Most Americans agree: It’s time to put an end to late-term abortions

Most Americans agree: It’s time to put an end to late-term abortions
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The Senate is taking up the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after five months of pregnancy — the point when overwhelming medical evidence shows babies in the womb can feel the agonizing pain of a late-term abortion.

To the majority of Americans, this doesn’t seem like it should be a heavy lift for the Senate. Polling by Huffington Post, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, the polling company/ WomanTrend, and others have found that most Americans, especially women and millennials, support prohibiting abortions after five months. Today, the United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allow pre-born children to be killed for virtually any reason up through the ninth month. That sickening statistic puts us in the company of human-rights violators like China and North Korea.

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Yet, I am concerned that pro-abortion senators from both parties, but especially the Democratic Party, where the majority of abortion advocates reside, are increasingly out of touch with science and their own humanity and are more in touch with the millions in campaign contributions they collectively get from the abortion industry. In the House, only three Democrats had the courage to vote for the bill; 187 other Democrats sided with the abortion lobby. Shame on them.

These politicians hide behind the lies of Big Abortion — lies which must be debunked. They deny the science of fetal development, while advocating for aborting fully developed, viable children who can feel the pain of the abortionists’ forceps.

Lie #1: Fetuses are just “clumps of cells” at five months.

Fact: At five months, babies are fully formed. All the organs and arms, legs, fingers, and toes are present and will continue to grow and become functional. The baby can suck her thumb, yawn, and make faces — and she’s been able to do so for weeks. Even by the end of the first trimester, the baby has developed most of her organs. And at just 21 days, her heart began beating.

On social media, mothers are sharing pictures gone viral of their miracle babies who were born at 20, 21, and 22 weeks after fertilization who are now thriving. As medical technologies develop, the age of viability gets younger. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that with medical intervention, babies delivered as young as 20 weeks old can now survive.

Lie #2: Babies in the womb can’t feel pain at five months.

Fact: A large body of scientific evidence plainly shows that pre-born children have physical, chemical, brain, and stress responses to painful stimuli at five months. Doctors performing fetal surgery use anesthesia on children in the womb — just as they would with any other patient.

Children killed by late-term abortions do feel pain. In one prevalent late-term abortion procedure, the abortionist uses forceps to dismember the baby, ripping her limbs from her torso and crushing her head into small enough pieces so he can remove her from the uterus. If the baby is older — 23 weeks or more post-fertilization — the abortionist may use a second procedure, pushing a long needle into the baby’s head, torso, or heart to inject a drug that induces cardiac arrest.

We don’t subject our worst criminals to such a brutal death penalty. The earlier-term abortion procedures achieve the same gruesome end as a later-term abortion — only the method of their violence, and the development of their victim, is different.

Lie #3: Later-term abortions are an insignificant number and are necessary for health reasons

Fact: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2012 that 1.3 percent of abortions were committed at 21 weeks’ gestation and later.  With nearly one million abortions annually in the U.S., that means abortionists are killing close to 13,000 children every year who could survive outside the womb. Abortion advocates claim that these abortions are done to save women’s lives or to end “fetal abnormalities,” but the cases they reference are a small minority of late-term abortions. 

Research published by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute found that abortions for fetal abnormalities “make up a small minority” of late-term abortions, and those for saving the mother’s life are even a smaller number. The majority of late-term abortions aren’t done for so-called "medical reasons" at all.

Furthermore, these “medical reasons” are no justification for late-term abortion — or any abortion. A child with a disability, no matter how severe, does not deserve to die. She is no less human than a healthy child, and she has the same human dignity and rights. And more than 1,000 OB/GYNs, neonatologists, and other experts have concluded that abortion is never medically necessary to save a mother's life.

In the Dublin Declaration, these medical professionals explain that while life-saving medical treatment for a mother may result in the death of her pre-born child, there is a fundamental difference between a woman receiving medical treatment for her condition versus choosing an abortion to intentionally end her pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry have a financial interest in opposing this bill and they continue to lobby Congress for the unfettered ability to take the lives of pre-born children not only at five months, but through the ninth month. For them, it means a bigger bottom line, as the price they charge for an abortion increases with each passing week of pregnancy. Late-term abortions bring in thousands of dollars each. 

It’s this big money that has also led to the campaign contributions to pro-abortion members of Congress. These senators must stop listening to Big Abortion and start listening to their consciences — and to the will of the American people who sent them to Washington.

The bill is a step in the right direction — but it’s only a step. If it passes the Senate, more work remains to be done to ensure the protection of all pre-born children. Science shows that a new human life begins at the moment of fertilization. A unique set of human DNA is formed and life immediately begins to grow. She is a human being from that point forward. And as with every human being — especially those who are the most vulnerable — her life deserves to be protected, not just from five months onward, but from the very moment her life begins.

Lila Rose is the president and founder of the national pro-life organization Live Action. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.