Analysis | Abortion before the day of birth is almost never a thing

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Today’s Edition: The House approved a short-term spending bill to avert a government shutdown this weekend. A class-action lawsuit accuses a major insurer of using an algorithm to deny patients’ requests for extended care. But first

Abortions after 21 weeks are rare and usually result from tragedy. Republicans want voters to think otherwise.

That’s one of the most common claims made by anti-abortion lawmakers: that abortion rights supporters favor allowing abortion literally until the end of pregnancy.

Frankly, I think it is unethical and immoral to allow abortions until the day of birth, Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.) said last week GOP primary debate.

At that same debate, the entrepreneur turned presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy noted that voters in his home state Ohio just passed a constitutional amendment that, he said incorrectlynow effectively codifies the right to abortion up to the moment of birth without parental consent.

The election in Ohio, in which 57 percent voters in what had recently been a red state decided to write abortion rights into the state constitution, abortion opponents protested. Additionally, Virginia voters gave Democrats control of the state legislature, effectively ousting Republicans Governor Glenn Youngkins plans to ban abortion after 15 weeks, doc Kentucky voters re-elected Democrats Governor Andy Beshear after pointing out that his Republican opponents support state abortion bans.

Overall, the election results call into question whether voters will accept even a 15-week abortion ban outside the most conservative parts of the country. Scott, the most vocal proponent of the federal 15-week ban on GOP primaries, suspended his campaign on Sunday.

But do some expectant mothers really decide to have an abortion even on the day they need it? Difficult, he says Katrina Kimport. Most women who have late-term abortions wanted their pregnancies to continue, she said, and it’s very upsetting to be mischaracterized in these public settings and belittled.

Kimport should know. Medical sociologist and professor at University of California at San Franciscoshe is one of the best experts in the country for abortions later in pregnancy, after she has performed in-depth formal interviews with more than 50 women terminating their pregnancies after 24 weeks (roughly the time when a fetus is viable outside the womb). She said she spoke informally with at least 20 other people.

(Note: there is no such thing as a late-term abortion. According to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, late term refers to the period after 40 weeks, when the pregnancy has passed full term. In 2022, the Associated Press changed its stylebook to read: Do not use the term late-term abortion.)

The number of abortions performed after viability is completely low. Just about 1 percent occur after 21 weeks, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and most of them, Kimport said, are 24 weeks ago. More than 93 percent performed by on or before 13 weeks. So what about those abortions at the time of birth?

For one thing, almost no one in the US gets an abortion that late in pregnancy. There are only three providers publicly known to offer abortion after 28 weeks, Kimport said.

Women who seek abortion later in pregnancy generally do so for two reasons, She said. One is new information: they learn something they didn’t know before about their health or the fetus, or they don’t realize they’re pregnant.

In the latter case, it’s not just teenagers. One woman Kimport interviewed was in her 40s and had a number of health problems that included taking medication with side effects that included weight fluctuations, irregular periods and nausea. She didn’t take a pregnancy test until 25 weeks.

The other main reason some women seek an abortion later in their pregnancy is because they tried to access it earlier but faced obstacles. That includes traveling to another state, scheduling appointments, raising money for the procedure, and navigating things like two-visit clinic requirements or parental involvement laws.

A late-term abortion is a big deal, both medically and financially. The later in pregnancy an abortion is performed, the more complicated and expensive it becomes. It often lasts several days, and many women go through full labor and delivery anyway. The procedure can cost as much as $30,000 late in pregnancy, according to the group Who not when, which follows later abortions. This may or may not be covered by health insurance.

For women who had such procedures, it was emotionally complicated, Kimport says. And they don’t appreciate how politicians insult their decision-making.

But that being said public support for abortion declines later in pregnancy, don’t expect anti-abortion forces to drop this particular talking point anytime soon.

KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues and is one of the key operational programs at KFF an independent source of health policy research, polling and journalism.

House passes bill to prevent government shutdown

A house approved the draft law on short-term financing yesterday, it would keep the federal government’s lights on this weekend, once again putting the issue to rest as Congress passes a bigger spending deal, The Posts Jacob Bogage and Marianna Sotomayor the report.

The House advanced the bipartisan continuing resolution ladder 336-95 votesmarking a major victory for the new speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who faced with competing demands from different factions in his party.

The bill is now headed to the Senatewhere is the majority leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.I.) said that he works with the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to move it forward as soon as possible to avoid the Saturday deadline when federal funds expire.

A closer look: The a two-step proposal would fund some government agencies and programs at their current level until January 2, including state community health centres, teaching hospitals and special diabetes initiatives. The remaining state funding covers Department of Health and Social Servicesamong other things, it would expire February 2.

Read more about how a government shutdown would affect health care here.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.):

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DNJ):

Meanwhile, across the Capitol

Senate Democrats pushed forward with a plan it would allow for the speedy confirmation of nearly 400 military nominations that the Senator has been stalling for months. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) over a Pentagon abortion policy.

The Senate Rules Committee voted 9-7 along party lines to approve the resolution it would allow the upper house to approve large series of military upgrades with a simple majority until the end of the congressional term. The bill will need the support of at least nine Republicans to pass the Senate.

A Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions The hearing became unusually tense yesterday, when Sen. Markwaine Mullin (R-Okla.) He appeared to be challenging the Teamsters president Sean O’Brien to a fight in the hearing room, which incited the president Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to scold him, saying they are not here to talk about physical abuse.

The outburst comes amid growing tensions on the panel and across Congress.

You can watch the exchange here:

UnitedHealth wrongly denied the claims, the class-action lawsuit alleges

A class action lawsuit filed yesterday accuses UnitedHealth Group and a subsidiary that uses an algorithm to systematically reject elderly patients’ requests for rehabilitative care, Stats Casey Ross and Bob Herman the report.

Details: The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two now-deceased patients who were enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans and their families. The complaint states a State investigation released yesterday that found the insurer pressured its medical staff to follow an algorithm that predicts patient lengths of stay to issue payment denials to beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.

The lawsuit further alleges that the healthcare giant knew the algorithm had an extremely high error rate and denied patient claims knowing that only a fraction would file appeals to challenge the insurer’s decision. It accuses UnitedHealth and a subsidiary of breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment and violations of insurance laws in multiple states.

UnitedHealth Group did not immediately respond to Statistics’ request for comment.

In other news from the courts

  • Supreme Court of Oklahoma doubled his position that the state constitution guarantees a woman the right to an abortion when it is necessary to save her life, but remains illegal in most other cases. The panel ordered a lower court to maintain a temporary stay on abortion restrictions in three states while the lawsuit against them is pending, Sean Murphy reports for Associated Press.
  • A federal judge ruled yesterday that major social media companies he has to face the demands in hundreds of lawsuits accusing them of harming the physical, mental and emotional health of young people by incorporating addictive features into their platforms, Jonathan Stempel and Nate Raymond Report Reuters.

Facing Financial Ruin as Senior Care Costs Soar (By Reed Abelson and Jordan Rau | KFF Health News and The New York Times)

Israel offers incubators for Gaza babies after Biden says hospitals must be protected (By Haley Ott and Rami Inocencio | CBS News)

More women join lawsuit challenging Texas abortion laws (Eleanor Klibanoff | Texas Tribune)

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