‘Late-Term Abortion’ Is A Phrase Politicians Made Up

When Republicans unveiled their laws banning abortion nationwide at 15 weeks into being pregnant on Tuesday, they rolled it out with a well-known however deeply troubling phrase: “late-term abortions.”

As prevalent because the expression is, it’s a political assemble that’s meaningless in a medical sense, medical doctors and specialists on reproductive rights have stated for years, and phrases matter once they’re getting used to legislate round folks’s our bodies.

“The phrase ‘late-term abortion’ is a political buzzword, not medical terminology,” Dr. Katie McHugh, an OB-GYN in Indiana and board chair with Physicians for Reproductive Well being, instructed HuffPost.

“Abortion bans based on gestational age are especially offensive because they are based only in ideology, not in medical science or common sense,” she continued.

Medical doctors solely use the phrase “late-term” to check with a being pregnant ― not an abortion ― 41 weeks after the final menstrual interval, and abortion “does not occur at that gestational age,” McHugh defined. The American Faculty of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) outlines it the identical in its information to abortion language, saying there’s “no clinical or medical significance” to the time period when utilized to abortions.

A so-called “late-term abortion,” in the meantime, appears to be regardless of the Republican writing the invoice needs it to be. Tuesday’s invoice from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), titled the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act,” says that cutoff is at 15 weeks. However one other invoice Graham and different Republicans have tried to move a number of occasions lately held up 20 weeks because the “late-term” cutoff. The outstanding anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute, in the meantime, claims the phrase is acceptable for abortions carried out beginning at 13 weeks of being pregnant.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., smiles earlier than talking throughout his information convention on Capitol Hill to announce a nationwide invoice on abortion restrictions in Washington on Tuesday.

Invoice Clark by way of Getty Photographs

It’s possible that the folks behind these bans ― a lot of whom want to see abortion banned at each stage of being pregnant ― aren’t really involved with the specifics right here, however relatively with the highly effective imagery a phrase like “late-term abortion” invokes.

“Much of the language that is colloquially used to describe abortion or discuss health policies that impact abortion has a basis in anti-choice rhetoric and is inherently biased and inaccurate — and at the very least, is not medically appropriate,” ACOG explains in its information.

Former President Donald Trump, for one, has repeatedly introduced up “late-term abortions” throughout his marketing campaign rallies, then proceeded to explain medical doctors “ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth” ― an illustration that has no foundation in actuality.

Although there’s a myriad of the explanation why somebody may wait to hunt out an abortion after the primary trimester of being pregnant ― as a result of legal guidelines of their state made the process sophisticated and time-consuming to entry or as a result of a fetal anomaly got here to mild, for 2 ― the anti-abortion motion’s language round these circumstances is sort of all the time stigmatizing and filled with violent descriptions of a usually secure process.

“Calling a 15 or 20 week abortion ‘late term’ is another way for anti-abortion people to scare the uninformed and shame pregnant people for the decisions we make about our own bodies — so that they can get away with legislating those decisions for us,” Holly Nunn, the editorial director at Deliberate Parenthood, tweeted Monday. “It’s about control over us.”

Lawmakers’ descriptions of “late-term abortions” practically all the time contain graphic and disturbing accounts of fetal ache, and Tuesday’s invoice isn’t any exception. Although the proposed laws rests on the argument that there’s sturdy proof from “recent medical research and analysis” {that a} fetus has the capability for ache earlier than 15 weeks of being pregnant, ACOG is unwavering in its place.

“The science conclusively establishes that a human fetus does not have the capacity to experience pain until after at least 24-25 weeks,” the group says. “Every major medical organization that has examined this issue and peer-reviewed studies on the matter have consistently reached the conclusion that abortion before this point does not result in the perception of pain in a fetus.”