Who Gets Late-Term Abortions?

I received some pushback on my column today concerning my assertion that most women who get late-term abortions (specifically, those who get them after 20 weeks) do so because of a fetal abnormality. This is incorrect; the majority of women who get abortions after 20 weeks do so for other reasons. 

The point I was trying to make is this: Most women who seek pregnancies after 20 weeks do so because they did not have access to abortion services earlier, and those who indeed have access typically undergo the procedure so late only when there is a medical problem with the pregnancy -- one that affects the mother or the child. It's not the case, as many anti-abortion activists would have you believe, that women sit around for five months unable to make up their minds.

Eighty-seven percent of counties in the U.S. do not have clinics that provide abortion services, and limits on public funding for abortion mean that poor women often face the difficult task of paying for an abortion out of pocket. For these reasons and more, most women who get late-term abortions actually tried to get an abortion early on but were thwarted by geography and poverty. There would fewer late-term abortions if we made reproductive services available and affordable to all women, but it just goes to show the right wing isn't concerned with curbing the number of late-term abortions -- they don't want women to have that right at all.

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