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On Friday, journalist Susan Crabtree lauded an article by Philip Wegmann of RealClearPolitics. The piece, titled “Late-Term Abortion Stance May Be Trump Card in 2020,” notes that according to Gallup polling:
Indeed, the May 2018 Gallup survey asks: “Thinking specifically about the THIRD trimester, please say whether you think abortion should be legal in that situation, or illegal. How about … when the woman’s life is endangered?”
75% of respondents said that abortion should be “legal” under such circumstances, while 22% said it should be “illegal.”
However, these results are misleading. Gallup’s question implies that there are certain circumstances during the third trimester of pregnancy in which an abortion could save a woman’s life. Such a question suggests that termination is sometimes the only solution to certain late-term medical scenarios.
This simply isn’t true.
During an interview with Live Action founder Lila Rose, former abortion doctor Anthony Levatino stated that late-term abortions are never medically necessary:
We hear all the time how abortion, including especially late-term abortion, is necessary to save women's lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. I spent nine years working at a tertiary medical center. There are only certain hospitals in the country that are designated to take care of the really, really high-risk pregnancies ... Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, where I worked, was one of them. I was faculty at the hospital for nine years, and I saw hundreds of cases of really severe pregnancy complications – cancers, heart disease, intractable diabetes ... toxemia pregnancy, out of control. In those nine years, I saved hundreds of women from life-threatening pregnancies, and I did that by delivering them, by ending their pregnancy by delivery – either induction of labor or cesarean section... I always tell people, in all of those years, the number of babies that I had to, that I was obligated to deliberately kill in the process was zero, none.
Levatino continued, explaining that prior to a late-term abortion, the cervix must be sufficiently dilated in order for the doctor to be able to properly extract the dismembered fetus from the uterus. The dilation process “can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours,” according to Levatino, who performed more than 1,200 abortions in his career. Many women experiencing major pregnancy complications don’t have that much time.
Levatino then spoke about a case that he encountered in his own career. A pregnant woman came to the hospital with “severe toxemia,” also known as pre-eclampsia. Levatino “stabilized her, brought her back, did a cesarean section,” and “had her delivered within an hour of arriving at the hospital.” Both the mother and the infant of 27 weeks gestation survived. Had she waited hours for a late-term abortion, she would have likely suffered a stroke, according to Levatino.
“You never need late-term abortion to save a woman’s life. If necessary, you accomplish the delivery,” he said.
The idea that abortion is sometimes necessary to “save a woman’s life” is persistent, but completely false. However, few people know this. Therefore, when a polling company asks a question such as the one that Gallup put forth, the answers should be analyzed with the understanding that many Americans aren’t aware that the question is based on a false premise.