Democrats Lie About Late-Term Abortion To Make Themselves Feel Better

Published March 27, 2024

The Federalist

Even enthusiasts for baby-killing want to feel good about themselves. 

This basic psychological impulse is why a pair of Democrats lied during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee exchange about abortion. Responding to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Peter Welch of Vermont asserted that “late-term abortions are very rare, and it’s almost always — really probably always — where there’s a medical emergency and the life of the woman is imperiled.”

Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois added that women “need” late-term abortions in cases of “maternal health endangerment; diagnosis of severe fetal abnormality which didn’t show up or develop until late in the pregnancy; restrictive state laws that made it difficult for a woman to get an abortion earlier in pregnancy.” As Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out, the CDC has collected no such data.

Furthermore, we know that late-term abortions are routinely done for elective reasons. Last year, The Atlantic profiled abortionist Warren Hern, who specializes in late-term abortions and will do them at any point in pregnancy, for any reason. He estimates that at least half of the late-term abortions he commits are elective, and he even admitted to committing a third-trimester abortion for sex selection.

Similarly, this year, The New Yorker published a puff piece about a Maryland abortion mill that commits abortions well into the third trimester — and the piece quotes one of the founders complaining that they don’t do them even into the ninth month. The story makes it clear that many, if not most, of that facility’s late-term abortions are done for elective reasons; the article offered examples ranging from relationship problems to one woman who just didn’t realize she was pregnant until she was 30 weeks along. 

These are not obscure or right-wing sources, but flagship publications of pro-abortion liberalism, and their reporting is clear that elective, late-term abortions are routine in at least some facilities. Nonetheless, supporters of unrestricted abortion, including in the Senate, regularly pretend they never happen.

This denial is not just politically expedient, it is also psychologically necessary. Late-term abortions are so obviously evil that most abortion supporters are incapable of admitting the truth about them; it is hard to think well of oneself while defending the targeted dismemberment of healthy, viable babies. Of course, as a matter of science and reason, we know that every abortion violently ends an innocent human life. But this is undeniable in the case of late-term abortions, where only a trip through the birth canal separates a legal nonperson with no rights from a legal person whose killing is regarded as especially heinous. 

No wonder abortion supporters prefer to pretend that elective, late-term abortions never happen, even though The Atlantic and The New Yorker have documented them as a regular part of the abortion industry. Of course, abortion proponents cannot fully hide the horrible reality, even from themselves, as Durbin demonstrated by his comment about women getting late-term abortions because they have difficulty obtaining earlier ones. He half admits the terrible truth, while deflecting blame by insinuating that late-term abortions are really the fault of abortion opponents. 

This is logically ridiculous and morally reprehensible — as if abortion is something a person should just be able to get a raincheck on for any point of pregnancy — and it thereby betrays the guilty conscience of a man who will not forthrightly defend what he actually supports.

A similar dynamic is evident in Welch’s assertion that late-term abortions are very rare. This is a dubious claim, for more than 10,000 of them are committed in the United States each year. Nonetheless, even if this can be described as “very rare” on a percentage basis, raising the point reveals a guilty conscience. After all, if there is nothing objectionable about late-term abortions, then why should we care about how many there are? 

Senators are not renowned for their moral insight and sensitivity, but even these two still know abortion is horrible and that late-term abortions are undeniably, gruesomely so. We all know this; in the age of ultrasound, it is impossible to ignore the humanity of the unborn. Yet Durbin, Welch, and the Democrat Party champion killing babies whose in-utero pictures we share via text and social media, and whose fingers and toes we can count in some of those pictures. No wonder they resort to evasion, obfuscation, and misinformation as they attempt to resolve the dissonance between their normal human desire to see themselves as basically good and the reality that they deliberately enable and encourage atrocities. 

They are devoted to abortion on demand even though they know it is evil. And so they, and many others, make excuses for it, defending abortion as necessary for women’s equality and advancement, bodily autonomy, or (if they are especially honest) for sexual liberation. And having accepted that something — whether money, status, promiscuity, or something else — is more important than human lives in utero, they will of course allow abortion on demand until birth.

They may, like these senators, lie about it to themselves and the rest of us, but at some level, they know. We all know.

Nathanael Blake, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His primary research interests are American political theory, Christian political thought, and the intersection of natural law and philosophical hermeneutics. His published scholarship has included work on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Russell Kirk and J.R.R. Tolkien. He is currently working on a study of Kierkegaard and labor. As a cultural observer and commentator, he is also fascinated at how our secularizing culture develops substitutes for the loss of religious symbols, meaning and order.

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