At the third and final presidential debate, Clinton and Trump were both asked about “late-term partial birth” abortions. While Trump’s stance on abortion has been erratic in the past, since September 16th he’s had a decidedly pro-life bent.
During the debate Chris Wallace attempted to get Trump to clarify his position on “late-term partial birth abortions.” His response was:
“I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”
I am currently unaware of any medical procedure where things are “ripped out” of the human body. I’m pretty sure that’s not standard medical procedure. He continued:
“Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she’s saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, only the final day. And that’s not acceptable.”
If you remove the scare mongering language, what Trump is describing is actually a c-section, a fairly common surgical procedure that helps deliver babies, not abort them. Currently about 30% of babies in the US are delivered by c-section. As for 9th term abortions? They don’t exist.
There is no such thing as a ninth month abortion – I'm a doctor who trained in late term abortions #debate2016
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) October 20, 2016
According to Gunter, sometimes obstetricians will induce pregnancy at 36 weeks because the baby cannot survive. That is not an abortion. It is induced labor something that pretty much can’t be outlawed no matter who is on the Supreme Court.
“Nobody has business doing what I just said. Doing that as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth. Nobody has that.”
Apparently, no one has told Trump that doctors can and do perform c-sections safely all over the US and will continue to do so.
Beyond Trump’s complete cluelessness about how 1/3 of babies in the U.S. are currently delivered, there other problems with his response. The term “partial birth abortions” is purely political, not medical.It created by the National Right to Life Committee. It’s used primarily to perpetuate misconceptions around late-term abortions like that “the baby is ripped from the womb.”
Late term abortions, which do not occur one or two days before birth, constitute only 1.2% of total abortions. Women seek out this option either due to fetal anomalies or because the pregnancy may threaten the patient’s life.
Clinton showed understanding and compassion for the realities of the few women who do get late-term abortions face:
“The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heart breaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy, get worst news one can get—that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term, or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. so you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.”