Donald Trump put his ham-fisted grasp of late-term abortion on full, flailing display during the final presidential debate last week.
“Well, I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby,” he said. “You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.”
Actually, no, you can’t. Trump was apparently describing a C-section, not an abortion — doctors don’t perform late-term abortions in the ninth month of pregnancy, let alone days before the birth. And we won’t even get into his jarring use of the word “rip.”
If the billionaire had bothered to actually talk to someone who’d had a late-term abortion, he might’ve encountered a story like that of Robyn, 42 — who in 2007 confronted one of the most painful decisions of her life.
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“Honestly, I screamed obscenities at the TV,” she told the Daily News of Trump’s debate remarks. “I think that was an irresponsible, callous, uninformed, ignorant comment.”
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Robyn, who asked to be identified only by her first name, made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate her pregnancy at 23 weeks after learning a water-filled cyst comprised about half her baby girl’s brain.
“I questioned our decision every step of the way. But with every test they performed, from the ultrasounds through to the MRI, the viability of the baby’s survival dropped,” she said. “My husband and I would drive in a random direction for what seemed like hours in silence and then discussing what our options were.”
The best-case scenario, she said, would have been multiple brain surgeries to alleviate pressure in the baby’s skull during “the short period she was likely to live.”
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“None of (the doctors) would tell me I should get an abortion, though. We had to completely make that decision on our own,” she added. “I was hoping one would tell me that to take the pressure off of me, and they never would.”
Robyn ultimately chose to have doctors induce labor and deliver the child. Her daughter, weighing 23 ounces, lived for 23 seconds.
If given the opportunity to confront Trump on his abortion-rights stance, Robyn said, she’d “tell him that he has no idea how deeply this decision affects every woman that has to make it, and he has no right to get between a doctor and a woman or couple on this decision.”
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’d never wish it on anyone, but I know it happens every day, and it’s just cruel and unusual punishment to force a woman to carry a baby to term for whatever the reasons,” she said. “I don’t regret my decision, but it hurts my heart every day that it had to go that way.”
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And as Trump might have learned with just an iota of research, stories like Robyn’s are also exceedingly rare: 91.4% of abortions are performed at 13 weeks or earlier, and less than 1.3% occur at 21 weeks or later, per the CDC. They’re not sought out by women who suddenly decided “never mind” at the prospect of parenthood; they most often occur due to severe birth defects.Send a Letter to the Editor