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“No hard numbers back up Clinton’s comment that late-term abortions ‘are because of medical necessity’” Factchecker concludes

by | Oct 26, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion Hillary Clinton and "Face the Nation" moderator, John Dickerson

Pro-abortion Hillary Clinton and “Face the Nation” moderator, John Dickerson

Back in September we wrote about the evasive response pro-abortion former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave to John Dickerson, moderator of Face the Nation.”  I wrote

Host John Dickerson asked the frontrunner for her party’s presidential nomination, “Do you support a federal limit on abortion at any stage of pregnancy?”

I watched her feint, duck, avoid the question, and filibuster. Conclusion? No, Clinton doesn’t believe in placing any limitation, whether “federal” or otherwise, on the unfettered right to abort at any time or any reason.

Well the Florida Times Union’s Carole Fader has fact-checked on a specific part of Clinton’s meandering answer: “Did Hillary Clinton say late-term abortions ‘are because of medical necessity’”?

Here’s the setting, as described by Fader, the Clinton campaign’s repositioning of her answer, and Fader’s tentative conclusion:

Clinton answered that this was a painful question, then went on to discuss the medical need for late-term abortions, reported.

Clinton responded: “I think that the kind of late-term abortions that take place are because of medical necessity. And, therefore, I would hate to see the government interfering with that decision.”

When asked her campaign about her statement, a spokesman said that she meant that many late-term abortions — not all or even most — are because of medical reasons.

But her statement sounded as if most, if not all, late-term abortions are medically necessary. And the available evidence does not support that, found.

Here are just a few of many considerations. (You can read the complete analysis at here.)

First, by way of preface, do you think Clinton has ever given an answer on “late-term abortions” that did not have the same kind of sweeping language? I cannot answer that definitely, but my strong suspicion is that Clinton has faithfully hued to the line that suggests that virtually all “late-term” abortions are performed because of “medical necessity.” This presumably refers (as Fader suggests) to “either a severe fetal anomaly or a threat to the life of the mother.”

But as NRLC has demonstrated, this is not true. Any guesses if Clinton will go out of her way to “clarify” her comment to Dickerson?

Second, Fader goes to a pro-abortion source for an answer to why women have late-term abortions–“the Guttmacher Institute’s peer-reviewed journal, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.”

She notes that a study published there in 2013 concluded that “[i]n many ways, women who had later abortions [after 20 weeks] were similar to those who obtained first-trimester procedures.” (Which have to do with such considerations as finances, stability of the relationship with the father, compounded, in this case, by an extended denial that she is pregnant.)

Fader says that while the study “did not include women who sought later-term abortions due to fetal anomaly or maternal life endangerment,” the study “did at least illustrate that there are women getting abortions after 20 weeks who do so for non-medical reasons.”

Third, Fader questioned one of the authors of that paper–Prof. Diana Greene Foster, who responded by email. Foster works at what NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon calls “the nation’s abortion training academy”–the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health–and would be loathe to admit the real reasons for late-term abortion. Fader writes that Foster

told in an email that “[t]here aren’t good data on how often later abortions are for medical reasons.” She said based on limited research and discussions with researchers in the field that abortions for fetal anomaly “make up a small minority of later abortions,” and that those for life endangerment are even harder to characterize.

Her “explanation” for the latter was these women would be treated in hospitals, not abortion clinics, making the numbers “harder to obtain.”

So what does Fader conclude? “No hard numbers back up Clinton’s comment that late-term abortions ‘are because of medical necessity.’”

A thought. If you read any of the four or five stories I wrote based on interviews given by abortionist Susan Robinson (one of a handful of abortionists who publicly admit to performing abortions 30 weeks and later), it’s clear that (a) the “criteria” for abortion this late in pregnancy is very ambiguous; (b) there is a considerable “margin of error” in dating babies this advanced; and (c) “Some are having their first abortion, some are having their second or third. You can’t categorise them.” [See, for example, here and here.]

Which brings you full circle to the conclusion drawn by Foster et al.: “[i]n many ways, women who had later abortions [over 20 weeks] were similar to those who obtained first-trimester procedures.”

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Categories: Hillary Clinton