Rhetoric around “late-term abortion” is shaming and has to go
The reality is that the reasons for having an abortion at any point are as complex, nuanced, and self-defined as the people who make them.
The CDC reports that in 2015, very few abortions were performed between 14 and 20 weeks’ gestation (7.6%) and even fewer were performed after 21 weeks. It is these abortions that are the source of contention among many in the anti-choice community.
Interestingly, the argument to give folks access to abortion later in pregnancy always seems to require a story of fetal abnormalities, “finding out too late,” or some other virtue-based judgment. The reality is that the reasons for having an abortion at any point are as complex, nuanced, and self-defined as the people who make them. As advocates for reproductive justice, it is our job to give these people the resources they need to make the right decision for themselves- early or late.
When we look at the reasons why people have abortions at a later stage, the little data we have suggests that people often have trouble accessing abortion services early in their pregnancy. This alone speaks to the importance of improving access to family planning, giving people the information they need, and looking into all possible methods of abortion if necessary. For example, services like Women Help Women’s SASS: Self-Managed Abortion, Safe and Supported provide information about safe, self-administered medication abortion (sometimes called abortion with pills) as a potential option. You can find this information and more at abortionpillinfo.org. Above all, websites like these that provide non-judgement, evidence-based information are some of the greatest tools we can use to support each other in making the decisions that are right for us.