Myth Busting: Do abortions routinely take place right up until 24 weeks?

28 Jul

A guest post from our friends at Education for Choice, originally posted on their blog.

Every week EFC busts myths and take names, cutting through the misinformation, disinformation, and straight up nonsense to bring you the facts.

Abortions rarely take place later in pregnancy.  In fact, less than 2% of abortions take place after 20 weeks. Although abortion is a safe procedure overall, risks do increase with gestation, so it’s preferable for women to have abortions as early in pregnancy as possible. 90% of abortions now take place within the first 12 weeks. Early access also helps ensure women are able to access services closer to home. Women seeking abortion even after 12 weeks are often forced to travel out of their local areas to a small number of clinics around the country that offer later abortions.

For more information on later abortion, visit and Guttmacher’s Facts on Induced Abortion in the US.

3 Responses to “Myth Busting: Do abortions routinely take place right up until 24 weeks?”

  1. Dhalgren July 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Always turn to Guttmacher. They have been on a roll lately with highly statistically accurate studies regarding abortion worldwide. While D&Es at 12-16 are common (my hospital performs about 15 per week, compared to about 75 D&C clinical procedures per week), terminations after week 16, even in New York City, are not common. It is more likely for a doctor here to manage a late miscarriage than have a patient undergo an elective abortion past 16 weeks.

  2. Divine Oubliette August 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    With all of the new pre-natal testing we have nowadays and the anomaly sonogram/ultrasound screening practically ALL women receive between 16 – 22 weeks, second trimester abortions are bound to happen because we can now see into the womb, check for defects and make a decision to terminate or not before 24 weeks.

    (I don’t think many women know that while they are cooing about seeing a real baby -not the jelly bean thing you saw in the 1st trimester- that the sono tech is actually examining all of the developing organs (for atresias), spinal cord and brain stem (for Spinal Bifida, Down’s and Anencephaly), looking for amniotic bands that could sever or retard limb growth ect ect ect. If they understood that just because you made it through the 1st trimester w/o miscarriage doesn’t mean that nothing else can’t go wrong.)

    And if a termination happens after 24 weeks, hmm lets examine why a 3rd trimester abortion would happen –

    The reasons for a third-trimester abortion were:
    * In 40%, an earlier test indicated that a defect existed but not how serious it was. Doctors delayed and re-tested to see if the defect was serious enough to be life-threatening. Some genetic conditions can be mild or severe, so to prevent unnecessary abortions the doctors waited.
    * In 37%, an earlier test failed to find the serious defects that showed up later.
    * In 18%, a diagnosis for this kind of defect can’t be made until the third trimester. This often seems to include anencephaly, a fatal birth defect.
    * And in the remaining 5%, doctors or parents delayed the decision to abort. I correlated this with what I’ve read about doctors ordering yet another another test to make sure, waiting for a referral, parents not able to believe the news, having hysterics and going home, and praying for a miracle.

    And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface about how maternal health can impact the decision to have a 2nd or 3rd trimester abortion.


  1. Tweets that mention Myth Busting: Do abortions routinely take place right up until 24 weeks? | Abortion Gang -- - July 29, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by maryalicecarr and The Abortion Gang, The Abortion Gang. The Abortion Gang said: new post : Myth Busting: Do abortions routinely take place right up until 24 weeks? #prochoice […]

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