Fact Check: Pete Buttigieg Falsely Claims Very Late-Term Abortions Occur Due to ‘Devastating’ Problem

Pete Buttigieg
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

CLAIM: A Democrat who promotes abortion on demand at any time during pregnancy, Pete Buttigieg claimed most abortions that occur very late in pregnancy are due to some “devastating news” the mother has just heard and then she faces a decision about whether to terminate her baby’s life.

VERDICT: FALSE

During the 2016 presidential race, failed Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton brought the same false claim forward once again and it has been repeated continually by the abortion industry and their allies in politics and the media.

The problem with the claim is that abortionists themselves have been saying it is false for decades.

According to a 1997 report in the Los Angeles Times, Ron Fitzsimmons, former executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted partial birth abortions were not that rare.

“The abortion rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it and so, probably, does everyone else,” Fitzsimmons said, adding that he “lied through [his] teeth” during a Nightline interview when he said partial-birth abortions were rarely performed and only due to fetal anomalies and serious health risks to the mother.

Murdered abortionist George Tiller told National Abortion Federation attendees in 1995:

We have some experience with late terminations; about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years.

“That equates to a mere eight percent of Tiller’s late-term patients who aborted because their babies were diagnosed prenatally with a health condition,” pro-life organization Live Action observed.

study released in 2013 by the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute also found that women who were seeking both first-trimester and late-term abortions provided the same reasons for delaying the procedure, including “not knowing about the pregnancy,” “trouble deciding about the abortion,” and “disagreeing about the abortion with the man involved.”

The study concluded that “most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

A 2018 report for the Congressional Research Service noted that Dr. Diana Greene Foster, professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said abortions for fetal anomaly “make up a small minority of later abortion” and that, due to inadequate data, those for endangerment to the life of the mother are even more difficult to describe.

Only a year ago, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen was seen repeating the same falsehood:

Wen repeatedly made the claim that the procedure is performed in the third trimester of pregnancy due to “severe fetal abnormalities” or “serious risks to the woman’s health.”

In late 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported nearly 13,000 fully developed babies who would be able to survive outside the womb are aborted annually.

Buttigieg reiterated the false claim during a recent appearance on ABC’s The View, when co-host Meghan McCain asked the Democrat presidential candidate about his view of partial-birth abortion.

“My point is it shouldn’t be up to a government official to draw the line,” Buttigieg said. “It should be up to the woman.”

McCain then asked, “So if a woman wanted to invoke infanticide after a baby was born, you’d be comfortable with that?”

Buttigieg replied, “Does anybody seriously think that’s what these cases are about?”

He continued:

Think about the situation. If this is a late-term situation, then by definition, it’s one where a woman was expecting to carry the pregnancy to term. Then she gets the most, perhaps, devastating news of her life. We’re talking about families that may have picked out a name, maybe assembling a crib, and they learn something, excruciating, and are faced with this terrible choice. And I don’t know what to tell them, morally, about what they should do. I just know that I trust, and her decision, medically or morally, isn’t going to be any better because the government is commanding her to do it.

After hearing Buttigieg’s response, McCain responded, “Quite frankly, that answer was just as radical as I thought it was, sorry.”

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