Tens of thousands of abortions occur after the 15-week mark, when babies can feel pain, a September study from the Lozier Institute found.
According to a fact sheet released this month, six percent of abortions occur either at or after the 15-week pregnancy mark, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That amounts to tens of thousands of abortions per year.
“When applied to the Guttmacher Institute’s most recent estimate of 930,160 abortions nationwide in 2020, this is approximately 55,800 abortions at 15 weeks or later each year,” the study found, although it noted that it is difficult to say definitively, as abortion statistics in the U.S. vary. States are to required to report the figures, but have different standards for doing so:
To produce a national estimate of abortions at 15 weeks or later, Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) first reviewed available state abortion reporting from all the states that report. When states reported gestational ages using broad ranges (e.g., grouping abortions at 13-15 weeks of gestation together), CLI estimated the percentage occurring at 15 weeks by using data from states that reported abortions by individual week of gestation.
However, the study surmised that five percent of abortions occur at or after the 15-week mark in pro-life states, and that figure rises to seven percent in more pro-abortion states.
The 15-week mark is particularly important, as this serves as a generally accepted marker of babies feeling pain — a point Republican lawmakers are now making, less than two months ahead of the midterm elections.
Republicans in the House, for example, last week announced companion legislation to the Senate’s Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act. The bill bases banning abortion after 15 weeks on a baby’s ability to feel pain at that point.
The bill reads in part:
In considering the use of anesthesia for invasive medical procedures performed on the fetus, evidence has concluded that from as early as 12 weeks and certainly by 15 weeks gestational age on ward, the fetus is extremely sensitive to painful stimuli, making it necessary to apply adequate analgesia and anesthesia to prevent fetal suffering.
Consequently, there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 15 weeks gestational age, if not earlier. Abortion carries significant physical and psychological risks to the pregnant woman, and these physical and psychological risks increase with gestational age.
It also points out that most abortions occurring at that point are dismemberment abortions “which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is introducing an “identical bill” in the Senate as well, as Breitbart News reported:
“Should we as a nation be aborting babies that can feel excruciating pain from an abortion?” he said, laying out his case for something to be done at the federal level. Such a proposal, he said, should say that after 15 weeks, there should be no abortion on demand except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
If America adopted such a bill, the country would actually “be in the mainstream of most everybody else in the world,” Graham continued, adding that he chose 15 weeks because “the science tells us that the nerve endings are developed to the point that the unborn child feels pain.”
While states have the ability to create their own standards following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Graham said lawmakers in Washington have the ability “to speak on this issue if we choose.”
A May Fox poll found that most Americans support banning abortion in their state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and a July Harvard poll found that 72 percent believe abortion should be illegal after 15 weeks as well.