Why does Hillary deny medical science when it comes to abortion, and why doesn’t the media call her out on it?
Wednesday afternoon the House passed a bill designed to set the cut-off for late term abortions to 20 weeks. Without responding directly to the passage of the bill, Hillary Clinton posted a tweet signaling her general support for abortion:
When it comes to women’s health, there are two kinds of experts: women and their doctors. True 40+ years ago, true today. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 13, 2015
Hillary’s formulation stresses four decades of continuity, but the fact is that what those experts say about fetal viability has changed over the past 40 years. That is one of the factors driving the current push for a 20-week ban on late-term abortions.
When Roe v. Wade became law just about 40 years ago, the point of viability—when the baby could survive outside the womb (with medical assistance)—was generally considered to be around 28 weeks, though it was understood it could be as early as 24 weeks in some cases. Forty years later, no one would argue that the point of viability is 28 weeks. In fact, a baby born at that point today would have a nearly 95 percent chance of survival. So, where is the point of viability today?
Last week, the NY Times published a story headlined, “Premature Babies May Survive at 22 Weeks if Treated, Study Finds.” The story is based on the findings of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that babies born at 23 weeks have a good chance of survival if given medical treatment. About a third of those given medical care lived, and about half of those did not have significant complications.
Babies born at 22 weeks are still more of a long shot because their lungs are not quite as developed. Still, with treatment, nearly a quarter of those tiny infants will survive, and about 40 percent do so without complications (while about 1/3 can still face serious complications like blindness).
The article emphasizes that doctors still disagree on exactly when it is best to intervene, but the perceived value of intervention at 23 weeks seems to be a growing point of consensus. The story notes that of the 755 23-week births covered by the study, medical treatment was given in 542 cases. That works out to a 71 percent treatment rate, and that figure is likely to continue to grow. That means the real world point of viability is now at or below the current legal cut off for late-term abortion in many states.
So it’s fair to ask Hillary, and other politicians who take the same line: Why should Americans, who overwhelmingly oppose late-term abortion, not be allowed to restrict the procedure to some time frame just below the point of viability made possible by current medical science? This is not an extremist position. On the contrary, even Kermit Gosnell’s attorney concluded, after his notorious client’s trial, that the cut off should be 16 weeks rather than 24. A 20-week cut off would place the U.S. more in line with the late-term abortion restrictions in place throughout most of Europe.
If Hillary opposes science-informed restrictions on abortion, she should explain why. Unfortunately, these are the kinds of thorny questions Democrats are rarely asked by a national media that is often in sync with her party’s views on the issue.