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1,485 vs. 352: Abortions at or After 21 Weeks Outnumbered Homicides in NYC

Terence P. Jeffrey
By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 29, 2019 | 6:25 PM EDT

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.-N.Y.), speaking at Barnard College in New York City, Jan. 7, 2019. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)

The number of babies aborted at a gestational age of 21 weeks or later in New York City in 2015 outnumbered homicide victims in that city that year by 1,485 to 352, according to the latest abortion data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the homicide data for that year published by the New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

While there were approximately 0.96 people per day victimized by “murder and non-negligent manslaughter” in New York City in 2015, there were approximately 4.1 babies at 21-weeks gestational age or older who were aborted per day in the same city.

Despite this, the New York Times ran a story on Sunday that said abortions occurring at 21 weeks or later in the United States are “rare.” It referenced and linked to another story the Times had published on Feb. 6 that referred to abortions occurring at 21 weeks or later as “very rare.”

The story on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump for what it called “the latest in a long string of incendiary statements from the president on abortion.”

The Feb. 6 story criticized Trump for things he said about abortion in his State of the Union Address. These statements from Trump included: “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world.”

And: “To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”

Trump’s statement about New York lawmakers referred to the “Reproductive Health Act” that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in January. In its Feb. 6 story, the New York Times summarized that law this way: “The new state law says a health provider may perform an abortion in the state before 24 weeks--and later if the fetus is not considered viable or if the procedure is considered necessary to protect the woman's life or health. Those are all similar to stipulations made by the Supreme Court.”

In fact, in its 1973 opinion in Doe v. Bolton, which was released at the same time as Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court broadly defined the “health” consideration needed to justify an abortion to include such things as “physical, emotional, psychological, familial” factors “and the woman's age.”

Neither the Times story published in February nor the one published Sunday cited the actual number of late-term abortions that took place in the United States or in New York City in 2015.

In its story published Feb. 6, the Times said: “How common is it? Very rare. The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 1.3 percent of abortions performed in the United States in 2015 occurred in or after the 21st week of pregnancy.”

In its April 28 story, which linked to the Feb. 6 story, the Times said: “The New York Times has previously fact-checked these claims, finding that late-term abortions are rare.”

The CDC data the New York Times referenced in its Feb. 6 story, when it said “about 1.3 percent of abortions performed in the United States in 2015 occurred in or after the 21st week of pregnancy,” was published in Table 7 of the CDC’s report, “Abortion Surveillance—United States, 2015.”

That report, released on Nov. 23, 2018, includes the most recent abortion data published by the CDC.

Table 7 lists the number of abortions performed by gestational age in 39 states and New York City, which were the 40 jurisdictions that reported their 2015 abortions by gestational age to the CDC.

A footnote attached to Table 7 says eleven states and the District of Columbia were not included in the table’s data on abortions by gestational age because, as the CDC put it, they “did not report, did not report by gestational age, or did not meet reporting standards.” These non-reporting states included California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York State, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Unlike New York State, which did not report its abortions by gestational age, New York City did.

In New York City and the 39 states that reported their abortions by gestational age, there were 428,042 total abortions at a known gestational age in 2015, according to the CDC.

Of these, 5,597 were performed on babies 21-weeks gestational age or older.

The 5,597 babies aborted at 21-weeks gestational age or older equaled 1.3 percent of the total of 428,042 babies aborted in the 39 states and New York City that reported their abortions by gestational age.

In New York City, there were 63,610 total abortions at a known gestational age in 2015. Of these, 1,485—or 2.3 percent--were performed on babies 21-weeks gestational age or older.

The 1,485 babies aborted at 21-weeks gestational age or older in New York City in 2015 equaled about 4.1 per day in a 365-day year.

Both the New York City Police Department and the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division have reported the number of “murders and non-negligible manslaughters”—n.b. homicides—committed in New York City in 2015. They both reported it was 352.

Therefore, for each person victimized by a homicide in New York City in 2015 (352), there were 4.2 babies (1,485) 21-weeks gestational age or older who were killed in that same city in what the New York Times called a “very rare” abortion.

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