in ~ a rally in so late April, president Donald trumped resurfaced a false case when that accused Wisconsin’s democratic governor of giving mothers and also doctors the freedom to “execute” babies.

“The infant is born,” the said. “The mom meets through the doctor. Castle take care of the baby. Castle wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and also the mother determine whether or not they will certainly execute the baby.”

You are watching: How is a late term abortion done


US president Donald trumped gestures as he speaks during a make America great Again rally in green Bay, Wisconsin, April 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit must read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump’s contention the babies have the right to be killed after birth is one he referenced in his State of the Union resolve earlier this year, once he called on conference “to pass law to prohibit the late-term abortion of children.” He stated this ideal after he an initial accused new York lawmakers of cheering for “legislation that would permit a infant to be ripped indigenous the mother’s womb moments before birth” and then said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam “would execute a baby after birth.”

With brand-new York’s i of a brand-new Reproductive health and wellness Act and Northam’s voiced assistance of a measure that would certainly loosen constraints on abortions later on in pregnancy, the expression “late-term abortion” began making headlines. That peppered conversations, sustained social media battles and also inspired Trump’s rhetoric. But what exactly does this language mean? spoke earlier this year through two ob-gyns and also asked them to explain. Dr. Barbara levy is vice chairman of health and wellness policy at the American university of Obstetricians and also Gynecologists, a experienced organization, and Dr. Jennifer Conti, is an assistant professor at Stanford Medicine, a fellow with the advocacy group Physicians for Reproductive Health and co-host of The V word podcast. What does the phrase “late-term abortion” median to you?


Virginia autonomous Governor Ralph Northam in October 2017.
Alex Wong/Getty images North America/Getty images
Virginia governor encounters backlash end comments sustaining late-term abortion bill

Dr. Barbara Levy: The phrase “late-term abortion” is medically inaccurate and also has no clinical meaning. In science and medicine, it’s necessary to use language precisely. In pregnancy, to be “late term” method to be previous 41 mainly gestation, or previous a patient’s early out date. Abortions carry out not happen in this time period, so the expression is contradictory.

Dr. Jennifer Conti: In obstetrics, we don’t division pregnancies right into terms. “Late term” is an development of anti-abortion extremists come confuse, mislead and also increase stigma. The ideal language is “abortions later in pregnancy.” When human being speak around abortion later in pregnancy, room they referring to abortion in the 3rd trimester or miscellaneous else?

Levy: Generally, abortion later on in pregnancy refers to abortion the happens at 21 main or later, so in the second or 3rd trimester. How common or uncommon space abortions in ~ this phase of pregnancy?

Conti: according to the us Centers for condition Control and also Prevention, abortions after 21 weeks comprise less 보다 1.3% of all abortions in the unified States. This way that abortions the occur beyond 24 weeks comprise less 보다 1% of every procedures. Can you describe why abortions take place later in a pregnancy?


Conti: over there are plenty of reasons why women might need to accessibility abortion later in pregnancy, consisting of maternal health endangerment, diagnosis the fetal abnormalities or restrictive legislations delaying earlier accessibility to abortion care. Those especially rare instances that happen after 24 weeks are often due to the fact that a fetus has actually a problem that can not be treated and also will never have the ability to survive – regardless of the gestational age or trimester.

that this exact reason that it’s nonsensical to legislate these cases: Nobody arrives at the decision to have actually an abortion after ~ 24 main carelessly. Rather, that the rare case of swiftly decompensating maternal heart disease or a delay diagnosis that anencephaly, wherein the fetus creates without a complete mind or skull, that carry people to this decisions.

Levy: Abortions later in pregnancy generally occur because of two basic indications: lethal fetal anomalies or dangers to the health of the mother. Part fetal advance problems or genetic anomalies execute not present up or build until later on in pregnancy. Some examples can include anencephaly (described above) or limb-body wall complex, once the organs build outside that the human body cavity. With problems like these, the fetus cannot endure out of the uterus.


courts say anti-abortion 'heartbeat bills' room unconstitutional. Therefore why execute they store coming?

Likewise, when conditions progress or appear that severely weaken a woman’s health or life, abortion might be the safest, medically shown procedure. These conditions can additionally reduce the opportunity of fetal survival. They can include premature rupture of membranes (where the fluid surrounding the fetus is lost before labor), uterine infection, preeclampsia, placental abruption and also placenta accreta. Women under this circumstances may have considerable blood lose or septic shock that deserve to be fatal.

It’s vital to note, if a woman’s health or life is at risk and also the fetus is viable, distribution is pursued, no abortion.

In the situation of one of two people lethal fetal anomalies or complications that endanger a woman’s life, it’s important that women and also their physicians are maybe to take into consideration the full selection of proper treatments, whether that’s abortion care, induction of labor or cesarean birth. Every pregnant woman’s situation and also medical condition are different, and there is no means to do a one-size-fits-all determination about the proper care.

No issue what, treatment must be compassionate and recognize the for numerous women, the choices they are facing are devastating and also immensely complicated. Can any type of woman simply choose to have actually an abortion so late in her pregnancy?

Levy: Abortion later on in pregnancy is a very complicated decision and, often, a an extremely emotional one. We understand that women that make the decision to have actually an abortion carry out so in a considered, deliberate fashion. This is particularly true for females who have abortions later in pregnancy who are often facing disastrous fetal diagnoses or life-threatening conditions that may introduce a multitude of clinical considerations right into their decision-making.

Moreover, the ob-gyns who administer later in pregnancy abortion treatment have very particular training both in the technical procedure, and also ethical decision-making in facility clinical circumstances.


The united state Supreme Court is viewed in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty pictures
supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion regulation from taking effect Monday

Conti: Federal law is meant to safeguard the ideal to abortion as much as the suggest of viability (often believed of as 24 weeks indigenous the last menstrual period), but numerous states have subsequently enacted harmful gestational age boundaries that room ideologically motivated and not based in science. Your appropriate to one abortion is now absolutely based upon the accident of your ZIP code.

If a human needs to end their pregnant after 24 weeks, there are a minimal number of locations in the nation where they can do that, and the approval process for the procedure is scrupulous. countless states the impose gestational age limits for abortion execute so through exceptions. Do exceptions do sufficient to alleviate your concerns?

Levy: The American college of Obstetricians and also Gynecologists opposes undue political interference in the exercise of medicine, including legislation the bans abortion in ~ an arbitrarily cutoff point. When exceptions are often suggested for gestational age bans, the truth is that it’s impossible to suspect every circumstance that might arise in pregnancy.

Additionally, exception can likewise generate far-ranging confusion because that health care providers attempting to translate these laws and also practice accordingly, particularly when they challenge criminal fees if they hurt the law, also if accidentally.

it is an exceedingly precarious position between counseling patient on the many appropriate and also compassionate care for your health and interpreting faint legal exceptions. are there various other reasons access to abortion care concerns you?

Levy: also in states where arbitrary gestational age restrictions do not exist, barriers to any abortion treatment are still really common. Countless women in the United states live 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion care provider. Even if they are able to access a health treatment provider, castle are most likely to challenge other obstacles to abortion care, prefer medically unnecessary ultrasounds, mandatory 24-hour wait periods and also two in-person trips come a clinic. And also of course, for ladies living in claims that half coverage the abortion treatment in insurance plans, the procedure – particularly if they should travel, take it time turn off of job-related and/or for sure child treatment – may be prohibitively expensive. Federal resources for abortion care is also banned, other than in extremely limited circumstances

Illustration snapshot shows a physician doing a ultrasound examination during a visit of a pregnant mrs to her gynaecologist, in Mechelen, Thursday 31 January 2019. BELGA picture JASPER JACOBS (Photo credit need to read JASPER JACOBS/AFP/Getty Images)

For women who require abortion care in the 3rd trimester, there are very few places throughout the country where this treatment is accessible, and it is really rarely covered by insurance. Typically, these steps would expense in the countless dollars. Moreover, many women would have to travel by aircraft to reach this providers, so in addition to the price of the care, they space incurring the expense of travel and lodging. What execute you wish human being would think around when pointing out this hot-button subject?

Levy: It’s crucial to remember, even if it is in a discussion about abortion care or any kind of other component of care, the these are complicated, nuanced scenarios that influence the food of actual people’s lives.

specific to abortion treatment later in pregnancy, I would certainly urge everyone to exercise more compassion. It’s vital to recognize that we just cannot possibly understand the situations of every pregnant or the difficulty of do decisions as soon as things go terribly awry.

Abortion later on in pregnant is not used as an alternate to delivering healthy women’s full-term, viable pregnancies. Additionally, the callous to suggest that healthy and balanced women through viable pregnancies at term abruptly change their minds and seek abortion care as the solution. What perform you think are the biggest misunderstandings around this topic?

Conti: The majority of women having abortions are already mothers and also are do the decisions they know to be finest for their other children and also their families.

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One in four women will have an abortion by the moment they’re 45, which means that really likely, you understand or love someone that has had actually an abortion. If you’re not privy come them, the likely because your outside judgment is isolating those civilization in her life.

together someone who used to self-identify as anti-choice, I have the right to attest that the best misunderstanding about abortion is the structure of hypotheticals vs. Reality. All pregnancies carry risks, yet some much an ext than others, and it is the job of the patience to weigh risks and benefits in all clinical decisions. Not politicians. Not journalists. No strangers ~ above Twitter.

Misleading hypotheticals show disregard and also contempt for civilization who have had an abortion later in pregnancy. Human being who have abortions deserve empathy and also understanding, not judgment.