Other resources

Other resources

Below are additional resources related to later abortion, including tools for educating policy makers, later abortion testimonies, and more.

Resources for educating policymakers considering a 20 week/later abortion ban

Resources for educating policymakers considering a methods ban (D&E ban)

Talking about "later" abortion

Communications about what has become known as “later” abortion has been too often framed by those who want to take away a woman’s decision making when it comes to her health. As restrictions such as method bans and 20-week bans continue to be proposed, here are some suggestions for ways to move the discussion into more favorable frameworks, increase awareness about the harmful impact of these restrictions while avoiding messages that further stigmatize abortion:

Emphasize the core value of pregnant people's health. While health is a core value on many abortion issues, it is much more dominant when people consider abortion after 12 weeks.

  • Example: “A pregnant person's health should guide important medical decisions throughout her pregnancy, including whether to have an abortion as her pregnancy progresses.”

Move away from the phrase “later” abortion. The term elicits an immediate and visceral negative reaction from many audiences. Use other language to raise awareness and connect with people on this issue. Some examples to consider using: “as a pregnancy progresses,” “at different points in pregnancy,” “throughout a pregnancy,” and “after 12 weeks.”

Answer “Why later?” not “Why an abortion?” Detailing the reasons a woman has an abortion often leads to judgment rather than empathy. Instead, assert that a woman has made the decision to have an abortion.

  • Example: “When a woman has decided to end her pregnancy, it is important that she have access to safe medical care.” 

Because most people lack awareness of why a woman would seek an abortion after 12 weeks, it is essential to establish:

  • It is not always possible for a woman to get an abortion when she would like to or once she has made her decision; and
  • Examples of the many barriers and restrictions, not in her control, that can stand in the way of getting an abortion.

Connect individual bans with other barriers to access. Talking about abortion after 12 weeks in a broader context and connecting current restrictions to other barriers to abortion brings the focus back to the experience of the woman.

Later abortion testimonies

The links below are testimonies from later abortion providers, patients, and advocates.

Disability justice and later abortion

In the United States, a culture of ableism and a lack of attention to disability justice has at times separated disability rights from reproductive rights, when in fact these issues are intertwined in many ways.  Reproductive justice and disability justice share many values, including recognizing the necessity of removing barriers to care and expanding rights for everyone. These rights include the right to sexual expression, the right to have children (if desired) and to have the support system necessary to raise these children with dignity, and the right to end an unwanted pregnancy.

People with disabilities may be characterized in the media and popular culture as asexual and/or unable to be sexually active or become parents. Furthermore, people with disabilities have a history of being sterilized without their consent and are often discouraged from having children.1 Additionally, when a fetal diagnosis is made and expected to result in serious disability, the assumption is often that the family will want to end the pregnancy.

Every person has the right to be supported in their decision about whether to become pregnant and how to manage their pregnancy. It is critical that those working to protect and expand access to abortion and those working to protect and expand the rights of people who are differently-abled collaborate to ensure everyone can exercise their right to a safe, healthy, and pleasurable sexual and reproductive life.

Recently, anti-abortion activists have tried to pass bans that prohibit abortion in cases of fetal diagnoses that are expected to cause disabilities. Ohio passed a law (currently being challenged) banning abortion in cases with a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Similar bills were introduced in other states in the 2018 legislative session. These so-called “disability bans” threaten all people’s reproductive rights by arbitrarily restricting abortion access and limiting a pregnant person’s ability to decide what is best for themselves and their family. Although these bans claim to promote the rights of people with disabilities, in fact all they do is take away the right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy. These laws, and the anti-abortion activists promoting these bans, do nothing to ensure that families have the resources they need to support all of their children, including those with special needs, and do not build support for health care and services that are universally accessible, all of which are a core focus of disability rights activists. As fetal diagnoses generally occur in the second trimester of pregnancy, it is critical that advocates for abortion rights and the disability community build strong coalitions together to defeat these bans. These partnerships are critical to promoting and protecting abortion access in the second trimester and later, and to ensuring all people can make the best decisions for themselves and their families throughout pregnancy.



1. Stern, Alexandra M, Eugenic Nation Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America, UC Press Dec 2015.

The myth of "fetal pain"

Medical professionals have not reached a firm agreement upon a definite point at which a fetus begins to feel pain. Research demonstrates that the neural pathways required to feel pain do not fully develop in a fetus until the third trimester of pregnancy. [1]  Although there is no conclusive evidence that a fetus could feel pain at 22 weeks LMP, many US state legislatures prevent women from accessing abortion at that point, or later, in a pregnancy.[2] The fact sheets and summary linked below outline the current scientific evidence and challenge the existence of "fetal pain".

Key articles:

The science of viability

Viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside of a woman's body, has not been clearly established in the legal or medical communities. Nevertheless, as of 2019, 17 states have banned abortion at various points in pregnancy based on unsupported theories about viability.[2]In a survey of labor and delivery practices of over 1000 US obstetrician-gynecologists, they identified 24 weeks LMP to be the point at which they considered a fetus to be viable.[3]

Key articles:

Mental health and abortion

Although sound research has demonstrated that having an abortion does not cause depression or any other mental illness, this inaccurate idea has been used as a scare tactic by those opposed to abortion.[4] The materials below summarize the current research, demonstrate the absence of a link between abortion and mental illness, and clarify the difference between mental illness and a transient emotional response to a life event.

Key articles:

Abortion and breast cancer

Although there is no research that shows a relationship between incidence of breast cancer and having an abortion, those opposed to abortion continue to claim that abortion is harmful to women’s health to deter women from seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy.  The materials below summarize the current research and demonstrate the absence of a link between abortion and breast cancer.

Key articles:


1Fabrizi L, Slater R, Worley A, Meek J, Boyd S, Olhede S,  Fitzgerald M. A shift in sensory processing that enables the developing human brain to discriminate touch from pain. Current Biology. 2011; 21(18): 1552-1558

2Guttmacher Institute. State policies on later abortions. State Policies in Brief. January 1, 2019. Accessed: January 10, 2019

3Morgan MA, Goldenberg RL, Schulkin J. Obstetrician-gynecologists' practices regarding preterm birth at the limit of viability. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. 2008; 21(2): 115-121

4. Charles VE, Polis CB, Sridhara SK, Blum RW. Abortion and long-term mental health outcomes: a systematic review of the evidence.Contraception. 2008; 78(6): 436-450