Yes, late-term abortions are real, and they happen every day

By: Jeanne Mancini, Opinion Contributor
The Hill, Published 9/3/23

There is a concerted effort from the abortion lobby and its allies in media to convince Americans that there is no such thing as late term abortion. It isn’t true.

Just recently, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill claimed that: “Like Nessie and Bigfoot, the term ‘late-term abortion’ is completely made up. It’s anti-abortion propaganda with no basis in medicine, intended to confuse people.”  

Likewise, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki echoed that “no one supports abortion up until birth,” and then later defended this claim on her MSNBC show: “This claim that Democrats support abortion up until the moment of birth is entirely misleading,” she said.

But the truth is that 10,000 babies’ lives are lost every year to late-term abortions, the majority of which take place for elective reasons.     

These denials of the harsh reality reveal one positive thing — the deniers at least recognize that support for limitless abortion is unpopular. One poll shows that 70 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be limited at least after 12 to 15 weeks into pregnancy, and other polls demonstrate the same consensus on the issue.

Throughout my time as a leader in the pro-life movement, I have worked to educate pro-abortion rights leaders about the beauty of life and the truth about abortion so that we can overcome the differences dividing us.   

Psaki’s claim, that “no one supports abortion up until birth,” has also been roundly debunked by the many members of her own party who refuse to name a single limit on abortion they would support. This includes Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and John Fetterman (D-Pa.); former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D-Ga.); and former Reps. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), among many others.  

As a Virginia resident, I will never forget the day when our former Governor Ralph Northam (D) admitted publicly that he believed it permissible, both as a physician and as governor, to allow survivors of botched abortions to be left to die even after they were born alive.  

Such heartlessness is not merely rhetorical. That same year, U.S. Senate Democratic leaders killed a bill that would have required medical care for babies who survive abortions. 

I could barely believe it then, and I also can’t believe that today, seven states and Washington D.C. have no limits on abortion whatsoever. The result of such policies was on display about a year ago when pro-life advocates discovered the mutilated remains of five fully formed babies, including possible victims of illegal partial birth abortions, originating from a Washington D.C. abortion clinic.

Some in Congress and the White House have also been fighting to pass the deceptively named “Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA),” which would allow abortion on demand, up until birth, for any reason at any time. Supporters often claim that the WHPA’s mention of “viability” constitutes a limit on late-term abortion. But “viability” can be, and in the past has been, interpreted to mean just about anything. According to the late-term abortionist Warren Hern, “the viability of a fetus is determined not by gestational age but by a woman’s willingness to carry it.”

One of Planned Parenthood’s chief medical officers, Colleen McNicholas, similarly admitted during sworn testimony before Congress that “there is no particular gestational age” for viability. “There are some pregnancies in which the fetus will never be viable,” she added. “My practice includes (abortion) through the point of viability, and as we previously discussed, that could be at any point.” 

So late-term abortion is far from a myth. Statistically, it occurs dozens of times each day. This brings me enormous grief, especially since I have spent the past decade leading an organization that works and marches to ring in a new era where Psaki’s words ring true — when “no one supports abortion up until birth.” Unfortunately, we are not there yet, even though a large majority of Americans believe that second- and third-trimester abortions should be illegal.  

The 10,000 lives lost each year to late term abortions should compel even those who do not call themselves pro-life to join us as we work to end the violence and provide women and children with the resources, love and support they need to thrive.

Jeanne Mancini is president of the March for Life.