The New “Gotcha” Question: What is the Definition of Late or Later-Term Abortion?

Kristi Hamrick - 17 Nov 2023

What is the definition of late or later-term abortion?

Short answer: That’s not a definition SFLA or the pro-life movement needs to make, and those forcing the question generally have a radical abortion agenda.   

SFLA is fighting to protect all life in the womb and does not give more value to older lives versus younger lives. We are not advocating for abortion by week or gestational limit. We are not interested in a debate over abortion in which one week is “good” while another “bad” nor are we interested in dueling experts.   

This is a new “gotcha” question designed to change the topic from abortion to competing medical opinions. Such a question is designed to create confusion, not clarity.  

Depending on whether a person is a lawyer, a legislator, a life-affirming doctor, or an abortionist that answer will vary WILDLY.  

Broadly speaking, more than 9 in 10 abortions take place by three months (12 weeks of pregnancy), according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which knows only what abortionists tell them. Prior to Roe’s fall, most engaged on the abortion issue would have said that Later and Late Term Abortions take place after that point.   

In a law, legislators define terms – meaning that the definition can vary by legal jurisdiction. In medicine, such definitions – including the line for viability (when a baby can live outside the womb) – also changes as the treatments get better.   

But because people are so horrified by late term abortions, the media machine is in overdrive to completely blur all lines. (They were fuzzy to begin with, given the fact that they are works of fiction.)  

One of the leading, yet liberal, healthcare outlets the Kaiser Family Foundation dismissively says that few abortions take place after 21 weeks (more than 5 months) yet writes that these “late term” abortions get too much attention. It’s a category, they note, that is a bit random, but follows the way in which the CDC collects data. (On their own website, the CDC notes that information is “provided voluntarily … excluding California, the District of Columbia [DC], Maryland, and New Hampshire” who didn’t even bother to lie about the abortion business they do.)  

Late and Later Term is a made-up construct, they argue.  

The same is true of all abortion data, which is something that the CDC and the Planned Parenthood founded Guttmacher Institute offer guesses on, after abortionists voluntarily offer some unverifiable numbers. (Learn more here: No Matter Your Abortion Stance, Everyone Should Support National Abortion Reporting Laws)  

The lines drawn marking trimesters – three, three-month time frames of pregnancy — come from the make-believe world of Roe v. Wade in which seven men invented a legal “right” to abortion in those time frames. And the fake data followed suit.   

(Sidenote, Roe v. Wade along with Doe v. Bolton were Supreme Court cases handed down in 1973 in which seven justices found support for abortion penciled into the Constitution in invisible ink. They created an emphasis on the trimester math for abortion decision making on their own, without the testimony of medical experts or even pregnant mothers. Bad idea, bad construct, and bad math. Learn more in the book: Abuse of Discretion.)

What this means is that we are all talking about fake abortion math in increments of three months just because seven men drew faulty lines. Most abortions take place early, but later and late abortions also happen. Even the bad math of the CDC and Guttmacher confirms that.   

Of course, changing the narrative has been big business since Roe fell.   

The nation’s number one abortion vendor, Planned Parenthood, says “(t)here’s no such thing as a ‘late-term abortion.’”  

Pregnancy can last up to 40 weeks, and for Planned Parenthood “late term” is 41 weeks.   

They argue they can’t be doing late term abortions because they’ve drawn another fake line proving that there is no blood on their hands. But that defies common sense and life experience in our culture.  

It’s an attack on our common terms as “earlier in pregnancy” was considered the first three months, “later” the second three, and “late” the last three. But the line is not what’s important. It’s the human beings who have value no matter their age. 

What the abortion loving left wants to do is have us engage in meaningless arguments about competing definitions of late and later, viability, and lifesaving, with competing “experts” shouting as loudly as they can.   

Students for Life of America (SFLA) does not support drawing lines at arbitrary weeks. We support Heartbeat or better legislation, as a heartbeat is a universal sign of life.  

If the lack of heartbeat is a sign of death, therefore the presence of a heartbeat signifies life.  

As a woman who had had FOUR children, I know that as you go later and late into pregnancy, the stakes get higher and life outside the womb gets closer. As we all walk with pregnant friends and family, as some of us are pregnant ourselves, we know that late in pregnancy, a baby gets closer to meeting us in the world.   

If someone asks, how do you define late or later term abortion, say this: I support heartbeat or better. A human being is not worth more based on their age. And SFLA rejects prejudice against people based on age, sex, race, stage of development, perceptions of abilities, or the events of conception.   

Perhaps a lawyer would like to debate that with you, but I’m standing with all those whose hearts are beating.  

READ NEXT: As a 15-Week Pregnant Woman, Here’s Why the Majority of Americans and I Aren’t Satisfied with This Lackluster Limit

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