Fact: Many Abortion Advocates Back Abortions Up Until Birth

Prominent figures in the pro-abortion movement, including Kamala Harris and Jen Psaki, have claimed that “no one supports abortion up until birth.” The evidence says otherwise.

Kamala Harris speaks Nov. 16, 2019, at the Democratic Party Endorsing Convention in Long Beach, California.
Kamala Harris speaks Nov. 16, 2019, at the Democratic Party Endorsing Convention in Long Beach, California. (photo: Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock)

Despite claims that nobody wants abortion up until the moment of birth, many in the abortion movement have embraced that very push.

Vice President Kamala Harris recently dismissed as a “mischaracterization” the idea that Democrats would allow abortion up until birth, but also declined to name a time in pregnancy when she believed abortion should be restricted. Despite the vice president’s dismissal of the idea of allowing abortions up until birth, some abortion advocates have explicitly embraced that stance and Harris herself has backed legislation that would allow for post-viability abortions in some cases.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Margaret Brennan asked Harris, “What week of pregnancy should abortion access be cut off?” Harris responded that “we need to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade.”

Brennan said that the ruling was “nebulous, because it was about viability, which could be anywhere between 20 to 24 weeks.” She pointed out to Harris that Republicans say that the failure to name a precise point at which they would cut off abortion access “allows Democrats to perform abortions up until, you know, birth.”

Harris said that was a “mischaracterization” and “ridiculous,” but then simply repeated that “we need to put into law the protections of Roe v. Wade” which “is about going back to where we were before the Dobbs decision.”

President Biden has also employed this language of codifying or restoring Roe and told EWTN’s Owen Jensen last October to “read” the Roe v. Wade decision when asked what limit he would support.

Despite their insistence that they simply want to restore Roe, President Biden and Vice President Harris have backed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would bar any restriction on abortion “after viability when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, it is necessary to protect the life or health of the patient.” In the bill, “viability” is also left up to the abortion provider’s “good-faith medical judgment.”

Jen Psaki, who was formerly the Biden administration’s press secretary and is now an MSNBC host, posted during the GOP primary debate last month that “no one supports abortion up until birth.”

Setting aside the fact that Psaki also backed the Women’s Health Protection Act which allows for post-viability abortions, abortion advocates in recent months have made it very clear that they support abortions up until birth.

The issue divided abortion proponents behind a ballot initiative effort in Missouri to ensure abortion access in the state’s constitution. Politico reported in April that “the local Planned Parenthood affiliate recently quit the ballot effort because most of the nearly dozen versions activists submitted to state officials propose only protecting abortion access before the fetus is viable or until 24 weeks of pregnancy.”

“We have long said that Roe was never enough, especially for marginalized communities shouldering the hardest impact of abortion bans,” Vanessa Wellbery, the vice president of policy and advocacy for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, told Politico.

“We would never advocate for a false or politically determined limit on abortion,” Pamela Merritt, the Missouri-based executive director of Medical Students for Choice said at the time. “Viability is an arbitrary line. It’s a legacy of Roe that we don’t need to resurrect.”

Jennifer Villavicencio, an OB-GYN and leader of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that “it cannot be left to any politician to decide when an obstetrician-gynecologist must stop providing evidence-based care, to determine when a doctor can save the life of a patient, or which patient has a greater need for abortion than any other.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly opposes “policymakers defining viability or using viability as a basis to limit access to evidence-based care.”

Psaki went on to claim on her show “Inside with Jen Psaki” that “abortions past the point of fetal viability do not happen often,” and in the few instances when they do happen they involve “agonizing emotional and ethical decisions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics that she cited show that about 0.9 percent or 5,500 of the 620,327 abortions that happened nationwide in 2020 occurred after 21 weeks’ gestation. This still means that thousands of babies are aborted at around the point of fetal viability every year.

Psaki showed a quote from Warren Hern, a late-term abortionist in Colorado, that “in an average week at my office, 25 to 50 percent of the patients have some serious, catastrophic fetal abnormality.” While Psaki emphasized these cases involving serious diagnoses, Hern told The Atlantic in May that “at least half, and sometimes more, of the women who come to the clinic do not have these diagnoses” of serious abnormalities. He does not care about the reason, he said, and The Atlantic noted his stance that “the viability of a fetus is determined not by gestational age but by a woman’s willingness to carry it.” He also confirmed that he had performed two sex-selective abortions: one for a woman who didn’t want a baby girl and another for a woman who didn’t want a baby son.

‘Abortion Pill’

Courts Look at the Abortion Pill, and More on the German Bishops (Dec. 16)

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a key abortion case in 2024. The nation’s highest court will weigh in on how patients can access the widely used abortion pill mifepristone. The Register’s National Correspondent Lauretta Brown brings us this story and more from the Register’s coverage of abortion in the United States. But first we get an update on what seems to be a standoff between the Vatican and German Bishops from Jonathan Liedl, who has been reporting on this ongoing story from Rome.