But that’s far from true, according to a riveting new analysis from our parent group, the National Right to Life Committee.
A 2008 study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute reports that of 1,787 U.S. abortionists in 2005, 300 did abortions after 20 weeks LMP and 140 of them after 24 weeks LMP. (LMP dates the pregnancy from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period.)
“That more than 140 abortion providers are willing to kill unborn children who are capable of feeling the excruciating pain of abortion is a tragedy
– a tragedy that we can easily stop in the state legislatures,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC director of state legislation.
While the phrase “late-term abortion” has no fixed legal or medical meaning, most Americans would likely consider all abortions performed in the fifth month or later (18 weeks after fertilization) as “late abortions.”
Last month, Nebraska’s Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act went into effect. It prohibits abortion of babies who are past 20 weeks fertilization (22 weeks LMP), which is at the end of the fifth month.
And with the wave of state interest in the ground-breaking Nebraska ban, the question arises–how many such abortions are done annually?
According to a May 2010 briefing by the Guttmacher Institute, 1.5% of the estimated more than 1.2 million elective abortions performed annually in the United States are on unborn children at 21 weeks LMP or older.
This translates to roughly 18,000 abortions annually – a substantial number of which probably occur at 22 weeks LMP or later, which is past the point that the best evidence indicates that the unborn child is fully capable of feeling pain.
These findings are generally corroborated by the Centers for Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Report for 2006 (released November 27, 2009).
“With pro-life electoral gains on November 2, the spring legislative sessions gives us a tremendous opportunity to enact a variety of protective pro-life laws in many states and put an end to abortions after the unborn child is capable of feeling pain,” Spaulding Balch added.