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Top 10 Abortion Myths: #6

So much of the abortion debate is based on myths, bad assumptions, bad logic, or outright gaslighting through deception. For the rest of 2019 we will highlight one common abortion myth every month. 

#6: Late-term abortions are rare

The Bottom Line: If late-term abortions are rare, so are many other common causes of death.

This myth relies on ignorance and a selective quotation of statistics.

What is “rare”? Rare is a subjective term. So, the best way to determine if something is rare is to compare it to related things people would say are common. If something happens more than something that is described as common, it’s not rare. Right?

For abortion supporters, they seek to compare late-term abortions to early abortions. A familiar line you might hear is that late-term abortions are only 1% of all abortions. Because there are a massive number of abortions occurring in the United States, that 1% number is quite high.

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, there were an estimated 926,200 abortions in the United States in 2014, the most recent estimate. The Centers for Disease Control publishes an annual report with detailed abortion statistics from most states. They routinely find that about 1.3% of abortions take place after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If you do the math, that’s 12,000 abortions after 20 weeks every year in the U.S.

Are 12,000 deaths rare? Let’s compare them to other causes of death in 2014, according to the CDC. In 2014, there were 11,008 homicides using a gun. Would you describe gun violence as rare?

That’s an important comparison. Often people supporting abortion make an argument like this: if prolife people cared about human life, they would support gun control. Right to Life of Michigan is completely neutral on issues unrelated to our mission. Gun control groups are similarly neutral on the abortion issue. Why does nobody demand gun control groups help us ban late-term abortions before they are allowed to address their mission? After all, late-term abortions are more common than gun homicides. Should we question if people who support gun control really care about human lives?

Let’s look at some numbers in Michigan. The most common late-term abortion procedure in our state is the dismemberment abortion procedure (D&E), used most often between 12 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. In 2017, there were 1,777 dismemberment abortions in Michigan.

In 2017 in Michigan, there were more dismemberment abortions than these all-too-common causes of death:

  • Breast cancer
  • Car accidents
  • Colon cancer
  • Homicides
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Suicides

Would you tell someone who has breast cancer that their disease is rare?

Would you say suicide is so rare that it shouldn’t be addressed as a public policy issue?

If you can’t say those things, you can’t claim late-term abortions are rare as an excuse to ignore the issue—or to make a twisted moral justification for them.

Myth Series:
#10: Late-term abortions are only for health problems
#9: Abortion is a small part of Planned Parenthood’s services
#8: Women pregnant through rape all have abortions
#7: Most women support abortion

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