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'Fact Checking' the Washington Post: US Abortion Extremism Is on Par with China, N Korea

3D ultrasound of an unborn baby (Adobe stock photo)


The abortion industry is concerned.

In just a few weeks, on December 1st, the Supreme Court will hear a case that many observers say could overturn Roe, rightfully returning abortion policy to state legislatures, where consensus can be built based on the will of the people.

The case is centered on a bipartisan Mississippi law that limits elective abortion at 15 weeks.  Not surprisingly, legal briefs in support of the abortion industry contain arguments that are stretching for reality, basing arguments on outdated science.

Perhaps more surprising is a recent analysis by The Washington Post which attempts to depict abortion as "broadly legal" around the globe.  

The United States is one of only a handful of nations, including China and North Korea, to permit late-term abortion on demand after 20 weeks.  Forty-seven out of 50 European countries limit abortion earlier than Mississippi's contested limit, that is, prior to 15 weeks.  

The abortion industry knows this.  The Washington Post, which reminds us daily that "democracy dies in darkness," knows this.  So how does one stretch for reality to support the idea that Mississippi's law is somehow regressive? Easy: deploy the time-tested maneuver of redefinition, categorizing laws which actually restrict abortion as "abortion broadly legal" to fit the narrative. 

What does the Washington Post include under "abortion broadly legal?" Their supporting chart seems to give the mainstream media seal of approval to 32 nations with first-trimester abortion restrictions, including Portugal and Turkey, where abortion on demand is limited to 10 weeks.  

Incredibly, the Washington Post chart applauding "broadly legal" abortions includes some countries that do not even permit abortion on demand! For example, in Great Britain and India a woman must demonstrate specific need, such as medical or socioeconomic challenges, to meet the threshold for an abortion.  

According to the Washington Post, "broadly legal" abortion access also includes a mandatory five-day waiting period in the Netherlands, the right of physicians to decline to perform abortions as conscientious objectors in Italy, and the right of each individual state in Australia to set its own limits on abortion (which currently range from 14 to 28 weeks).  
Presumably, the mainstream media will refrain from criticizing pro-life legislators the next time they propose similar commonsense limitations on abortion in the United States, whether at the state or federal level.  After all, according to this new analysis by the Washington Post, waiting periods, conscience protections, and first-trimester limits are part of a glorious trend of "broadly legal" abortion access around the world.

Who knew?

Angelina Nguyen is an associate scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute who has studied international abortion law since 2014, when she published groundbreaking research finding that the United States is one of only a handful of nations worldwide to permit elective abortion after 20 weeks.  Her findings were heavily scrutinized but rated "true" in a 2017 Washington Post fact-check.

For their new article on international abortion norms, Mrs. Nguyen told the Washington Post reporter that "although there has been an increase in countries allowing elective abortion over the years, worldwide abortion policy has stayed fairly consistent in the past seven years.  For example, in 2014, there were 67 countries that prohibited abortion altogether or only to save the life of the mother, and in 2021 there are 66 countries that continue to maintain those same abortion policies."

The Washington Post chose not to include Mrs. Nguyen's analysis that "worldwide abortion policy has stayed fairly consistent" in their recent article.  

Under President Biden and Speaker Pelosi, the actual trend is that America's federal abortion laws continue to move further and further away from international norms and toward the radical fringe of permissiveness.  

Just last month, Speaker Pelosi led the passage of the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act (H.R. 3755), which allows sex-selective abortions, explicitly legalizes lethal discrimination against unborn babies with Down syndrome and other genetic differences, and overrides all state and local abortion restrictions.  

Very few Americans realize just how radical and out-of-step America's abortion laws are in comparison to the rest of the world.  Few Americans realize President Biden and Speaker Pelosi are advocating for sex-selective abortion, putting the United States in the unfortunate company of China.  Even the "liberal" nations of Europe are more protective of life.

Modern science clearly demonstrates the humanity and complexity of the unborn.  Analysis of global abortion law demonstrates the United States is among the worst at protecting the most vulnerable among us.  It's time to modernize our laws.

Stephen Billy is executive director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute and served as senior advisor at the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Trump. @StephenBillyCLI

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