By description, the partial birth abortion might just be one of the most gruesome medical procedures there is today. A doctor will initiate the birth of the child, but stop the birthing process before it is completed. Then the fetus or baby is killed at that point before it is fully born. This is often referred to as a late-term abortion by those critical of the practice, but could theoretically be performed at any point in a pregnancy where a child could be viably born.
Facts About Partial Birth Abortions
1. It is believed that about 2,200 partial birth abortions are performed every year in the U.S., or about 0.2% of 1.3 million abortions (as of 2016).
2. One doctor, Dr. William Rashbaum, wrote Congress in 1996 and stated that he had performed 19,000 late-term abortions from 1979-1996.
3. In 2011, approximately 1.06 million abortions took place in the U.S., down from an estimated 1.21 million abortions in 2008.
4. The total number of abortions that are believed to be partial birth abortions annually: 0.2%.
5. California leads the nation in abortions with an average of 181,000 per year. Wyoming comes in last, averaging barely 100 per year.
6. In 2011, unmarried women accounted for 85.5% of all abortions.
7. Women living with a partner to whom they are not married account for 25% of abortions, but only about 10% of women in the population.
8. Most partial birth abortions occur between 15-26 weeks gestation.
9. 51% of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25.
10. In 2011, adolescents under 15 years obtained just .04% of all abortions performed, but had the highest abortion ratio, 817 abortions for every 1,000 live births.
11. African American women are 3.7x more likely to obtain an abortion than women who are Caucasian.
12. The abortion rate for women who are on Medicaid is 3x higher when compared to women in the general population.
13. 37% of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant. Another 28% identify themselves as being Catholic.
14. About 75% of women who decide to have an abortion state that they decided on having one because they don’t feel like they could properly care for a child.
15. 12% of women have a health problem included as one of the primary reasons why they decided to have an abortion.
16. Just 1% of women who have an abortion say that they were survivors of a rape.
17. According to the CDC, only 1.4% of the total number of abortions in the US every year occur after 21 weeks. Just 7.3% occur between 14-20 weeks.
18. The most common time to have an abortion in the US is at 6 weeks of fetal age or earlier.
Partial birth abortions were banned in 2003 when Congress passed a bill that President George W. Bush signed prohibited the practice. It was challenged immediately, but the Supreme Court upheld the law in 2007. Doctors who perform a partial birth abortion can be fined and imprisoned for up to 2 years if found guilty of the practice.
The horror stories of the partial birth abortion of having attendants stab the child with a pair of sharp scissors are thankfully mostly a myth. The statistics show that this procedure is relatively rare in the world today.
Is the Ban on Partial Birth Abortions Working?
The reality of the 2003 law that bans partial birth abortions is that it has simply changed how late-term abortions are being performed. Now doctors are careful to induce fetal death before initiating the procedure to make sure they and their staff are in compliance. This process usually involves the injection of a saline solution directly into the heart of the fetus.
Another reality to consider is that partial birth abortions have always been a relatively small. So small, in fact, that official numbers have never been tracked. At best, there are some self-reporting numbers that showed more than 2,200 partial birth abortions occurred in 1990, which corresponds to the year in the US that set a record for the number of abortions.
A better question to ask is this: why are abortion rates persistently high in the United States compared to other developed nations? The answer might just lie in how sex ed is taught to today’s students. The prevailing public school educational process teaches abstinence only, but only 2 of the 13 approved programs are even accurate with what is being taught. Higher uses of contraceptives always corresponds to lower abortion rates.
By teaching everyone how to properly use contraceptives and protect their sexual health, the partial birth abortion statistics may become something to stop worrying about.