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By | November 9, 2023

11:26 p.m. ET, November 8, 2023

Fact Check: Tim Scott on the 15-week federal limit on abortion

By Daniel Dale and Jen Christensen of CNN

In advocating for a 15-week federal limit on abortion, Sen. Tim Scott said during Wednesday’s Republican debate that he “would not allow states like California, Illinois or New York to have abortions up to ‘on the day of birth’.

Facts first: This requires context. California, Illinois and New York do not allow unrestricted abortion throughout pregnancy. Each of these states bans abortion after a certain point, although they then allow some exceptions to protect the health of the pregnant person. When it comes to infanticide, killing a child after birth is not legal in any state.

It is possible that Scott was suggesting that, without a federal law imposing a national limit on abortion, these Democratic-led states would remove all limits on abortion. in the future. But his wording leaves open the impression that he is saying that these states today have no limits, and that is not the case.

California And Illinois both allow abortion up to fetal “viability,” meaning the point at which the fetus can survive outside the uterus with or without medical assistance – often considered around 23 or 24 weeks — and then when the abortion is necessary to protect “the life or health” of the patient; their laws echo the language of the now overturned Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade decision, which required “life or health” exceptions after viability. New York specifies that abortion is illegal after 24 weeks, except when the fetus is not viable or when the abortion is necessary to protect “the life or health” of the pregnant person; Under a 2019 New York state law, abortion is never treated as a crime.

A few preservatives object to the presence of “life or health” exceptions in abortion laws, arguing that the “health” part of these exceptions is so broad that it essentially allows abortion at any time. But the statement about “abortion on demand” falsely suggests that anyone can demand an abortion in these states at any time and for any reason.

It should also be noted that a tiny percentage of abortions are performed at 24 weeks or later.

According to data released by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 0.9% of abortions declared in 2020 occurred at 21 weeks or more. (Some of these abortions occur due to serious health risks or fatal fetal abnormalities.) In contrast, 80.9% of abortions reported in 2020 were performed before 10 weeks, 93.1% before 14 weeks and 95.8% before 16 weeks.

There are cases in which parents decide to use palliative care for some babies who are born with conditions that will kill them and give them only minutes, hours or days to live. It’s just not the same as killing the baby.

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