When Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested during Wednesday night’s debate that current abortion law allows one to “rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day,” doctors were shocked — and dismayed.
“That is not happening in the United States,” said Dr. Aaron B. Caughey, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University. “It is, of course, such an absurd thing to say. I’m unaware of anyone that’s terminating a pregnancy a few days prior to delivery of a normal pregnancy.”
In situations where a mother’s life may be at risk in the final days before a birth, doctors said, the baby is not aborted but rather delivered — either through induced labor or an emergency C-section. And in cases where a fetus is found to be nonviable, mothers late in pregnancy must choose between delivering a stillborn baby or inducing labor early. “Would you call that an abortion?” asked Caughey. “I think most of us wouldn’t use that language. We would say induction of labor for a nonviable pregnancy.”
Trump’s claim was meant as a stab at Hillary Clinton’s voting record — as a senator, Clinton voted against a federal ban on late-term abortions. But only 1.3 percent of abortions in the United States occur at 21 weeks or later, and 43 states have their own restrictions on abortion after a specific time in the pregnancy. And for some women who said they did have late-term abortions — because, for instance, they discovered that their baby would survive outside the womb for a few hours at the longest — Trump’s comments were construed not only as ignorant and misinformed, but also as a personal attack.
Read the full story at The New York Times.