During the final presidential debate, the moderator asked Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about her thought on abortion policies and timing for such procedures. This opened the discussion about abortion, and Donald Trump dismissed Clinton’s statements with a considerably graphic language.

The question was precise: “How far you believe the right to abortion goes.” It was made to Clinton considering her prior statements about reproductive rights and abortion laws. Trump was asked about his thought on Clinton’s perspective about abortion policies.

Donald Trump
Republican candidate Donald Trump at the final presidential debate held on October 19, 2016, at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Image credit:

“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, right on the final day. I’m not okay with that,” said Trump in response to Clinton’s considerations.

Indeed, Trump showed his misunderstanding about abortion as a medical procedure as well as his ignorance regarding abortion policies in the United States. An abortion cannot be performed at nine months of pregnancy.

Late termination of gestation or post-viability abortion is a complex process that can be conducted after the 2oth week of pregnancy. No pregnancies are viable before the 21st week.

This type of abortion is mostly considered when a problem is diagnosed late in pregnancy, whether involving the health of the fetus or the mother’s. In some cases, the mother could die while giving birth or her life could be at severe risk when carrying the pregnancy to term.

Even when a late-term abortion can end the pregnancy in a stage of the gestation when the fetus is viable to survive outside the uterus (after the 21st week, for example), the procedure can not be performed in the 9th month. There is not such thing as a ninth month abortion.

In such cases, what is performed is a Cesarean Section, a common and safe procedure to deliver babies, performed in more than a million women every year. Such action is certainly not an abortion. Killing a child or intentionally not providing them health care during the birth is illegal.

Problems with the original question

Some experts in the obstetric field have pointed out that even the original question showed inaccuracies and ignorance about abortion and pregnancies. The term used in the initial context of the question was “partial-birth” but that is not a medical term for late-term abortions.

Partial birth is a rare procedure called dilation and evacuation, performed when the fetus cannot live due to a fatal abnormality. In this particular procedure, the fetus is partially pulled through the birth canal and often comes out lifeless.

Only nine states, including Washington D.C.,  have no restrictions on abortion timing, but the rest of the country has produced laws and regulations about late-term abortions.  In the United States, the most common limit to perform an abortion is viability.

Only fewer than two percent of all abortions in the country are conducted in a late term. Singapore, for example, allows abortion at the 24th week of pregnancy, while other countries like Croatia, Belgium, Russia, and France forbid abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy.

Hillary Clinton, as a Democrat, encourages lawmakers and authorities to protect reproductive rights of women, as well as considering the health of the mother the priority. She stated that these kinds of decisions are part of the personal sphere of choice-making and the American government should not be involved in such delicate matters.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, kept the conservative perspective and rejected abortion in all terms.

Source: The Washington Post