Can abortions be done later in pregnancy?



  • Yes, they can be, but many states (like Wisconsin) restrict late-term abortions.
  • One reason is that there is great danger to a woman’s health during and following a late-term abortion.
  • A woman may be required to travel out of state to have her late term abortion.
  • Two realities go hand in hand regarding late term abortions:
    • They are dangerous to the woman having it done, and
    • They are very expensive.

When are late term abortions done?

Late term procedures take place in the 20th week and beyond. (Normal human gestation is 40 weeks, on average). Some are performed as early as 16 weeks.

  • While all abortion procedures are designed to end the life of the embryo or fetus,
  • Late term procedures seem to be more grotesque because we tend to identify with a more-developed fetus.
  • Late term abortions take place after the time when the fetus can feel pain.
  • Finally, late term abortions are more dangerous for the health of the mother and are quite expensive.
  • Did you know that babies born as early as 21-22 weeks can live if they receive the medical help they need? This is known as the “age of viability.”

How are late term abortions performed?

Procedures for performing late-term abortions follow.  (Many people find them hard to read.)  There are three ways to perform late term abortions:

  • Pregnancy Reduction,
  • D&E (Dilation and Evacuation), and
  • Partial-Birth

Pregnancy Reduction

  • An abortion method called intracardiac injection was developed for multiple births or to end the life of a handicapped unborn.
  • At about 16 weeks, a needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and into the chest and heart of one of the fetuses.
  • A poison is injected to kill him or her.
  • The dead fetus’ body is reabsorbed by the mother’s body.
  • Sometimes this method results in the loss of all of the fetuses instead of just one or several originally planned to be aborted.
  • Injecting a drug called digoxin into the heart of the fetus to kill him or her is being done more frequently in late term abortions because it is legally required that the unborn be dead before he or she is removed from the mother’s body.  Therefore,
  • Digoxin injections are more commonplace since the Supreme Court ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion procedure is illegal unless the mother is gravely ill.

D & E (Dilation and Evacuation)

  • The doctor reaches into the uterus with a forceps, grasps a part of the live baby’s body, twists the wrist to wrench off the arm, leg, or torso, and brings out the piece until all parts of the baby are removed.
  • This is a less-frequently used method because of the challenges to performing D&E on a large fetus.

Partial-birth abortion is a procedure that was banned by a United States Supreme Court ruling on April 18, 2007.  In rare events, this procedure can be performed for a gravely ill mother. Other names for this method are “Brain Suction,” “D&X” (Dilation and Extraction), and “Intact Dilatation and Evacuation”  (D&E).  .

  • The procedure is like a breech delivery.
  • The entire fetus is delivered out of the mother’s body, except the head, which is held in the external birth canal.
  • A scissors is directly inserted into the base of the skull, and extended to widen the puncture.
  • A tube is inserted through the puncture into the skull and the brain is extracted.
  • The now-dead fetus is pulled out.

Late term abortions are chosen in an act of desperation.  Women choose this when they themselves are desperate and afraid for their lives. Whatever your problems and concerns may be, we ask you to call a Pregnancy Help Center and let them know you need help.  They can help you with resources such as temporary housing for your safety, a competent social worker, a competent physician, etc.

To find a nearby Pregnancy Help Center, visit:

Please feel welcome to contact us at 888-598-5491.

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