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Busting Myths: Abortion Late in Pregnancy

Confused by anti-choice rhetoric about abortions late in pregnancy?Concerned about why you are hearing anti-choice individuals condemning abortion providers for their role in infanticide? Wondering what exactly abortions late in pregnancy are?

Well, The Asterisk is here to clear things up. Read on for a list of myths that you might be hearing about abortions late in pregnancy...and the facts.

Myth: Late-term abortion is a medically accurate term.

Late-term abortion is actually a political term, generally used by opponents of abortion, that refers to abortions that happen after 21 weeks.

Myth: Abortions late in pregnancy are common.

Actually, abortions late in pregnancy are very rare. Abortions after the 21-week mark comprise just about 1.3 percent of all abortions, and the percent of abortions after the 24-week mark is under 1 percent.

Myth: All people who have abortions late in pregnancy do not want to be pregnant.

In reality, most abortions late in pregnancy occur because physicians have detected a fatal fetal abnormality or condition that was not able to be identified earlier in the pregnancy - or because the pregnancy poses a significant health risk for the pregnant individual.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has stated that conditions occurring late in pregnancy including “premature rupture of membranes and infection, preeclampsia, placental abruption, and placenta accreta,” may all pose life-threatening health risks to the pregnant individual . Many patients who find themselves in these situations are grieving much-wanted pregnancies.

Myth: Babies are sometimes born alive after failed abortions.

This statement essentially equates abortions late in pregnancy to infanticide. No credible physician is doing anything like this. For one, federal and state laws that regulate abortion ensure that physicians who legally perform abortions are held to a certain standard. There are regulations for both performing abortions, ensuring that no fetal tissue remains in the uterus, and properly disposing of fetal remains according to medical procedure. In cases where patients choose to deliver infants that will not survive long after birth, physicians work to provide the best possible care and comfort to the babies and their families.

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