Long Island is not immune to the recent debates concerning abortion. It has always been an issue that incites passionate responses. Notions of morality and a woman’s right to make her own decisions are still up for debate in this country. Such heated topics naturally inspire the spread of false information. Abortion myths are still an issue, and new ones have emerged.
At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we not only respect a woman’s right to choose but also place a high priority on facts. Facts about abortion are important for every woman to know. The spread of misinformation leads to more problems than solutions. And an unfortunate number of people are willing to buy into hysterical myth and disregard facts. When it comes to health care, this reckless disregard of facts can have devastating consequences.
Late term abortions have been a recent issue within our government and culture. Unfortunately, one of the biggest sources of misinformation is the President of the United States himself. In his 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump stated: “lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”
It’s undoubtedly hard to take anything our president says seriously at this point. However, there are some who don’t see his statement for what it is. It is a reckless, wrong and immoral lie. Trump was referring to New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which passed in January. The procedures this act refers to will only occur in extremely rare circumstances. The only legal late-term abortion describes if the mother is in grave danger or the fetus cannot survive outside the womb.
We’ve separated the myths perpetuated by Trump from the facts in this issue.
Abortion Myth: “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”
The New York Reproductive Health Act permits abortions if “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
Basically, any abortions after 24 weeks are only allowed if the fetus will not survive birth or if the mother’s health is in grave jeopardy. Trump’s description of a baby being “ripped from the uterus moments before birth” is false. It demonizes the doctors and mothers who have no other choice.
Only 1% of abortions nationwide take place at 21 weeks’ gestation or later. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 (the most recent year with available data), 638,169 legal abortions were reported. 91% were performed before 13 weeks of pregnancy, 7.6% were performed between 14 and 20 weeks. And 1.3% were performed at 21 weeks or later. Abortions after 24 weeks comprise less than 1% of all abortions.
Abortion Myth: “I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb”
If President Trump’s aim is to prevent unnecessary pain, banning late-term abortions is counterproductive.
Remember: the purpose of late-term abortions is not to feed the sadism of doctors or unfit mothers. Even standard abortions are done out of necessity. Late-term abortions are “emergency only” procedures to spare the fetus from agony or to save the mother’s life. If a ban on these procedures is approved, both the fetus and the mother will suffer. A fetus that must be aborted after 24 weeks has significant problems such as heart and lung defects. They may also have genetic issues that cannot be treated.
By banning these procedures that doctors deem necessary, lives will be placed in jeopardy.
When it comes to a woman’s health, she has the right to make her own decisions. She is responsible for deciding what is best for her. It is important to have all of the facts in these issues to prevent lies from spreading.
Myths about abortions can have terrible consequences. Stony Brook Women’s Health is here as a supportive resource for you, should you need it.