There are no “after-birth” abortions, nor are they common at 9 months of pregnancy, as Trump falsely claims

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the White House, made false claims about abortion in his televised debate with Democratic President Joe Biden on July 27, which are being spread by conservative groups and social media users as part of disinformation campaigns on the key issue ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Repeating a lie from his victorious 2016 election campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump accused Democrats in the debate of defending abortion laws that, he said, “take the life of a child in the eighth month (of pregnancy), in the ninth month and even after birth.”

That statement is false.

Following the historic court ruling Roe v. Wadewhich in 1973 protected the constitutional right to abortion at the federal level, voluntary termination of pregnancy was permitted between 24 and 28 weeks, admitting exceptions (such as risk to the mother’s life). But the Supreme Court annulled this right in 2022, thus leaving the decision in the hands of the states, which led many under Republican control to lower the limit well below 24 weeks (some as low as 6 weeks, when it is practically impossible for a woman to know that she is pregnant) and in some cases almost completely banned it.

In other states, regulations from before the Supreme Court ruling remain in force, which in no case allow, as Trump falsely said, abortion “after birth” (that would be, in all cases and jurisdictions, considered murder) and only allow the termination of an advanced pregnancy in rare exceptions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 80% of abortions occur in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Only 6% are between weeks 14 and 20 (the second trimester), and less than 1% after 21 weeks.

In clinical terms, a pregnancy is considered full term (full term) between 39 and 40 weeks, and late (late term) starting at week 41. That’s why reproductive health providers say the term late-term abortion, used by conservatives in this misinformation campaign, is medically inaccurate.

“It’s not a medical concept,” Chelsea Daniels, a doctor at Planned Parenthood in Florida, explained to Noticias Telemundo. “It’s a term that has been used by politicians as a weapon to try to loosely align the anti-abortion movement,” she asserts.

“In something like abortion, which is simply basic, safe health care, our language really matters.”

Chelsea Daniels planned parenthood doctor

“Abortions occur primarily in the first trimester, rarely in the second trimester and even more rarely in the third. In those cases where they do occur in the second or third trimester, it is often because of tragic, life-altering events — devastating fetal abnormalities or extreme risks to the health of the pregnant person,” Daniels added.

Other reasons for justifying an abortion in the second or third trimester include that the pregnancy was not discovered earlier, or that there were delays in seeking medical attention.

“Part of the reason we’re getting late-term abortions, after 12 weeks, is because states have made it very difficult to do these procedures in the early stages of pregnancy,” Jill Wieber Lens, a law professor at the University of Iowa and an expert on reproductive justice, told NBC News.

Third-trimester abortions are not only rare, but also expensive. Gynecologist Jen Gunter details in a post responding to false claims about abortion that the cost of having the procedure done at or after 24 weeks ranges from $1,000 to $25,000, not including airfare and hotel if travel is necessary. The further along in the pregnancy, the more expensive the procedure. “So the idea that these procedures are frequently done after 27 weeks, based on economics alone, is absurd,” she said.

Misleading language on abortion

“When Trump mixes abortions at eight months, at nine months, and after birth into one idea, You are implying that they are all infanticide”Gunter highlights on his website.

“I think that whenever you have someone, but particularly people in power, like politicians, who use words that have no medical basis, that are not scientifically accurate, that are just spreading misinformation and further stigmatizing, what they do is instill fear, panic, confusion and often unnecessary shame in patients,” says Daniels.

“In something like abortion, which is just basic, safe health care, our language really matters,” she adds. “It really matters that we, as physicians, and our elected representatives, are held to the same standard of scientific and medical accuracy.”

Virginia Governor Didn’t Talk About Killing Babies

In that interview, Northam attempted to explain a legislative proposal that sought to eliminate the requirement that second- and third-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals and the requirement that three doctors agree that the procedure was clinically necessary.

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” Northam said, explaining that third-trimester abortions are only performed when the baby is severely deformed or has no chance of living. “The baby would be born,” he said, “it would be resuscitated if that was what the mother and the family wanted. And then there would be a discussion between the doctors and the mother.”