Women need abortions later in pregnancy for many reasons. Excellent studies have documented some of these reasons, including social trauma as the cause of the pregnancy (rape) or desire to end the pregnancy (changed life circumstance), diagnosis of fetal anomaly, and delays in finding an appropriate service provider:
- Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005
Jones RK, Zolna MRS, Henshaw SK, Finer LB. Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2008;40(1):6-16.
- Map showing access—and lack of it—to services
- Delays in request for pregnancy termination:
comparison of patients in the first and second trimesters
Kiley JW, Yee LM, Niemi CM, Feinglass JM, Simon MA. Contraception, 2010;81(5):446-451.
- Predictors of delay in each step leading to an abortion
Foster DG, Jackson RA, Cosby K, Weitz TA, Darney PD, Drey EA.Contraception, 2008;77(4):289-93.
- Risk factors associated with presenting for abortion in the second trimester
Drey EA, Foster DG, Jackson RA, Lee SJ, Cardenas LH, Darney PD.Obstetrics and Gynecology 2006;107(1):128-35.
- Timing of steps and reasons for delays in obtaining abortions in the United States
Finer LB, Frohwirth LF, Dauphinee LA, Singh S, Moore AM.Contraception, 2006;74(4):334-344.
- Who has Second-Trimester Abortions in the United States?
Jones RK, Finer LB. Contraception, 2012;85(6):544-551.
The questions of fetal pain, viability and of the effects of abortion on mental health have been subject to widespread misrepresentation of the scientific evidence. To counter this misinformation, we’ve provided a more extensive resource list on these topics. In addition, ANSIRH has launched its own research program on the social and emotional aspects of abortion.
- Changes in Abortion Provider Practices in Response to the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003”
Haddad L, Yanow S, Delli-Bovi L, Cosby K, Weitz TA. Contraception, 2009;79(5):379-84.
- Confronting Our Ambivalence; the Need for Second-Trimester Abortion Advocacy
Yanow S. Conscience, 2009;XXX(1).
- Fact sheet: What do we know about women who get later abortions?
- Lessons for the Prochoice Movement from the ‘Partial Birth Abortion’ Fight
Weitz, Tracy A. Conscience, 2012;XXXIII(1).
- Why Restrictions on Later Abortion Care Impact All of Us
Yanow, Susan. The Women’s Health Activist, July/August 2012.
A note on terminology and “late-term abortion”:
The terminology used to discuss abortions after the first trimester varies enormously. There is no agreement in the law or in the medical community about what constitutes the limit of the second trimester, for example. In scholarly journals, these abortions are variously referred to as “mid-trimester abortion,” “second-trimester abortion” (which is used to describe abortions up to 24 weeks or up to 27 weeks, depending on the writer or the state law) and late abortion. Within the mainstream media, the phrase “late-term abortion” is often used in articles about abortion policy and advocacy. These competing terms do not provide accurate clinical descriptions or contribute to public knowledge about abortion care and the differences at various stages of gestation. It is for this reason that we do not use the phrase “late-term abortion” here, and recommend against its use. Instead, we use and recommend the phrase “later abortion” to identify any pregnancy termination after 17 weeks of gestational age.