor in Neonatology noted in a statement to the Guinness Book of World Records. But he was wrong; it had happened once already, four weeks prior, in a Wisconsin hospital, too.

In a field governed by science, it seems unthinkable that both infants, and pre-born babies even older in gestational age, could have been considered targets for abortion, given that there are not one but two living, breathing examples of 21-week viability currently walking around in the world. But abortion without limits has become a topic governed solely by emotion and moral relativism, not logic or fact. One of the most prevalent pieces of “pro-choice” propaganda today is the saying that “late term abortion” isn’t real, but rather a figment of “right wing extremists’” imaginations.

Proponents of enshrining “reproductive rights” into Ohio’s constitution have focused on wordplay to argue that “late term abortion” doesn’t exist because the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines “late term” as the final week of gestation. They focus heavily on the reasons women undergo abortions past fetal viability (especially “social and economic barriers” or the potential for birth defects or chronic illness). But they have done little to shed light on the reality of second- and third-term abortion industry: it is fully legal already in six states (Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont) + Washington D.C.; and there are already at least nine clinics nationwide, plus an unknown number of Planned Parenthood facilities, that conduct abortions up to between 26 and 35 weeks of pregnancy. The wording of the new Ohio amendment, if placed in our state’s constitution, will afford Ohio doctors the same ability as well.

This strongly-cited article by journalist Carole Novielli lists the names and locations of all the current U.S. facilities that currently advertise and perform third-trimester abortions. Included are a Colorado abortionist, recently featured in Atlantic Magazine, who allows abortions for any reason, even past 7.5 months pregnancy (full term is 9 months); and the D.C.-based DuPont Clinic, which is expanding to California and aborts babies up to one day shy of eight months gestational age, because (as the clinic noted on its X feed, “the need for third trimester abortion care has never been greater”). Ironically, there are also clinics that perform second- and third-trimester abortions named “C.A.R.E.” in Maryland and “Hope City” in Illinois. Novielli’s article also links to brutally disturbing photos taken from a 26+-week abortion facility in D.C., where fully recognizable infants were aborted and found in the trash with entire pieces of their bodies – in one case half of an open-eyed child’s head – brutally destroyed.

It’s easy for women to defend the practice of abortion when talking in general “reproductive health” terms, but those who defend second- and third- trimester abortion likely do not know the true logistics of how those procedures are performed. A gruesome affidavit from Ohio State University Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology Lisa Keder fills that void by describing the procedure, and all its varying forms, in disturbing detail.  

Dr. Keder refers to the process of killing the baby in the mother’s womb with an Orwellian term, “demise,” nearly 50 times in a 50 page affidavit for Planned Parenthood, where she served as a supporting witness to the organization in its 2019 lawsuit against the state of Ohio regarding legislation requiring doctors to euthanize pre-born infants before aborting them after 15weeks. But even that exceedingly bare minimum of compassionate care for pre-aborted infants, which the state requires so they won’t feel pain before being forcibly removed from their mothers’ wombs, is disregarded by Keder and her peers as “a separate, invasive procedure” without medical merit.

Instead, Keder defends the “D&E” abortion protocol she prefers to use – presumably at either Planned Parenthood, where she was once a director, or at Ohio State’s Wexner Center, where she is currently a Vice Chair in Obstetrics and gynecology – which involves dismembering infants in utero while they are still alive without giving the infants pain medication of any sort.

It “account[s] for 95% of second trimester abortions nationally,” writes Keder, and in her opinion is a superior form of abortion because it is least likely to cause physical harm to the pregnant mother. Dr. Keder does not discuss mental or emotional harm the women might suffer as a result of undergoing the procedure. She also does not acknowledge the rights of the unborn and possibly viable infants on whom the gruesome and inhumane procedure is performed.

Though Dr. Keder notes “D&E is extremely safe” (clearly only for the mother in this case) and “Major complications arise in less than 1% of second trimester abortions performed by D&E,” she also describes, in graphic detail, all the various established methods of killing unwanted infants over 15 weeks gestational age (nearly four months) that are currently being used in second- and third-trimester abortions: injecting deadly poison into pre-born infants’ spines via a long needle; injecting poison into pre-born babies’ hearts via a long needle through the mother’s abdomen; and severing of the umbilical cord that connects mother to baby – all before dismembering the infant and removing it from the mothers’ womb.

Despite the fact that Dr. Keder touts the procedure’s impeccable safety record, the fact that D&E is currently done relatively infrequently compared to first trimester abortion could be reason enough for the low mortality numbers. Still, second- and third-trimester abortions are on the rise nationwide. “Between 2017 and 2020,” Novielli writes, “data published by Planned Parenthood’s former ‘special affiliate,’ the Guttmacher Institute, revealed that the number of late abortions rose nearly 8% in recent years. In addition, the data indicated that reported abortions committed later in pregnancy (13 weeks and up) could total over 108,000 per year, with nearly 12,000 of those committed at or after the 21st week of pregnancy.”

The other concern Ohioans facing unlimited abortion should understand, says New Mexico attorney and co-founder of Abortion On Trial Mike Seibel, is that – despite what Keder says – “Elective late term abortion is extremely dangerous.” But if the current Ohio constitutional amendment, which actually strips away safety measures currently in place to protect the health of pregnant women undergoing the procedure, is approved by voters, “under law abortionists could do late term abortions in a garage with no safety regulations and it wouldn’t even matter,” says Seibel. In other words, the Issue One legislation allegedly aimed at caring for women could ultimately severely harm them.

Consider the cases of Cree Erwin, Keisha Atkins and Jennifer Moribelli, who each died at the hands of later-term abortionists. Amniotic fluid spilled into Moribelli’s bloodstream, causing her to bleed to death; Atkins was drugged by abortionists with everything from fentanyl to Mifeprex, the then-experimental abortion pill, before dying of sepsis; and Erwin died from blood clots and a perforated uterus, among other things. All three deaths highlight the irony behind the oft-used euphemism “women’s healthcare” and shine a firm spotlight on the unintended consequences a “yes” vote on Issue One could have for Ohioans moving forward.  

See Declaration of Lisa Keder, M.D., M.P.H., in support of Plaintiffs’ motion for a Preliminary Injunction and/or a Temporary Injunction