Claim: Republicans have said that President Joe Biden and the Democrats support late-term abortion, including up until the moment of birth.
Rating: This is MOSTLY FALSE. Biden supports Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal in the United States, and allowed abortions up until about 24 weeks (six months) of pregnancy. After that point, abortion is only allowed in situations where the woman’s life is threatened or if the fetus has birth defects that would not let it live outside of the womb. Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, making abortion illegal in 13 states.
Republicans have repeatedly claimed that President Joe Biden and the Democrats support late-term abortion, and want to pass legislation that would, allow “abortions on-demand up until the moment of birth.” This is false for the following reasons:
- Biden has never explicitly expressed support for later abortions.
Although a practicing Catholic, Biden’s own personal views on abortion rights has evolved. In 1974, as a senator, Biden said that a woman shouldn’t have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body.” But in 2012, Biden said that the government doesn’t have “a right to tell other people that women, they can’t control their body.”
- Biden supports Roe v. Wade, which does not allow late abortions except when pregnancy threatens the woman’s life or there are fetal defects.
Biden supports Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Roe v. Wade established that abortion should be permissible until about 24 weeks, when the fetus can survive outside the womb, usually with medical assistance. This allows abortions to occur after 24 weeks if a woman’s life or health is threatened, or if the fetus has birth defects that render it unable to survive outside of a woman’s body. Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, making abortion illegal in 13 states and severely limited in 5 states.
- Abortion during the third trimester is exceedingly rare; less than 1% take place after 24 weeks.
According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1.2% of abortions are performed after 21 weeks. Daniel Grossman, an OB/GYN at University of California, San Francisco, reported that less than 1% of all abortions take place after 24 weeks, and many are performed due to the fetus having a fatal condition or when the pregnancy puts the woman’s life in serious risk. These birth defects can include a severe malformation of the brain, which cannot be detected prior to 21 weeks.
- Abortion “until the moment of birth” does not occur, and the term “late-term abortion” is medically incorrect and not accepted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Katie L. Watson, a professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said that, “No patient ever asks a physician to end her pregnancy ‘the moment before birth,’ and no physician would agree to do it.” An abortion at birth is actually infanticide, and is illegal.
The phrase “late-term abortion” is commonly used to describe abortions after about 21 weeks. However, it is not an accepted medical term, and physicians have criticized the phrase’s implication that the abortion is occurring at “late-term” of pregnancy, which is actually 41-42 weeks. Abortions at 41-42 weeks do not occur.
Democrats believe that the issue of whether or not a woman should have an abortion should be a decision made between her and her doctor, and the government should not interfere with the health decisions of private citizens. In addition, Biden has promised that if Democrats get a majority in Congress after the 2022 Midterm Elections, “The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade. And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”
Conclusion: The claim that Biden and the Democrats support late-term abortion has been determined to be MOSTLY FALSE. Biden supports legal and safe abortion in America. Late-term abortion, which is a medically inaccurate term, is allowed in many states only when there are drastic birth defects with the fetus, or if the woman’s life is at risk.