Fact Check: Pete Buttigieg Claims Late-Term Abortions Are Due to ‘Devastating Medical News’

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CLAIM: A prior claim by failed Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has “resurfaced,” according to Newsweek, and it holds that most women decide to have very late-term abortions due to suddenly revealed “devastating medical news.”

VERDICT: False today, just as it was in the past.

Buttigieg’s past comments from 2019 and earlier this year, however, still wowed actress Meredith Salenger on Monday:

Twitter user Stephanie Clay also responded to the falsehood, calling it “the most incredible answer on late term abortions.”

“We need to be able to acknowledge that being pro birth is about control,” Clay added. “That’s it.”

As the abortion industry frets over the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Newsweek reported Buttigieg’s comments from his May 2019 Fox News town hall event with Chris Wallace have gone viral.

“Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, that there should be any limit on a woman’s right to an abortion?” Wallace asked.

“I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on when you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line,” Buttigieg said. “And I trust women to draw the line.”

“You would be okay with a woman well into the third trimester to obtain an abortion?” Wallace pressed.

Buttigieg said less than one percent of abortions occur in the third trimester of pregnancy.

“So, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation,” he continued. “If it’s that late in your pregnancy, that means almost by definition you’ve been expecting to carry it to term”:

We’re talking about women who have perhaps chosen the name, women who have purchased the crib, families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime, something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice.

That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.

The false claim that most women who have abortions into their third trimester do so because of some fetal anomaly or severe health issue of their own has been cited for decades.

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 its allies in politics and the media.

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

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.

A 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.

Former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen retold the same falsehood regarding the reasons for late-term abortions:

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 that nearly 13,000 fully developed babies who would be able to survive outside the womb are aborted annually.

Buttigieg also reiterated the false claim during an 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 repeated his claim:

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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